Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Funny Poker Hand

So I was playing poker online, a little .25/.50 no limit game, and this hand comes up. New player had just sat down and he was under the gun. He raised to $1.50. I’m on the button with pocket queens, so I reraise to $5. New player calls. Flop comes 2-5-7 rainbow; he checks, I raise, he goes all in. It’s still only a small percentage of my stack and I’ve got the big overpair and figure the only way he’s got me beat is with kings or aces, so I call his reraise. Cards are flipped up, he has A 5 and hit his set of 5s on the flop. The river brings a beautiful queen, I rake the pot and he’s throwing a fit in the comments about how lucky I got. I said, “No, you got lucky. You called a big reraise with a weak ace and got lucky to hit a set. I just got re-lucky. I was a big favorite on the flop, so I call that justice.” That really sent him over the edge, ranting about “stupid Americans”.

I don’t understand the people throwing fits at the poker table. The other night, there was a guy playing unbelievably stupid, calling huge preflop raises with garbage and hitting bottom two pair, gutshot straights, you name it. I lost about $150 to this guy over the course of an hour, all on terrible suckouts from him after he called my raises with crap. The guy was up over $300. Two other guys at the table were just crucifying this guy as an idiot, calling him every name in the book. I just said, “I think he’s playing well. He’s got all my chips.” Why? Because I don’t want a bad player to change his play. I want him to keep calling big raises on crap. His luck won’t last, his poor play will. And you can bet that every time I log on, I’m looking for this guy at a table. He’ll give all that money back and then some. As smart poker players like to say, “Don’t tap the aquarium glass and spook the fish.”


  1. #1 Dave S.
    May 25, 2006

    That’s what you call sweet justice. Played chess against a guy once who when he took my queen said, “That’s the chess definition of pain”. I continued to play since I had some initiative and slowly ground down his position until he was totally busted, finally winning his queen and forcing resignation. “No, that’s the chess definition of pain”, I said.

    He had no business staying in that hand with an A-5, especially after a strong re-raise. If he hadn’t lost that pot, surely with that kind of play he would have lost many others anyway. It’s certainly true that the weakest players give the most money, but on the other hand I like to play stronger players because their play makes more rational sense and it’s a good way to improve by (often sad) experience. Not that I enjoy paying for the priviledge!

  2. #2 Jeff Hebert
    May 25, 2006

    Cards are flipped up, he has A 5 and hit his set of 5s on the flop.

    I assume you mean he hit his set on the turn, not the flop, since the flop was 2-5-7 … ?

  3. #3 Brian D.
    May 25, 2006

    How does a 2-5-7 flop with him holding A-5 end up with him hitting “his set of 5s on the flop?” That’s only a pair of 5s.

  4. #4 Ed Brayton
    May 25, 2006

    Oops. The flop was 2-5-5, my mistake. He hit the set on the flop and that’s why he reraised me all in. There was about $11 in the pot pre-flop, with our $5 each, plus a blind or two. After the flop, he checked his set and I bet $10. He only had about $22 total at that point, so when he went all in I was getting about 3-1 for the call with a huge overpair and no way to put him on a set. I figured him for a big ace or something like 9s or 10s and assumed I was probably in the lead.

  5. #5 jackdan
    May 25, 2006


    You are suffering from a fundamental misunderstanding of online poker. A significant fraction of the people who play there (a fraction that declines as you go up-limit, but does not die out) are there to rant, not to make money. These are the guys that would get beat up anywhere else, so they come here. They would gladly pay a fee for the pleasure. Chasing away fish is not a concern for them.

    When I first starting playing online, I put a lot of effort into educating these idiots…not because I cared that they were rude (can’t solve THAT problem on the internet), but because I figured they were costing me money. Biggest waste of time in my life.

  6. #6 PLP
    May 25, 2006

    I said, “No, you got lucky. You called a big reraise with a weak ace and got lucky to hit a set. I just got re-lucky. I was a big favorite on the flop, so I call that justice.”

    The proper response, of course, would have been, “You’re absolutely correct, I *did* get lucky. I had no business whatsoever being in that hand and you played it perfectly.”

  7. #7 Ed Brayton
    May 25, 2006

    Which would be my response normally, but I make an exception to my “don’t tap on the aquarium” rule for people who are calling me names. Besides, he was busted at that point and there was no more money to be won from him.

  8. #8 Jeff Hebert
    May 25, 2006

    Embarrassingly enough, I’ve been watching “High Stakes Poker” on the Game Show Network lately. As the name implies, they’re taping a high-stakes cash game ($100,000 minimum buy-in) with the likes of Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negranu, Freddy Deeb, Sammy Farha, etc. It’s been interesting to watch how different the game plays when it’s not chips, but actual cash — and a lot of it — on the table.

    On the last hand of play one night, Barry Greenstein was dealt pocket aces, and Sammy Farha pocket kings. Barry went all in for something like $200,000. The other players had all packed up and were just standing by the door, waiting to leave, when they sensed something was up. They slowly made their way back to the table while Farha thought about what to do.

    Finally he called, and when the cards were flipped over they were looking at over half a million dollars, cash, in the pot. Barry played it well and got lucky that Sammy had pocket kings, otherwise it’s doubtful the all-in would have been called.

    Sure enough, the flop comes blank-blank-King, giving Sammy a set. Barry didn’t get his ace on the turn or the river, and Farha walked away a much richer man.

    Unlike your $150, 100 times as much money was at stake. But you didn’t see Barry Greenstein complain and curse and swear at Sammy for calling it, they just shook hands and walked away to gamble another day.

    I generally find that the worse a player is, the more he bitches about what the other guy did or didn’t do. Professionals, and those who have the makings of one, make the best play they can at the time and let the cards fall where they may, without worrying about anything but themselves.

    In other words, I hope you do find that loser at another table again. Your pocket book will be much happier.

    P.S. Apologies for any errors of math or spelling in the above. It’s late.

  9. #9 Ed Brayton
    May 25, 2006


    I watched that episode as well, and felt the same way. I was so impressed with Greenstein’s demeanor. He loses almost 200K on a suckout like that on the last hand of the night – that’s just brutal. And he handled it beautifully. No ranting, no whining. I’ve watched that guy play a lot of poker and I’ve never seen his demeanor change a bit. That kind of emotional control is undoubtely a big help in making him the great player that he is.

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