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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Poker Stories: Aces vs. Aces

Another in my occasional series of poker stories.


Any Texas hold'em player can tell you about the adrenaline rush you get when you look down at your hole cards and see two beautiful aces. Most of the time, you want to get as much money into the pot as possible against a single opponent, because you're at least a 4-1 favorite.

In a game yesterday, Bill had been dealt a pair of aces two of the last three hands, and won big pots with both of them. On the fourth hand, he raised again, but this time I was the one holding AA, so I re-raised. Another player in the hand called my raise, but then Bill raised again. When it came back around to me, I paused for a few seconds, hoping that Bill had a pair of kings this time, then announced I was all-in. The third player folded, but Bill called immediately and proudly turned over yet another pair of aces. Fortunately, we ended up chopping the pot (which consisted of the chips the third player had bet).

It could have been worse. This summer, at the million dollar buy-in One Drop tournament at the World Series of Poker, Conner Drinan had the ace of diamonds and the ace of clubs while Cary Katz had the ace of hearts and the ace of spades, and they got it all-in pre-flop. Unfortunately for Drinan, the board ran out with four hearts which, with Katz's ace in his hand, gave him a flush for the win. That's been called the worst bad beat in history.

My friend Dennis Phillips was similarly eliminated from the 2009 WSOP Main Event in 45th place (the year after he finished 3rd) when he got it all in with ace-king vs. an opponent's ace-king, and the board gave the other guy a flush. Brutal.

Several years ago, I got into the AA vs. AA battle with another player named Jenny, but to avoid the risk of one of us four-flushing, she and I agreed to avoid that possibility by chopping it right then and there. The dealer explained that he had to put out the flop, turn, and river, but Jenny and I simultaneously turned over our cards and mixed them into the muck (the discards from other players), making any further play moot. The dealer said, "Okay, let's chop it up." We each took our bets back, he split the money in the pot from the blinds, and the game proceeded.


For more of my poker stories, click here.