Dreaming bad beats

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We all dream on occasion. I have had nights when I dreamed about poker. Recently I had a dream that was so vivid, it seemed like it actually was happening, and repeated itself over and over during the night. I am so glad it was only a dream. I had to wonder if there was a message here for me.

Like most poker players, I am a recreational player who much enjoys the challenge and excitement of playing $4-$8 limit hold’em with 1/2 Kill. Being conservative, in making my decisions I always try to avoid gambling, focusing on hands that fall into the category of “investment.” I try to risk my money only in hands that offer the least threat of losing, and the highest probability of success – i.e., winning. Toward that end, I usually use George Epstein’s Hold’em Algorithm. Like the proverbial successful businessman, I am cautious when investing my hard-earned dollars.

My sleep was disturbed by this persisting dream. I know it was a dream because it woke me up several times during the night. Finally, to escape from this form of torture, I got up from bed and hastened to my computer to write about this dream – and to get it off my chest. Perhaps there is a message in this dream for you.

I was in the Big Blind and looked down at Q-7 clubs. Being an “investor” and avoiding “gambling,” if I were not in the blinds, I would have mucked those hole cards without blinking an eyelash. But there was no raise before the flop, so I was able to see it without further investment. Never refuse a “free” card, as the saying goes.

You never know what the flop will bring. (I vividly recall one occasion when I was in a similar situation, holding 2-3 from the Big Blind, and got to see the flop for free. On that occasion, the flop was 2-2-3, giving me a well-concealed full-house that no one would even dream of. What a huge pot I won that time!

In my dream, holding Q-7 clubs in the Big Blind, the flop came down: Qh-10c-6h. That gave me top pair on the board as well as three to a club flush draw. I came out betting to thin the playing field, to give my pair of Queens the best opportunity to keep the lead. Three opponents called – no raises; and we all saw the turn: 7d. That gave me two-pair, Queens and sevens; likely to be the best hand at this point. But it was vulnerable. So, again I bet out to further thin the field. Two opponents called.

The river was the 6d, putting a pair of sixes on the board. I believed my two-pair, Queens and sevens, still was the best hand. This time I bet out for value, hoping to increase the size of the pot. To my surprise, a late-position player raised my bet.

Was it possible he had made trip sixes on the river? Of course, that was a possibility. He was a fairly loose player, often chasing, and might well have called all the way after flopping a pair of sixes.

Needless to say, I had to call his raise. Quickly and proudly, he turned up his hole cards: 5s-6h. His trip sixes had “stolen” the pot from me on the river. And, what’s more, it was a bad beat since he had only two outs before the river. Ah, the river card.

As I said, this dream woke me up and it recurred over and over – driving me “mad.”

On the plus side, I learned from this dream: (1) “Well, that’s poker” – anything can happen. (2) Never be surprised how a hand develops. (3) You have no control over the deck. And (4) always “invest” – do not “gamble” – while playing poker.

Thank goodness, it was only a dream; more like a horrible nightmare.

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