• Chad Blackburn Remembers

    Date: 2004.09.15 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    My old friend Chad Blackburn, who now works as a poker dealer at Canterbury Park Card Room near Minneapolis, Min, recalls the following four interesting hands from the old days. First, when Chad just began playing poker on the Madison, Wis. “circuit” in about 1992, the following hand came up in the $2-$3 blind pot limit Hold’em game. Chad remembers me coming in at 10:00 PM and blasting (raising and re-raising) every hand before the flop, and then betting the pot size on every flop! I did generally come in at 10:00 PM; the main reason was that I could hang out with my wife and kids; also the game started at 4:00 PM, and by then there were a lot of chips on the table. “Blasting” also sounds right to me, after all the game was relatively tiny compared to the $400-$800 games and the huge buy-in poker tournaments that I was accustomed too. My theory at the time was to play super-fast with nothing (winning many pots on the bluff), and then bust someone when I did finally have a big hand. That is a very volatile way to play pot limit Hold’em, but oftentimes it worked well for me, as the first story demonstrates.

    In the middle of all of the blasting, Chad called $80 before the flop with 3-3, and the flop came down Q-8-2. Because of the fact that I had previously bet a lot of money with nothing, Chad decided check raise me his last $360, and the 3 on the turn put a big smile on his face, until I showed him pocket Q-Q…

    The second and third stories involve me playing “Monkey poker” (playing hands in the dark in the pot limit Hold’em game) while Chad was dealing the game. Chad remembers me betting and raising hands in the dark (without even looking at my hand!) until the flop (where I would sometimes look at my hand, and sometimes not, but always bet). One hand there was a lot of action between Dewey Weum (a great pot limit player who finished fourth in the 1997 World Series of Poker and won the Four Queens big one for $280,000 a few years back). The flop came down 4-5-7, and I had bet out $120 without looking at my hand, and now Dewey called $120 and raised $360, whereupon I looked at one card and moved him all-in for $230 more. I had looked at a 6, and knew that I had at least an open-ended straight draw-the other card, which I looked at after moving all-in, was a 3, I had played the hand in the dark and flopped a straight with 6-3 off suit!

    After I busted Dewey that hand, he said, “How can you beat a guy that plays like a monkey'” Hence the term “Monkey poker” was born. Four hands later, after Dewey had re-bought for a $1,000, another dark hand came up between Dewey and I where I had about $250 in the pot before I even looked at one card. After Dewey bet the flop, I looked at one card, a king, and a board of K-8-8. Everyone knew I had only looked at one card (they watched me), and when I raised Dewey’s $100 bet on the flop $180 more on the strength of looking at my one card on the flop, Dewey decided to move all-in with 9-9. I might have folded, but the other card was a king, for K-K, and a board of K-8-8!

    Chad’s final remembrance was a hand that he played against local Madison player Tommy Hun. Chad had borrowed $50 from “Big Al” Emerson, and was down to his final $13 when he called an extra $1 in the small blind with 10-3. The flop was A-10-3, and Chad moved all-in, only to see Tommy had flopped top two; aces and tens. The final card was a 3, and Chad ran that money up to $1800 for the night. Right before that game began, Chad needed to be “comped” a free meal at Denny’s by house-man Wayne Wolf. The very next night, Chad was eating at 4-star Madison restaurant the Blue Marlin, and drinking Dom P’rignon with dinner; and he was buying! In fact, that little $13 eventually became $10,000; all because of a miracle last card 3.

    I hope that everyone enjoyed this weeks Hand of the Week. Good luck playing your hands this week.

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