• No-Limit at Roddick’s House

    Date: 2005.10.31 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    Here’s what my Friday was like: I started in Vegas having breakfast with Corey and Lisa Pavin at the PGA Tour event. Then it was on to Austin, Texas, on Carl and Jimmy Lou Westcott’s beautiful private jet so we could boat around Lake Austin with tennis star Andy Roddick. After those chores, it was back to business and on to an event in Austin where I took the stage, drinking Dom Perignon. The day ended with a no-limit Hold ’em tournament back at Roddick’s house.

    Roddick has worked hard on his no-limit Texas Hold ’em game, and it showed. He knew how to play the game; including running over the table when he had the chip lead (aggressively bluffing when he had big chips); betting the right amount when he wanted a call; and moving in when he was a short stack.

    Topping off our six-player one-table tournament were “Douggy” (Doug Spreen, Roddick’s trainer), my friends Jimmy Lou and Carl, and another friend of Roddick’s, Neal.

    Roddick was talking some smack as he and I jumped out to an early chip lead. But Roddick got himself into trouble when he raised it up to $500 to go holding J-10, and Douggy moved all-in for $625 more ($1,125 total). At this point Roddick had to call Douggy, as there was $1,700 in the pot. This was a good move since Roddick was getting “pot odds” (his $625 to win a pot of $1,700) of almost 3-1 on his call. But it turns out, Douggy had pocket aces and won the pot.

    A little while later, with the blinds up to $200-$400, I limped in by calling with A-9 in the small blind, and Roddick moved all-in in the big blind for his last $1,100 with A-6. I called, and busted him. However, there was nothing wrong with Roddick’s tactics here, he had ace high in the big blind after I called in the small blind, and he was down to his last $1,100. As to my play in this hand, I merely called in order to try to trap him — in case he wanted to try to bluff me — and it worked because he had ace high.

    A few minutes later — by now we were down to three handed, Douggy, Jimmy Lou and I — I raised it up to $800 to go with K-Q, and Jimmy moved all-in for another $1,900. As she counted out her chips, I made up my mind that I was going to call her. Oops! She had A-A (a 7-to-1 underdog), and now I was low on chips. The very next hand I had 10-5 in the big blind, Douggy called in the small blind, and the flop was 10-9-7. After the flop Douggy bet out $800 into the $800 pot, and I folded immediately, while showing my hand to the table face up. No one could believe that I folded top pair so quickly, and it turned out to be a mistake!

    My reasoning here was: Douggy had been making very few bets throughout the whole tournament, thus I felt like he had a strong hand. As it turned out, he did have a fairly strong hand (9-8), which made for second pair and an open-ended straight draw; so that I was a small favorite (about 55 percent) to win the pot. This hand was the swing hand for me because I never won another pot from that point onward.

    Out of nowhere, Jimmy Lou started playing poker on a different level, and Douggy and Jimmy Lou ended up splitting the first-place prize after a grueling 30-minute one-on-one session.

    “Pot odds” means:
    A) Playing big pots in Amsterdam
    B) The potential win divided by the amount it costs to call
    C) The odds that Harry Potter lives in book seven
    D) None of the above

    Answer: B