For this “Hand of the Week” I’ve dredged the memory bank back to the summer of 2008 that I spent in Las Vegas. While I was there I used Binions Horseshoe as my base and I got to meet a few characters from the card room. This hand was played by my mate Heath, a twenty something Texan bloke who I shared a place with for the last few weeks of my trip.
By way of background, Heath wasn’t having a great run. He was pretty broke at the time as he was paying to attend poker dealing school and not earning anything. He could steam a bit too when he was losing. And steam he might well on this day because prior to this hand he had lost two buy ins. He was only playing at the $1-2 no limit table where the maximum buy in was $100 but even so $200 was a lot of money to him.
He’d had AA cracked by AK when all the money went in preflop and his other buy in went down the toilet when he flopped a set and got flushed out. But as well as the cards not running for him there was a further irritation at the table in the shape of one opponent who thought he was some kind of hero.
“This dude thinks he’s Gus Hansen Freddie. Anyone limps, he raises. Anyone raises, he re-raises. All the time! ‘Raise, Raise, Raise’. That’s all he ever says and he’s full of it”.
So this Gus Hansen character raised an unopened pot to $7 (as was his tendency) and Heath looked down at Qd6d. You can question the wisdom of calling here but the rest of the hand is genius. And to be fair to Heath, he knows that “Gus” will open raise close to 100% of hands here. So he makes the call with Q6 suited.
Heads up, the flop was A5K of different suits.
“Gus” fired off a bet of $10 into the $14 pot. Heath called it.
The turn card was another 5 for A5K5 (there were no flush draws).
Gus bet $20 into the $34 pot and Heath called it. The pot was now $74.
The river was a 3 for A5K53 and Gus quickly moved all in. He had Heath covered as he only had about $40 left.
“I call” said Heath and Gus conceded “You got me.”
Although that was promising it wasn’t exactly confirmation given Heath’s meagre holding.
“I wouldn’t be so sure” said Heath.
“What have you got?” asked Gus.
And this is the bit I love …
Heath announced “I’ve got the nut pair of fives” and tabled his Qd6d
And so he did: AKQ55. There’s no better pair of fives available in Texas Holdem!
Gus was disgusted and showed J7 offsuit to a stunned table before asking Heath what on earth he was doing. But his complaints were ill advised. When you’ve been so completely owned in a hand, when your opponent has basically said he can virtually see your cards, sometimes the best thing you can do is tap the table and say “good call”.
Heath told me afterwards “I knew he had garbage Freddie, not an ace or a king. Those were small bets for him on the flop and turn and that all in on the river was desperation”. I think this was brilliant. It was a quality read to stick to his guns as bet after bet was going into the pot. Seeing how short of money Heath was, this was a really brave play.