I might have mentioned this hand before, so apologies if you remember it, but for some reason I just had a flashback to a situation from Sydney in January. And it reminded me of the single most “everyone-must-get-it-all-in” hand I’ve ever played.
First the situation in Sydney. There I was playing hold ‘em in the Star Casino when there were gasps and a big commotion at another table. The news quickly spread that on this particular hand three different players had pocket pairs and they all flopped a set! Now in Australia, so many people see the flop that it’s only a matter of time before FOUR players flop a set, but joking aside, you have to admit it’s pretty rare.
We’ve all been victim to the old “set over set” scenario. You’ve waited patiently for a hand and finally your pocket pair becomes three-of-a-kind on the flop. You money goes into the pot with glee and then you discover to your horror that your opponent has flopped a higher set and you are drawing to a solitary card. It’s so unlikely that two of you flop a set so unless there’s some heavily connected flop like 10JQ you can be forgiven for believing that you’re going to win. There’s really only one outcome here and that’s to lose all your money.
Yes, set over set is a nightmare but set-over-set-over-set is a beast so rare I’ve only been involved in two such hand in my life (and I’ve played quite a few hands). In 2004 it happened on a J105 flop where I had 1010 with the predictable money liberating consequences but that was nothing compared to the second time.
In 2009, playing a sit and go, it happened again – three of us flopped a set – and this time I had the top set. It was a strange old game. On the first hand I played I got my AA cracked with 108s by some joker who raised preflop, called my big reraise of 15 big blinds with his mighty 108 (oh dear), got it all in a 10 high flop (double oh dear) and rivered an 8 (triple oh dear – I mean you WANT them to do all this – but it’s still massively annoying). On to the next game…..
Well that’s what I thought, but when I looked at the screen I still had a paltry 20 chips out of my starting 1500. So the next hand I went all in and won, tripling up to 60 chips. Since I was the big blind in the next hand I was going all in with my 60 chips. I don’t remember the preflop action but I was dealt KK and after some raising and calling four of us saw the flop.
The flop was K87 of different suits giving me top set for the nuts. I cursed the fact I was already all in with such a puny stack. But I was looking at a pot of 240 for sure. Now I was thinking of a comeback of Jack Strauss proportions where he won the WSOP after being down to a single chip. To my amazement the action on the flop went BET-RAISE-ALL IN-CALL-CALL. How could this be? I had the stone cold nuts! When the dust settled everyone in the hand was all in.
The cards went on their backs and on this particular K87 flop the hands were
Me : KK
The others: AA, 77 and 88.
Talk about a perfect set up! A beautiful set over set over set with me in the lead and an AA thrown in for good luck. Oh yes! This could only mean one thing!
That I would lose the hand.
Indeed, the river card was the case 7 giving the player with the worst hand his one outer to take the pot. You just can’t make this stuff up! So this means to this day I have still never won a three way “battle of the sets”. I wonder if I ever will? But I know one thing for sure: it will be a very, very, very long time before I see a 4 way all in with three sets and AA again.