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playing poker and teaching science: The third nuts...
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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle school science teacher, wrestling coach, poker player, scuba diver, aikido black belt, amateur writer, and student of life. In the past I have tried to give back a little by volunteering at a children's home in Belmopan, Belize, Central America. I also love Frosted Flakes. I have taken a year sabbatical from my teaching position in order to sail the Caribbean. Does that sound crazy to you?

Friday, August 21, 2015

The third nuts...

What do you do when you're first to act and you flop the third nuts? This hand came up on my last night in Las Vegas:

In the small blind I call a small raise with A2 of clubs; One of those hit it or get out hands. The flop falls an amazing 345 (rainbow). THE NUTS! goes off in my head, but then I realize I'm losing my stack to 67 which is easily a hand that would call a small raise. I can't fall to the monster under the bed syndrome, but I check the flop knowing that the young raiser will bet out.

He does: check, check, bet $15, call, call: Now there is about $60 in the pot.

The turn is a harmless king but I need to see where I am. I bet out $50, just under the size of the pot. Call, call...

At this point I'm thinking that if I had 26, 67, or a naked 6 (66?), given the texture of the board, I would have only called there as well. There is no flush possibility.

The river is a queen and I'm left with the third nuts and a pot of +/-$210. I have both players covered but with two callers am I ahead here? Check.

Player two pushes all-in for about $90. Player three tanks for a good two minutes then CALLS all-in for about $80... At least with his call the math is right for my call, even though I don't think I can win. It's a cooler, right?

I call and say, "I guess it's a cooler. You have 56, right? I have a wheel."

 I don't know how you play, but if I call or get called in a big pot I just turn my cards over and state what I have. No game playing. No slow rolling. No showmanship. Just here's what I have. This is one of the fun parts of the game: The other players' reactions.

Player two looked at me and said, "No. Ace King." Really? Player three mucked his cards. A set? A draw? I'll never know. Player two however called a bet on a board with three small straight cards holding two over cards and then got unlucky and hit his king. As I stacked chips he said he pushed because I check the river, thinking I was just betting on a small card on the turn.

I bet $50 into a $60 pot with only a 3,4, or 5?? That's a two pair bet at least, right?

It's hard to understand how others play. I thought both must be on some type of draw or at least two pair or a set, but top pair (on the turn) top kicker only? I never guessed that.

How would you have played this hand?


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