What could be more exciting than flopping a straight flush! Now the challenge is to build the pot as big as possible to get as much value as possible out of that monster hand, to get paid off.
It was a $3-$6 limit game at the Hustler Casino. I’d been experiencing the usual variance – ups and downs in my chip count – when I was dealt 6-5 suited in the big blind. There were no raises, and five opponents called to see the flop – the ideal conditions for playing a drawing hand.
I could barely believe my eyes when the dealer spread the flop. I had to look twice at my hole cards and the board.
That’s the sort of hand that happens once in a lifetime, if ever. I guess the odds against it are over 20 million-to-1. Yes, it’s a less-than-once-in-a-lifetime hand! (If you played poker full time – 40 hours per week, how often might you expect to be dealt such a hand?)
What now? Stay calm! Keep your poker face. Think: How can you make the most of this magnificent GIFT bestowed upon you by the fickle poker gods? Show them your appreciation.
What’s Your Goal?
"I’m sure I am going to win this hand," I whispered silently to myself. Then I reminded myself: "The goal is to win money (chips), not hands." Being in the big blind, I had to declare first on the flop. Certainly I wanted as many opponents as possible staying in to help build the pot. So I checked, hoping someone would bet. That’s called slow-playing.
I was a little nervous as opponent after opponent checked as well. Then, fortunately, John, an aggressive player two seats to my right, made the bet. I just called, along with several others.
I didn’t pay much attention to the card that fell on the turn. No need to. Again I checked and just called when John bet out. There were three opponents in the pot. It was growing nicely.
The river brought another 9, pairing the board. "Good," I thought, "maybe someone has made a big hand." Again I checked; and again John (bless him) obliged by making the $6 bet. He must have had a good hand; I never tried to read his hand. No need to.
The player to my immediate right called. My turn to declare. This was my last opportunity to build the pot. With only one opponent left to bet after me, I reasoned that I would get more chips into the pot by raising now. And, if John had a huge hand, he might even reraise.
But only John called – and promptly mucked his hand when I showed my straight flush. WOW!!! It’s nice to go home a winner.
With a monster hand, especially the nuts, always try to get full value. Do you think there was any way I might have "earned" more value from that hand? A prize to the first reader with the best answer. (Esther and I are the judges.)
Contact George "The Engineer" at [email protected].