Presto! Four Hands from the Weekend by Staff
Way back in the pre-blogging days, when us intrepid Internet pioneers searching for poker info were forced to make do with the rec.gambling message boards, one of the most common RGP terms was "Presto," signifying the seemingly magical powers that Pocket Fives had in hold`em. Well, this term reappeared in my personal vocabulary, as pocket fives was definitely my most important hand of my long poker weekend.
- Hand Number One: Playing some live (these hands are all B&M, BTW), self-deal $5/$10, the first time in quite a while I've self-dealed. It's my deal, and while trying to keep everything in order I look down to discover that I've dealt myself pocket fives. No raises pre-flop, and I deal a flop containing a beautiful little five and nothing too scary. I have the deck in one hand and I'm trying to keep an eye on the other players, plus I don't want to drool over the flop. There's some betting, no raising, and I deal the turn: another little card, a three. A tough enough player bets out and I raise, at which point it's heads-up and he three-bets. Jeez, what the hell could he have? An overset? The board is J643, so maybe he could have a str---what the hell?!?!?! I finally take a good look at the board, and nope, there isn't a 5 there. In my studied nonchalance I managed to see a 5 when there wasn't one there, and bet it like I had it. There was no other choice but to call the bet on my open-ender, and when that didn't hit I just threw away my lousy little pair. Damn self-dealing.
- Hand Number Two: Live game (with a dealer this time, thank heavens), and I'm dealt Presto again in late position. There's a few limpers and I decide to raise it up. I don't do this that often, but once in a while I try it to steal the button, maybe steal the pot if the board is real scary, or get a free turn if it isn't. Anyway, there's about five other players along for the ride (including the cold-calling button) when the flop comes Q53 with the Q3 of clubs (yes, I double-checked). It's checked to me, I bet, the button raises (yay!), a few callers, I three-bet (possibly a mistake, in retrospect), and we're four-handed to the turn, including at least one club draw I have to figure. The turn is a semi-blank, two of hearts, and I guess there could be straight draws (maybe the A4 of clubs?) but it doesn't appear that way so I bet and we're all in for the river. The river is a club as it turns out...the five of clubs! This gives me the rare and beautiful opportunity to make quads and have somebody bet into me! Piles and piles of piles chips.
- Hand Number Three: Different live game. Presto in an unraised big blind (with a tossed small blind), so I of course get to see for free a lovely K85 rainbow flop. Every decent and indecent pair has been raised at this shorthanded table, so I'm not worried and wait for the UTG player to bet out. There's only one other caller besides me to see a beautiful Ace on the turn. Well, if they weren't there before they are now. UTG bets, the other player folds, and I check-raise. He looks for a second at his cards before asking that dreaded question: "What can I make it?" At this point my stomach sinks, but I can't put him on anything huge as there was no raise preflop. I'm hoping he has AK or A8, worried he has the pocket eights (which is why I didn't cap it or get frisky on the river), and never imaging he has what he finally turns over: American Airlines. Ouch. I personally always raise not in the blinds pre-flop with the major premium hands, Aces or Kings or AK suited, as I guess about 99% of players do. This player didn't, which can be dangerous, but when it works can be extremely profitable, as I sadly discovered.
- Hand Number Four: Same game as #3. Not as exciting, but I call with Presto from middle position, the small blind raises (!), and I'm in to see a very nice 234 rainbow flop. Rare to have an overpair with Presto, so I bet out, only to have the SB raise me into a heads-up situation. Okay, I'm in trouble, but this same player has been playing a lot of hands, so he could have done that with nothing but an Ace, or even less. Granted, he could have a bigger pair or even A5 suited, but I decide I'm in unless something goes really terribly (such as, ironically, my tripping five). Blank on the turn, check and call, and then a beautiful Ace on the river, making my straight. I bet out, he freaks out and calls...with pocket deuces of all things. That wasn't even in my list of possibilities, and for a few seconds I'm sure he thought he was a poker genius, until that sweet river for me.
Final Score: Two wins and two losses, better than I deserved, probably.