Poker Life: Quads and Snowmen
I have two poker hands that I will never forget. One was a huge win against a group of friends in university and one was a bad beat at the WSOP Main Event back in 2006.
The first poker game I learned was five-card draw. When playing five-handed it would normally be enough with a high pair or a two pair to win, and a three of kind or a flush would be hands you would expect to win with every time. This hand became memorable because four of us were dealt strong hands.
After the draw one player had three of a kind, one player had a flush, one player had a full house with kings and I had quads. Me and the guy with the full house kept raising and the guy with the flush kept calling. The guy with three of kind was the only one who managed to fold.
We did not even play table stakes so everyone brought out their wallets to add money. It ended up a huge pot before the guy with the full house decided to call. I will never forget the feeling when I showed my quad 3’s. The others were devastated and did not want to play more that night. I do not think the guy with the flush ever played again. Such a great memory.
I played in the WSOP Main Event in 2006 and that was probably the peak of my poker career. I am probably a better player today but the general standard has improved even more.
Anyway, I played solidly and after about 13 hours of play on the first day I had a stack of 25,000. We started with 10,000 back then. It was about half an hour left of day 1 and I was way above average.
Then I was dealt pocket 8’s, “Snowmen”, in middle position. The blinds were 200/400 with a 50 ante and I raised to 1,400. Everyone folded to the Small Blind, the other big stack at the table. He hesitated for a bit but then called. The Big Blind folded. The flop was 8-5-4 rainbow. The Small Blind checked and I made a standard continuation bet of 2,000 and the Small Blind instantly went all-in.
He had roughly the same amount of chips as me but I did not ask for a count. What could he have? I had only played with him for about an hour so I did not have a read on him. Something told me he had pocket aces and that his short hesitation pre-flop was him thinking “should I reraise or call?”.
Other possible hands were of course lower sets (pocket 4’s or 5’s). Or he might have some kind of bluff or semi-bluff, perhaps AK or AQ. Those type of plays were certainly more common back then than now. Could he have flopped a straight with 76? I did not think he would call me out of position with such a weak hand.
I called and he showed me 76 offsuit. I still had a 35% chance that the board would pair but that was not to be and I was knocked out. Very painful but at least I went out with a boom.