Hands like these don’t happen often; that makes them all the more significant and memorable, especially when you are on the winning end of a HUGE pot.
The meeting of the Board of Directors of our engineering society finished early so I decided to drive over to the Hollywood Park Casino, just a few miles away. The first table was not to my liking, so I changed tables. Nevertheless, despite having been successful with several Esther Bluffs where I won four and lost 1, I was a bit behind when I was dealt K-Q of hearts in the hole:
There was lots of pre-flop betting and raising, with five of us staying to see the flop. And I was lucky to be on the button giving me the best betting position from there on.
What a Flop! After about three hours of playing, the dealer deftly placed three great cards on the board. I could hardly believe it—the best flop I had seen all evening:
I had connected with four-to-a-royal flush as well as a pair of kings. The ace on the board did bother me somewhat, but I was looking for the nut flush, if not the royal. Lots of great outs! Somehow I felt confident that my time had come—time for the poker gods to smile down on me. Again there was lots of betting and raising, with all five of us involved. After the raising was capped, four of us saw the turn.
And What a Turn It Was... I silently prayed to the poker gods for the ten of hearts. As long as I was asking, why not go for the best. That would give me a royal flush! And to go with it, a huge pot as my reward. Well the poker gods must have heard me but not too clearly. The turn was the ten of diamonds—right color, wrong suit, but it did give me the nut straight.
I knew I held the best hand at this point. If I could dodge a pair on the board and a third diamond (in case anyone held two diamonds in the hole), I would be home free! Another round of betting and raising. I made the second raise and called a third raise. Two opponents and I remained in the pot.
And Now the River Card... It seemed like the dealer was prolonging the agony as we all waited with bated breath to see the river card. Silently, I prayed for a heart to make my nut flush, and neither pair nor a third diamond on the board. I wasn’t too happy when the river was the king of spades, putting a pair of kings on the board. My concern was somewhat mitigated because I held the third king. As long as neither of my two remaining opponents had a set of aces, jacks, or tens, I was home free.
The player in early position came out betting and was called by the other opponent. At least he didn’t have a full boat. I decided to raise, going all-in. The betting was capped with a third raise that went into a side pot.
My two opponents showed down their hands for the side pot: aces and kings vs. kings and jacks. whew ... my straight took the main pot and it was huge, putting me well ahead for the evening. It was getting late and time to go home—a winner!
. . . So readers, what’s YOUR opinion?
George “The Engineer” Epstein is the author of The Greatest Book of Poker for Winners! and Hold’em or Fold’em?—An Algorithm for Making the Key Decision and teaches poker at the Claude Pepper Sr. Citizen Center in Los Angeles. Contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org.