In Hold ‘Em Poker, David Sklansky shows how you can make educated guesses about the hole cards your opponents are holding. He gives a couple examples that are fun to read, because you do correctly guess them, and they make you feel like a magician. So, in my attempts to escape from the Texas Hold ‘Em fish pond, I’m collecting examples of easily readable hands. Here’s the first, which I picked up from a recent tournament. I’m Sowbug, and based on my read of BB’s hand, I quickly folded. (Thanks to Deacon for the hand converter)
PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em Tourney, Big Blind is t20 (9 handed) MP3 (t1500) CO (t1490) Sowbug (t1470) SB (t1020) BB (t1590) UTG (t2190) UTG+1 (t1500) MP1 (t1400) MP2 (t1340) Preflop: Sowbug is Button with 7c, Ac. 5 folds, CO calls t20, Sowbug raises to t60, 1 fold, BB raises to t120, CO calls t100, Sowbug calls t60. Flop: (t370) Kd, Ah, Jh (3 players) BB bets t100, CO calls t100, Sowbug folds. Turn: (t570) As (2 players) BB bets t100, CO calls t100. River: (t770) Qc (2 players) BB bets t300, CO raises to t600, BB raises to t1270, CO calls t570 (All-In). Final Pot: t3210
What did BB have? And what did CO have? It’s easy to guess both BB’s cards; CO’s is a little bit harder (actually, one of them is quite easy, and the other is irrelevant).
Update 3/13/2006: I waited a long time to return to this hand in the hopes that I’d forget the details and get a chance to reevaluate it. Sure enough, my memory of the result was lost in the mists of time. Today’s guess was BB had an ace with a high kicker, possibly two pair, and that CO flopped a set. BB’s raise preflop would have been appropriate to reduce the number of players, and CO was hoping to see the flop cheaply and wasn’t willing to fold preflop even after seeing BB’s moderate strength. The turn card was a nightmare for CO; BB would have improved either to higher trips or a full house (beating CO’s XXX-over-AA full house), and CO in disbelief went on tilt, pushing all-in to get the hand over with.
My read of BB was correct; he had AK and ended up with a full house. CO, however, had pocket 10s and made his straight on the river – incidentally, he should have folded after the flop once three overcards came, and was unlucky to river his inside straight draw that kept him in the hand. Both players probably believed they had the winning hand at showdown.
My only mistake was calling the BB’s raise preflop. Once the BB showed strength in this fairly tight game, I could reasonably have concluded he had me out-kicked on an ace.