A Message From The Gods of Poker

When it’s time to stop playing, the Gods of Poker will sometimes give you a message. I only wish today’s message would have come one hand earlier.

I’d been playing some really low-stakes Texas hold 'em, .25/.50 no limit and not doing very well. Not getting really good cards and when I was catching something someone else usually had something just a little better (pocket 9s to my pocket 8s and the like). Finally I got a couple of good cards and the chance to maybe make some money on them.

I have A-J spades on the button. Small blind calls, big blind checks, the table folds around to a guy with about a dollar and he puts it all in. I call, small blind calls, big blind folds. Three players, one all in.

Flop is K-8-7 with one spade. I now have three spades. Small blind checks, I check. I know he has a King.

Turn is another spade. I have four spades now. Check, check.

Flop is K of spades. Small blind goes all in for about $12 and I’m singing hosannahs because I have the nut flush against three Kings. I call instantly and the cards flip up…

…to reveal K-7 for the first all-in and K-8 for the small blind.

Meaning that my Ace-high flush is the worst of the three hands, finishing behind a full house, Kings full of 7s and the winning hand, a full house, Kings full of 8s.

That just ain’t right.

Happens all the time. Board paired, you lost with a flush. I’d take the opposite message - be glad you got off the hand for a small amount of money.

If you want to hear a real bad beat story, this is my best:

This was during a bad run while I was playing professionally. I had lost something like seven sessions in a row, and I was getting frustrated. The game is 15-30 Omaha high. I have AsAhKsJh - double suited aces. There are eight callers. I raise. Someone re-raises, I cap it. $480 in the pot before the flop.

The flop is Ac7h9h. I have top set, and the nut flush draw. A monster hand. Someone bets, there are three or four callers, I raise. Everyone calls.

The turn is the Ace of Diamonds. I now have quad Aces. It’s checked to me, I bet. I get check-raised. Everyone folds. I re-raise. Player caps it.

The river is the 8h. Player bets, I raise, he re-raises. I look at the board, see the possible straight-flush, and think, “Nah… He capped it on the turn. He’s got a pair of 9’s and he’s too stupid to know he shouldn’t bet wildly with a lower full house”. So I raise again. He raises AGAIN, and now I swallow hard and call - and get shown the straight flush. He had NOTHING on the turn. He said he was ‘trying to push you off the pot, because it was so big’ - with nothing but a gutshot straight flush draw. He hit the only card in the deck he could win with.

THAT will make you wonder if the poker gods are sending you a message!

You’re right that it’s not a huge amount of money but I’m new to playing for actual money and what I lost today (about $40 total) is more than I’ve lost before. Before today I was up. I always quit while I was ahead. I may have only been 50 or 75 cents ahead, but I was ahead. Not like I didn’t know I could lose, in fact I expected to lose. But getting like $25 ground out over a few hours and then to get slammed with what I figured had to be the best hand was just a big frustrating smack in the face.

Jesus, Sam, that would drive me to the bottle.

Sorry to hear about your hand, Otto. When there’s a pair on the table, it’s easy to forget that a full house is a very real possibility if you’re looking at the nut flush.

Imagine how the guy with the Kings full of 7s feels.

Good thinking. At this point, all with a king are probably staying.

Questionable thinking. You opponents likely have three kings. Each also has another card under and if either of these is a 7 or an 8, you’re sunk.