• Brothers Battle in Aruba

    Date: 2007.10.01 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    For my father’s recent 70th birthday, the family rallied and made it to sunny Aruba to celebrate. My gift to my dad was the penthouse suite at the Radisson Hotel for nine days. This suite is so nice that it occupies its own floor!
    Eventually, we found a nice little $5-$5 blind no limit Hold ’em game at the Radisson’s casino with a $200 buy-in. One night, my brother Dave, my sister Molly and I hopped into that game, and as is the custom with our highly competitive family, we played hard against one another. Both hands that I’ll talk about involved my brother and me.

    In the first hand, I limped in for $10 with J-8, and Dave limped in right behind me with 10-9. The flop was 8-7-5, and I bet out around $50 into the $50 pot. Dave called, and the turn card was a three. Now I moved Dave all-in for his last $105 or so. He said, “I guess I’ll call.” We flipped our hands up and I asked the dealer to hold off on dealing the last card. I said to Dave, “I’m over a 2-to-1 favorite, but I’ll split the pot with you.”

    As competitive as we are, poker is my game and I didn’t want Dave to have to rebuy. Dave mumbled something or another, and I said, “It’s a split pot then.” Then the dealer turned over the last card, a 10, and Dave said, “I have $105.” I said, “It was a split pot!” He said, “No I don’t think so.” I was a bit upset and said, “OK then, here’s the $105, but no more mister nice guy!”

    Let’s talk about this hand a bit. First off, Dave and I didn’t have to play J-8 and 10-9, and I would have never played my J-8 hand in a tournament. Considering that it costs $10 to call the $5 blinds, we should have folded these hands before the flop, not called the $10. Of course, I feel like I can outplay 95 percent of the world, so it wasn’t such a bad call for me to make. On the flop, I like my pot-sized $50 bet. I was betting to find out if I had the best hand or not. If anyone raised on the flop, then I would probably have to fold, but that decision would be based on my read of my opponent. I think Dave’s call here was OK, but considering that he only had $105 left, I would like to see him move all-in here for his last $155 (call $500 and raise $105).

    By moving all-in, he puts the pressure back on me, and forces me to fold some weaker hands like a bluff, or a pair of fives. Still, a call was OK, but a raise all-in here was better. My $105 bet here was a natural bet. I had decided that if a small card hit, then I was moving Dave all-in, and I probably had the best hand, and Dave probably had a draw of some sort. His call was OK. In fact, the odds of him winning the pot were 31-13 (he had 13 wins: three jacks, three nines, three 10s and four sixes), and he was getting laid $265 to $105 — so the math was OK. The confusion over the split had something to do with the fact that the dealer dealt the last card before I told her too.

    The next hand, a player called $10 in first position, then I called $10 in second position with A-K, then Dave made it $50 to go with 9-9, and a fourth player called the $50. The player to my right also called $50, and then I moved all-in for around $1,000 or so. Dave then held his hand face up, and started to chat. Both players that had called the $50 folded their hands — out of turn — saying that Dave’s hand was dead (since he had exposed it). Then after both of the other players folded, Dave decided to call anyway ($415 more), and I wasn’t going to call my own brothers hand dead! I flipped up A-K and then Dave said, “Do you want to split the pot?” I said, “No, deal the cards.” The cards came down J-8-2-3-4, and I lost the pot. A quick look back at the hand tells me that I played it well, and I give Dave credit for making the right call, albeit in slightly illegal circumstances. A few minutes later I said, “Do you know why I didn’t want to split the pot?” Dave said, “No.” I said, “I was afraid that if you won the pot with the nines, then you would have taken all of the money; and that if I won the pot with A-K, then we would have split the money!” The whole table erupted with laughter (of course Dave’s ethics are perfect, but I had to throw the jab anyway!).

    J-8 and 10-9 are hands that you should:
    A) Generally fold pre-flop.
    B) Play only if you’re a pro.
    C) Play with extreme caution (if you must play them).
    D) All of the above.

    Answer: A