Sometimes poker luck triumphs over skill

January 05, 2016 3:00 AM


Hustler CasinoMost of you are familiar with my friend Lucy. I have written about her several times. She is both my dear friend and a poker buddy.

We have shared many experiences, both in life and in the poker world. She is also a great poker player who wins most of the time.

As I approached the entrance to the Hustler Casino for another venture into the game of limit hold’em, there was Lucy sitting on the stone bench near the entrance. Head in hand, she was staring down at the ground, obviously quite depressed. “Hi Lucy,” I stood in front of her. She looked up at me, attempting to smile. “What’s wrong,” I asked. “Is everything okay at home?”

Eyes half-closed, she replied, “I just had the worst two hands in a row,” her voice trailed off. I sat down beside her, placing my hand on her shoulder. “As long as your family is okay; tell me what happened?” I commiserated with her.

Lucy hesitated and then took a deep breath. She seemed somewhat relieved at the prospect of getting it off her chest. “It was a good game, $4-8 limit. Lots of loose players and not too much raising before the flop,” she began. I was dealt pocket Kings in a middle position. Of course, I raised to thin the field. Three guys stayed in to see the flop with me. One was that big fat, balding guy who never smiles, and loves to chase. You know who he is.”

“The flop had three medium-small cards, including two hearts. I continued to bet and was called by fat baldy, the chaser, and one other player. My pocket Kings looked good to me.

“To make a long story short,” Lucy continued, “I was pretty low in chips when the river came down with the three of hearts. It thought I was betting for value, but then he raised me. Of course, I had to call, going all-in with the last of my chips. He showed his 8-6 of hearts – a flush on the river. He had lucked out! I hate to be rivered!”

Taking a deep breath, Lucy paused. She needed to get it all off her chest; and I was her friend. I think she also was struggling to avoid going onto tilt. I looked into her downcast eyes. “I understand,” I spoke softly.

She continued: “As if that wasn’t bad enough,” she shook her head, “I bought another rack of chips – hoping for the best. The very next hand I was dealt big-slick, A-K spades. Wow! This is the hand that can get me even. I slow-played to keep the others in the pot. I was looking for a monster pot, hoping to connect on the flop. I knew the odds were good. I’ll never forget this one.

“Sure enough, the flop had two more spades, giving me the nut flush draw. With plenty of outs, I felt confident, even though there was a pair of tens on the flop. I liked my prospects. After a bet to me, I raised it up to protect my hand by thinning the field, as you taught us. Two guys called. Thank goodness, fat baldy had already folded his hand.

“The turn was a blank. And, then, the river gave me my nut flush when the 9 of spades fell on the board. Both opponents checked to me; so I bet for value – or so I thought. I just knew my nut flush was the top hand. Then, I was surprised when one of the enemy raised me – a check-raise! Even so, I still felt confident with my hand or was it just wishful thinking?

“Calling his check-raise, he quickly turned up a pair of nines in the hole, giving him a full-house with the pair of tens already on the board.” Lucy looked up at me. Then she stood up, took my arm and we proceeded into the casino.

Lucy paused as we came to the white marble Asian tiger poised at the entrance, patted its head, and smiled at me: “Good luck.”

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