Biff! Bam! Pow!

In poker’s long run, every high volume player gets what they deserve. Long-term winnings play winning poker. Long-term losers play losing poker. What makes this true are the fundamental laws of math, combined with randomness and game theory. Simply play a lot and your results will reflect how well you play.

But in the short run, the turn of a single card can dramatically alter the score. A session changes from really good to really bad in an instant. We want to blame it on Lady Luck or the Poker Gods. This happened on Sunday.

There were three players named Jason at my table. For purposes of this blog, I’ll refer to them by their seat numbers as “Jason-4,” “Jason-6” and “Jason-9.” On the Hand of the Night, there was an initial raise and Jason-6 re-raised. Then Jason-9 put out a large re-re-raise, which Jason-6 called. Both Jasons had deep stacks –> well over 200 big blinds. The pot going into the flop was already approaching 300 BBs.

Now the flop comes A72 or something like that. It was definitely A-high and all hearts.

Jason-6 checks. Jason-9 slides out another bet. Jason-6 announces “ALL-IN!” Jason-9 snap calls. A lot of chips got committed really quick, reminding me of fight scenes in the Batman cartoons from way-y-y-y back in the day when I was just a little kid.

Optimized-BIFF-BAMM-POW

Jason-6 turns over Q♠Q, for a 2nd nut flush draw. As I’m processing his heightened aggression against a pre-flop 4-bet, Jason-9 tables AA♠. That actually makes sense, as Occam’s Razor tells us to start at the place that requires the fewest assumptions. He 4-bet pre-flop, let’s just assume he has pocket aces. Duh!

WHAMMMThe turn is the Q♣. “Wow!” says several of us… now it’s set-over-set. This actually gives Jason-6 one additional out – the case queen – to go along with his flush draw, although things are looking pretty grim. Until the T falls on the river, completing Jason-6’s flush, eliciting a final OWWW! from Jason-9.

400+ big blinds look like they are headed one way, and the river card sends them in a different direction.

One hand. One huge swing. Large short-term variance. And yet — like every other poker hand — it’s just a single grain of sand on the beach of poker time.

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Some of the best poker times come via Open Face Chinese poker. Check out OFC Hub, which I created to offer a real money online option for Pineapple OFC enthusiasts. And don’t forget to enter your email address (below) for automatic notifications of new blog posts and share this post on social media.

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