• Poker on the Beach

    Date: 2005.10.10 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    OK, Phil, no more sour grapes! You’re in the penthouse suite at the Radisson in beautiful Aruba. All your media, including your books tips calendar, are flying off the shelves. You have nine World Series of Poker (WSOP) titles.

    Why, then, do you have to act like a jerk after taking a bad beat? Why leap out of your chair, with your arms flailing, and utter, “What the (expletive) is going on here?” And then ask your opponent, “How could you have played this hand so poorly?”

    Once more, I’m embarrassed by my own conduct, the more so as this is the UltimateBet.com World Poker Tour (UB-WPT) event in Aruba, and I’m a UB ambassador. I should have said, “Nice hand, sir,” and calmly walk away from the table. I should have shown the class that a WSOP champion ought to show. But I am, after all, the poker brat (though not necessarily proud of it).

    This, then, is the hand that eliminated me, and it set me off. With the blinds at $150-$300, I called $300 holding 5s-4s, a player behind me, whom I previously had announced to the table was “unbluffable” raised it $800 to $1,100 to go. Everyone else folded, and I thought, “I should fold too, but if I hit this hand, then I will get paid off because this guy will call me with weak hands, just as he has been doing all day long.”

    So I called because I felt Unbluffable would pay me off if I hit my hand. The flop came down Kd-5c-5h, and now I checked with my trip fives. Unbluffable bet $1,500, and it was my turn to act. I thought to myself, “Raise it up, for a few reasons.” First, if Unbluffable has a king, then he will give you all of his chips. Second, if he has a pocket pair, you do not want him to hit his card because you merely called him on the flop. Calling him here would be giving him, in effect, a free card.

    So after seeing that I had $5,125 left, I decided that a $1,500 minimum raise might lure him into the pot. The other option was to move all-in, calling his $1,500 bet, and raising it up $3,625. I felt that moving all-in might scare him off, since that move would show extreme strength. So I announced, “Raise it up $1,500 more,” and threw $3,000 into the pot. Unbluffable called me, and the Qs came off the deck.

    I hesitated for a moment, for effect, and bet my last $2,125. Unbluffable immediately said, “I call,” without putting any chips into the pot, which I took to be a bad sign. Sure enough, he flipped up pocket queens, which on the flop was an extremely weak hand, but now — after he hit that miracle queen — was an extremely strong hand. I had been more than a 10-to-1 favorite on the flop! The only way I could lose was if he hit a queen. And worse, since I had only $2,125 left, and I knew he was calling that much on the next bet no matter what, I had lost a $13,000 pot as a 10-to-1 favorite!

    That’s when I went a bit crazy. All the way to Aruba to lose — in this way!

    OK, Phil, for real, no more sour grapes!

    With a board of K-5-5, queens are:
    A) a 4-to-1 underdog
    B) a 7-to-1 underdog
    C) even money (you hit it or you don’t!)
    D) a 10-to-1 underdog

    Answer: D