It Sucks to Suck Out

In poker, sucking out means getting most or all of your money committed to a pot with an inferior hand, then hitting a long-shot on the turn or river.

When someone sucks out on you, it hurts. It seems unfair. You lose money, you lose emotional stability, you lose faith in math and probability, and you may compound the misery by trying to win it all back too quickly.

When you suck out on someone else, it’s true that you win the pot, but that pleasure must be tempered with the awareness that you played a hand poorly. Sucking out only benefits those who make large mistakes in the first place.

There are exceptions, in cases like a double suck-out. At a 6-max no limit Hold’em table with effective stacks of 190 BBs, I got into a blind-versus-blind raising war with QQ, committing my entire stack pre-flop. The villain had AA. With only 2 outs, the flop was KQJ. I sucked out! As I began surfing an emotional wave of relief and happiness to win such a huge pot, a T came crashing down on the river to give the villain a straight. Ouch! Shark bites hurt! She didn’t make a mistake getting it in with rockets, but still needed a long-shot on the river to win.

Today I got a little tilted after losing with a flopped set vs. higher set, then having my aces cracked by a flopped set, then an unlucky river card after calling a villain’s semi-bluff on the turn. With about 60 BBs, I 4-bet pre-flop with a pocket sevens, leading to a 3-way all-in. One of the villains had KK, but a 7 on the river saved my bacon. I was lucky, but my play sucked. And that’s why it sucks to suck out. Only the suckers do it.

Not much later, I got into another raising war on the button vs. the big blind, and my JJ flopped a set to demolish the villain’s AK.

Not tilted anymore, thank you very much.

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