Monday, January 09, 2006

The Ole Double Check Raise

They had Texas Hold'em on the boat! Two tables only -- 4/8 and 5/10, both limit games. Limit is not really all that difficult to play. There's virtually no bluffing, it's hard to force anyone out on the hand, and usually the person who would have made the best hand wins, unless they get psyched out. The trick is to pick a good starting hand, and then watch out for somebody else to outdraw you.

In my best hand of the first evening, I started with a 9-10 suited clubs. Four people called before me, so I called $4 just before the button. The button raised, small blind called, big blind folded, and the rest called, including me, resulting in seven players and a $56 pot.

The flop comes 5-5-9, rainbow, with one club. Play checked around to me. I figured no one in front hand the five, or they were slow-playing a five, but because I caught a decent, albeit low pair, but had some outs, I bet $4. Button raised to $8, small blind raised to $12, one person in front called and everyone else folded. So, for $8 more (or maybe twelve if the raises went limit up), I could get a piece of what should be a $92 pot, so I called. Then button raised to $16 and small blind re-raised again to $20.

G-man, thinking, wait a minute! Small blind can't do that!: There's already been four bets. How can he bet again?
Dealer: Four raises are permitted.
G-man: On every street?
Dealer: Yes.

The guy ahead of me folded during my protest. So, I reluctantly plunked down another $8. Button called, making the pot $116.

On the turn, the poker gods smiled on G-man. A nine appeared. I had the nuts: full house, nines over fives. I was pretty sure button and small blind each had a five, making two losing hands of fives full of nines. Small blind checked to me, so I thought about it, then checked. Button bet $8, small blind called, and I raised $8. Both called.

On the river, a seven appeared! Fantastic, I thought. Small blind checked to me. I feigned disgust, and considered whether I could pull off two consecutive check raises in a row. I decided that greed would get the best of these two players, because at least one of them held a five, but neither knew what I knew, that I was not the one holding a five, so I checked. Turned out I was right.

Button bet, small blind called, and then I raised. Button and small blind called. Big blind showed his K-5. Small blind had 5-4 suited. I turned over my cards.

Small blind: That was pretty ballsy for me to call all the raises and re-raises at the flop.
G-man, tipping the dealer $2: Gosh, I've played in Atlantic City and online, and everywhere I've played, four bets capped it. Dealer, I think you're wrong about that.
Dealer, pushing my tip back at me: That's the rule here -- four raises.
Another player: No, that's how they play in Vegas.
G-man, pushing $4 at the dealer: No, I played at the MGM Grand, and that's the rule there. But I thank you for being wrong.
Dealer, pushing my $4 tip back: I'm not wrong!
G-man, pushing the $4 tip back: Ok, perhaps that's the rule at Carnival, in which case, I'm sorry, you are right. And I thank you for enforcing the rules.
Dealer, accepting my bet: you're welcome.
Button: I figured that you had A-5, looking for the Ace, but I expected to split the pot with you.
Small blind: That was pretty good, check raising twice in the same hand.
G-man, thinking out loud: Yep, the ole double check raise.