Hand of the Century

Tuesday, January 6th, 2004, 2:58 pm

The losing streak is over, thank the Buddha. I came ready to play last night, no kittens to bother me, my new DVD of The Young Ones providing some background noise, my poker hat on. I started fast, winning a quick $8.50 when I hit top pair twice in three hands and had them hold up. I couldn’t believe it, winning two hands in ONE NIGHT.

Then things went downhill a bit. I had A-8h, the flop came A-6-8, and I was starting to think someone up there liked me. Another six on the turn, and when I got raised I knew I was in trouble. Sure enough, he turned over K-6. Ugh. About two hands later I had J-6 in the big blind and checked to see the flop. It came K-J-4. I’m not chasing 2nd pair anymore, right, so I just checked. The turn came another Jack. Sweet. I got ready to bet…got ready to bet…got ready to bet…and the friendly “Connection lost…establishing connection” window popped up. Yup, I was booted by some server. I had to completely shut down, restart my computer, and log back on. The good news is that I did win the hand, because there was more money in my account than before. I doubt I would’ve won much more, since no one was anxious to play with one jack on board, let alone two. Still, I was vexed.

But it turned out there was no need. I’ve been getting killed by weird outdraws, and today the planets realigned. I had AK, a hand that has really stung me lately, and bet it to the river with a king on board. I had two callers to my raise, and I was thinking I was doomed. Instead I had to split the pot with another guy holding AK. Not great, but we chopped about $20, so not bad. Later I had pocket 10s and, I think, played it well. I check-raised after no overcard showed on the flop, and then a queen showed and no one bet. When a deuce appeared on the river the guy on the button raised me, and I thought that once again a miracle card had killed me. No such thing. A pure bluff, and I raked in a tidy pot. Later I had pocket aces, made trips on the turn, and when a third club appeared I thought, again, I was dead. Nope–a big win. I ended up $25 for the night, and when you’re down to $40 in your bankroll that’s a nice win.

But that pales in comparision to the true big hand of the night. The first table I was playing at was wild. constant raises and re-raises, the betting capped preflop several times. I was in the worst possible spot–smack dab between the two wild players at the table. They were bitching back and forth at each other and at the other players in a mostly good-humored way, but I didn’t think they were colluding because they each lost some weird pots. On a number of occasions I called a preflop raise by the one to my right only to have the guy on my left re-raise. There were a few other loosey-goosies out there and some really big pots for a $.50-$1 game.

But the hand of the night came with me in 1st position. I had K-J of diamonds and I called. The guy to my left raised, and I think six other players called, including the wild man to my left. The flop came A-Q-J of clubs. So I have bottom pair and three clubs on board. Uh, right. The guy to my left bet and I mucked. Guy to my left raises, four players call, the guy to my right re-raises, guy to my left caps the betting, and the other four guys call. Wowzers.

The turn is the ace of spades. Two aces on the board, and the betting started again. Raise, re-raise, capped. Still 4 players in the now-huge pot. I’m thinking someone has the flush, someone has pocket queens or maybe pocket jacks to make their boat. The river is a the six of clubs. Bet, raise, re-raise, cap. Three players, and 33 bucks, in the pot.

The guy to my left turns over the K-10 of clubs. It took me a second to realize what he had. He had, of course, a royal flush. He flopped it. Flopped a royal flush, and kept on betting, and kept on getting raised and raised and raised. I was cursing fate that one of the players to my right couldn’t have chosen this time to take a leak, but them’s the breaks. As the winner accepted his congratulations the guy I thought wasn’t a nut said, “I had trips, I couldn’t lay it down”.

Trips? Trips? The guy called four bets before the flop, after the flop, after the turn, and after the river with a single ace in his hand? With four clubs and a straight draw and possibly a full house, he put all that money in with an ace? Jeepers!

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