"I'm sorry," she said, "really sorry," as she racked up the mountain of chips she had just scooped in. I smiled back, understanding her meaning, and replied, "And I am even more sorry."
She was a solid poker player and a pleasant person. It was an exciting $4-$8 hold'em game at the Normandie Casino in Gardena, Calif. The hand she won wasn't a bad beat by any stretch of the imagination; it was just one of those things that is bound to happen if you play much poker.
I made a monster hand. In a middle position, I held pocket queens - a made hand. It could win even without improving, especially if an ace or king doesn't fall on the board. And if a third queen falls, it becomes a powerful set. It's a hand that plays best with just a few opponents in the pot. So I raised preflop -- only to be reraised by this young woman two seats to my left. Since she folded most of her hands preflop, I considered her a fairly tight player. Not only was she playing this hand, but she was reraising. She must have a powerful starting hand. I thought about it in relation to my pocket queens. . . She might have pocket kings or aces; perhaps A-K. Naturally, I called her reraise to see the flop, hoping for a third queen. Well I wasn't disappointed. The flop came down: [Qh] [Kc] [8d]
My set of queens looked good; but that king worried me. If she had pocket kings, that would give her a set of kings; and my set could be a costly second-best. I "tested the water" by raising on the flop. Again she reraised. Now I felt fairly certain she must have pocket kings. But, at this point, the pot was too big to fold a set of queens; and besides, I could be wrong: She might be raising with pocket aces, A-K, A-Q or K-Q. In those cases, my set of queens would be ahead and favored to win.
Queens-full on the turn . . Then another king fell on the turn. Wow! This put a different light on the situation. With two kings out on the board, the odds of her holding pocket kings were over 1000-to-1 against; and K-Q was also a long shot. More likely, she held pocket aces. I considered the situation. I now had queens-full-of kings - a monster hand! Unless she held pocket kings or K-Q, I had the best hand. With two kings on the board and three queens out, A-A seemed more likely. But I respected her; so I checked. She bet; I called. Now just the two of us were left in the pot.
The river brought a rag. Again I checked; again she bet. I had just enough chips for 1 Π bets so I went allin. And, of course, she called. I turned up my queensfull- of-kings - and held my breath waiting for her to show her hand, hoping it was A-A but not K-K or K-Q. Well you guessed it. . . Sure it was a very long shot, but she did indeed have the K-K, giving her quad kings and beating my full boat. Yes, I was very sorry. .
. . . So readers, what's YOUR opinion?