Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

How do you tame a monster?

Sometimes getting a big hand is not a good thing

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Anyone who has ever played poker knows how hard it is to make a hand. So hard in fact that it is not uncommon to play three- or four-hour sessions and never really get or make a hand. So how can you get away from your hand when you finally flop a monster but you think you might be beat? Well let's try to find out.

This week I played two hands that were a couple of pretty ugly setups.

In the first hand, I opened from the button in a 5-10 short handed game with K8 of spades. Both blinds called. The flop came K83 with two hearts. Now that is about as good a flop as I could have asked for. I had the top two pair. Both blinds checked to me and I fired a $40 into the $60 pot. The small blind made it $140 and surprisingly the big blind called the $140. Now I had to try to put them on a hand that would beat me, seeing as I have just flopped a monster. So I began to go through hand ranges.

It is very possible for them to both have flush draws. And it is also possible for the small blind to have a hand like KJ or KQ and was trying to take down the pot right there.

The small blind could have a flush draw and may have elected to just call and see what happens on the turn, seeing as how there is a great chance (in his mind) that I would fold and if so he would have position on the small blind for the final two streets.

The other possibility is that one of them could have a set. In this case I would probably think it would be more likely for the small blind to have a set of threes (I think he would have three bet me preflop if he had 88). And I feel that the big blind would raise if he had a set there.

So with all this action and the strength of my hand, I went ahead and moved all in as all of us had roughly $1,000 stacks. The small blind shoved and the big blind also shoved! Well I knew this was bad for me and I was right. The small blind turned over 33 and the big blind 88!

The next hand was a bit more straightforward but was played at 10-20 no limit. I raised the button with KJ and got three bet from the big blind. I called seeing as how this player does this often. The flop was 9 10 J all spades and I had the king of spades. The big blind bet $190, I raised him to $490 and he shoved for around $2,000. There were a few hands I had to be worried about. He could have flopped a set, he could have AK AQ AJ with the ace of spades and he could have AA with the A of spades. I had top pair, a gut shot and the second nut flush draw and I had $500 in the pot. So in order for me to be in really bad shape, he needed to have AA or AJ with the ace of spades. He showed me AA with the A of spades and beat me for a $4,000 pot.

So how can we get away from our hand after we flop a monster? Well, as I showed in these two hands, more often than not we can't.

I guess I forgot to mention that Ben Lamb, one of my five picks, has made the final table of the WSOP! Why didn't I bet on that!

For anyone interested you can follow me on twitter at @DontCryRebuy

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 24, 2011 B13

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