I went back on forth on this post, contemplating whether or not to include it in the Noteworthy Hand or Lifestyle of Limit series. I ultimately settled on Noteworthy Hand, but I will say this: There is no way this hand would ever have unfolded as it did if the game were no-limit hold’em. Every aspect of the way this hand played out would’ve been different, most importantly, the victor.
I will attempt to explain this hand as clearly as possible, as there are some complicated details, and in turn, complicated reasons for my seemingly bizarre plays.
8-16 hold’em. It’s late on a weekend night. I’m in the eight-seat, and in the one-seat is a very drunk man. This player is quite jovial, and not particularly irritating, despite his heavily intoxicated state. In fact, he’s buying drinks for everybody at the table! He is also playing most of his hands blind. And when I say blind, I don’t mean metaphorically. I mean, he isn’t even looking at his cards. He’s raising the action, betting the entire way, and occasionally looking at his hand on fourth-street or the river.
A hand is dealt, and I’m on the button. An early position player limps. The player to my right, who has only three and half bets remaining, also limps. I look down at A-J of spades. I decide to raise, given my position and the likelihood of my hand being best. The drunk in the one-seat calls, as does the big-blind and the original limper. The man to my right, now realizing that this is his final stand, back-raises to three-bets. I just call. The drunk, recognizing an opportunity to build an enormous pot, four-bets! (Once again, I’m not certain he’s looked at his cards) Everybody calls. As a result, we go to the flop five-handed, one of whom is all in, $144 in the main pot, and a side pot starting at $16.
The flop is 10-9-3, with one spade. The drunk in the one-seat bets. The big-blind and the first limper both call. Do I like my hand in this spot? Of course not! But there is still $144 in the main pot, and now $40 in the side pot. I have the back-door nut flush draw, and two overcards. Also, the drunk is driving the action, and he may have total air! What ultimately tips the scales toward a call, however, in addition to all these perks is the fact that I close the action on the flop. Nobody can raise behind me, so my amount to see the turn card is a fixed $8. It cannot cost me more than that. I simply have to call.
The turn is the King of diamonds. The drunk once again bets out. This time, both the big-blind and the original limper fold. What a peculiar scenario! I’ve been watching the one-seat, and though he may have been sneaky about it, I still haven’t seen him look at his cards. There is now $64 in the side pot. I no longer have a flush draw, and I now only have one overcard, which may or may not be live. I did, however, pick up a straight draw to the nuts. I still don’t love my hand, obviously. But a combination of things made a call seem reasonable: 1) The pot odds. Sure, my only out might now be a Queen. But to call $16 into a pot totaling $208 gives me 13 to 1 odds, which is almost exactly what I’d need to make this play mathematically correct. 2) Additional outs. If the drunk did indeed like the flop, he may have a hand like A-10, Q-10, J-10, or something of the like, giving me additional outs if I hit a Jack or an Ace. 3) The Drunk. Remember, also, the one-seat may have nothing! He just loves the Friday night action! So, in addition to having a definite four outs, a possibility of as many as six additional outs, I may outright have the best hand! This realization plays only a small factor in my decision to call, because remember, I still must contest with the all-in man to my right for the main pot. But this final incentive tips the scales, and I call.
The river is the Queen of hearts. How gorgeous! For some reason, the drunk actually checked in the dark before the river-card. I, of course, bet. He now check-raises me! I three-bet, he calls, and I scoop the entire pot. The drunk said he had two-pair, though he never showed his hand. I believe him. The man to my right, disgustingly, had K-10. Ouch! What a sick river for that man!
Despite how gross my hand appeared to be on the river, I still think my reasoning was sound. It sure pissed off the K-10 man, though! But I don’t blame him… he couldn’t protect his hand! Limit hold’em can be a real scoundrel.