The Spanish Inquisition

Like many aficionados of Texas Hold’em, I’ve long been drawn to starting hand nicknames. Most recognizable are the nicknames for the strongest combos – Pocket Rockets, Cowboys, Big Slick and the Hilton Sisters.

More obscure nicknames and their origins are a lot of fun too. Want to energize a table when boredom sets in? Start talking about Motown, Woolworth’s or the Montana Banana. If you’re a nerd like me, click here for a comprehensive list.

A personal fave is the Spanish Inquisition, inspired by the well-worn Monty Python quote “Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition” in reference to 6-3, a combination the belongs on every smart player’s auto-fold list virtually all the time.

There I was at a live, private cash game earlier this week, peeking at 6♥ 3♥ in the cutoff seat. There’s a compelling reason to fold here: I only have 6-high!

And three less compelling reasons not to fold. First, no one has raised. Just a couple of limpers. Second, the players left to act behind me aren’t known for attacking the limpers with big raises. I get to see a lot of cheap flops. And third, there’s a straight flush jackpot, enticing all of us like a micro-Powerball lottery to play junky suited connectors and gappers because one time, at band camp, my nephew’s girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend’s older brother hit a jackpot. And he had been drinking.

Obviously, calling is the logical play. My assessment of the table was confirmed when no one raised.

The flop was 8♦ 5♥ 4♥ and I’m simultaneously lovin’ it when a plan comes together and hating the anticipated reality when the womp womp of turn and river cards dings my stack and dashes my dreams.

Everybody checks. Okay, I’ll take a free card.

The turn –> 2♥

Yes little Jewish kid, there is a Santa Claus, and he’s bringing nearly 500 shekels to fill your stocking.

Another player bets. For purposes of this blog, I’ll call him “Ron.” Could Ron have an ace-high flush? That’d certainly be the top of his range. I wonder if he went to band camp. If I want to have a shot at Ron’s full stack I need to build this tiny pot now. I raise.

Not this time. Ron folds, and flips his cards face up… 6-3 off-suit, because NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition.


  1. But did that nephew’s girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend’s older brother GET the jackpot even if the hand did not make it through to conclusion?

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