Every poker player has them. This one is classic.
I went to the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City this morning to play the daily $50 no-limit holdem tournament. The entry fee is actually $65, with $50 going to the prize pool, $15 to the casino, the usual deal. Played for about the first hour getting almost no playable hands. I played conservatively, as is my usual early tournament style. Lost some small pots. Finally, I was on the button with a Jack-Queen and called. Several other players also called. The flop was three low cards. Everyone checked around. The turn was another card I didn’t need. Everyone checked again. I bet about three times the big blind, and won the pot on a bluff. I showed it, too, hoping to get players thinking I’m willing to bet with nothing (which I almost never do).
A few hands later, I’m the big blind, so already in the hand, and I finally get cards, a pair of Aces. Again several people bet the minimum, $200 at that point. When it’s my turn, I bet $3000. So, now they’re wondering if I’m bluffing again. Everyone folds around to the guy two to my right, who reraises all-in. The guy next to me is tempted to call, but eventually folds. I do call, putting ME all-in. The other player turns up a pair of Eights, and I show my Aces. So far, so good, I’m well ahead.
The flop is Ace-Three-Four. I now have a set of Aces, and am dominating the hand. Eights guy looks very sad, but…the turn card is another Eight. He perks up. It’s now three Aces against three Eights, so I’m still well ahead. But there is one card that can beat me, and on the river it comes up: the last Eight in the deck. I’m out, beaten by four Eights.
When you’re overcome by such astronomical odds as that, all you can do is tip your hat to the gods of luck and chance, and move on. I got my chips in with the best hand, and that’s the best you can hope for. And try again another time.