Any Two Cards

There is a famous saying in poker: “Any two cards”. This relates specifically to Texas Hold ’Em, by far the most popular variation at the moment, both on-line and in the real world.

The screengrabs below are all from hold ’em tournaments. I have but rarely played hold ’em cash games, and would not recommend it, certainly not the no limit kind. These are all low limit games, most of them freerolls, due partly to my chicken-hearted nature, partly to my belief (unlike Milton Friedman) that there is such a thing as a free lunch, and partly to what little wisdom I have. These are not all hands that I have played personally or in which I was involved. As far as can be ascertained, they are in chronological order.

August 28, 2009: Quad jacks - always a nice flop at hold ’em!

March 30, 2012: Flopping a full house after an inspired re-raise, the second hand of the tournament.

May 9, 2012: He flops top pair and thinks he’s in front. Oops!

Like the hand below, I think this is from May 11, 2012, though perhaps not the same tournament. A flopped set holds up.

May 11, 2012: Our hero flops the underful, and it holds up.

May 16, 2012: All-in with garbage, he outflops big slick, but justice prevails as the river fills a gutshot.

May 21, 2012: Late night, our hero is short stacked and all-in; his garbage beats the other guy’s garbage.

August 9, 2012: House on the river, uncalled.

August 12, 2012: A flopped set holds up in a freeroll.

August 14, 2012: Cashing in a freeroll. Always a nice sensation, play for free and get paid into the bargain!

August 26, 2012: I am informed this was AK v AQ. Big slick is outflopped but sucks out with a flush.

August 31, 2012: The first of 4 screengrabs from the same freeroll. Here, aces hold up, though it’s almost a pity the Royal Flush didn’t come. Almost!

August 31, 2012: The best hand loses, as usual!

August 31, 2012: The dominated hand wins.

August 31, 2012: KQ suited loses to KQ suited. Ouch!

September 3, 2012: Idiot v idiot. I stayed out of this one.

September 8, 2012: All-in pre-flop. I can’t remember for sure what happened but I think the guy with the 6s raised, as you would do with such a great hand, then called my all-in. The second card was scary, but the bullets held up.

September 8, 2012: Ace rag converts to house.

September 8, 2012: The guy with the suited disconnectors outdrew both my pocket jacks and the bullets, but I cashed winning $2.10.

September 9, 2012: AJ is dominated by both hands yet wins the pot. The next hand is from the same tournament.

September 9, 2012: A flopped house in the William Hill Sunday Facebook Freeroll.

September 9, 2012: Three all-in pre-flop, and the moron with the ace wins.

September 9, 2012: Pocket 8s hold up in the PokerStars Depositor Freeroll.

September 12, 2012: A garbage hand hits a straight flush on the river. It was uncalled.

September 14, 2012: All-in pre-flop, and the best hand comes last.

September 15, 2012: Taking down the pot with a full house.

September 15, 2012: The first hand of the tournament, and big slick gets into a raising war with the bullets, an argument that usually ends in tears.

September 15, 2012: Third hand of the tournament, big slicks split the pot.

September 16, 2012: A cruel way to lose with a small pocket pair when the board pairs twice and the ace wins.

September 18, 2012: Aces hold up three handed.

September 18, 2012: A flopped set holds up against a flush draw.

September 18, 2012: A flopped house.

September 18, 2012: Four players each dealt pairs all-in before the flop, and for once the best hand wins.

September 19, 2012: This one was literally any two cards, garbage held up against two pairs.

September 19, 2012: A magic river wins a 4 way pot.

September 19, 2012: Pocket jacks lose to pocket aces.

September 20, 2012: All-in pre-flop.

September 20, 2012: I folded the winner to a pre-flop re-re-raise. Sigh.

September 24, 2012: The joker with 6-2 raised pre-flop.

September 24, 2012: Aces hold up.

September 24, 2012: Flopping trip queens.

September 24, 2012: Eight’s full get paid.

October 5, 2012: Suited connectors hit a gutshot on the turn and improve to a flush on the river.

October 6, 2012: It is not uncommon for 3 players to have pocket pairs at hold ’em, but 4 doesn’t happen very often. Here, we were all-in before the flop, and as usual, the worst hand wins!

October 7, 2012: All-in pre-flop madness, and the Royal Arlo hits a magic river.

October 7, 2012: He raised with queens, and had a nasty surprise.

October 7, 2012: First hand of the tournament, and no callers.

From the same tournament as above. He got away with slow playing kings.

October 14, 2012: The first of two hands from this tournament forwarded by Auntie. Here, he flops the nut straight.

October 14, 2012: Here, Auntie hits a full house on the river, but still couldn’t cash!

October 18, 2012: The first of two screengrabs from the same freeroll. This is not a good flop for kings, even slow playing, but one player kept calling small bets and on the river I made the nut flush. And didn’t get paid.

October 18, 2012: The second of two screengrabs from the same freeroll. Raise and flop two pair, you’re probably in front, so why not whack it all in to shut out the draws? Because the other player may have a set?

October 20-21, 2012: The first of four hands from the 23.00 Freeroll on Party Poker and WPT Poker, played here on the latter. The no limit hold ’em tournament had a $250.00 prize pool and paid 1,100 places as usual. Here it had 9,724 runners. Aces hold up heads up at level four. I had pocket aces 4 times in this tournament, this was the third.

October 20-21, 2012: The second hand from this freeroll - see above. Here, our hero flops the nut straight in the big blind, whacks it all in, and everybody folds.

October 20-21, 2012: The third screengrab from this late night freeroll. The big stack made a minimum raise with AK. I was tempted to raise all-in, but called, and the flop was no use to man nor beast. He made a big bet on the flop; I thought he may have had AK but thought it was more likely he had something else. I thought of aces, but he could have flopped a set or ever raised with 9-10. After a bad day on the tables I really wanted to cash here, even for pennies, so folded.

October 20-21, 2012: The final grab from this late night freeroll. Fold garbage and this is what happens, but try calling with 6 deuce, and it will be a different story.

October 21, 2012: AJ raised, kings went all-in. Oops.

October 21, 2012: The very next hand, this time our hero has the kings, and they hold up against the same player. In Hold ’Em On The Cheap, I said I was finished with no limit hold ’em sit and go’s. That resolution didn’t last long! Immediately below are three screengrabs from a small bounty tournament. These are a variant of head hunters, or vice versa. The small fry below had 9 runners, paid 3 places and had a buy-in of $1.00 + 27c + 15c. I finished 3rd winning $1.94 and 81c in bounties for a total of $2.71.

October 28, 2012: He didn’t believe my pre-flop raise, raised my minimum bet on the flop, then called my all-in.

October 28, 2012: I stayed out of this one. 5-3 suited. What a player!

October 28, 2012: One of the dangers of slow playing kings, but he went on to put me out of the tournament in 3rd place.

October 29, 2012: Calling a big pre-flop raise with Q3 suited, he went all-in with a flush draw. And made it!

October 30, 2012: The small pair wins again. I finished 3rd in this small hours micro-stakes tournament.

November 3, 2012: A nice flop for Q-10; he called my all-in.

November 3, 2012: Call with garbage, get outdrawn.

November 3, 2012: Last hand, all-in to his pre-flop raise. Ouch.

November 8-9, 2012: The garbage hand flops the second flush which holds up against a set.

November 8-9, 2012: Garbage converts to a flush.

November 8-9, 2012: Pocket kings hold up in the small hours, and our hero cashes, winning $2 for 17th place.

November 11, 2012: All-in pre-flop, and a magic/unfortunate runner runner saves the day for the garbage hand.

November 12, 2012: Raise, raise, raise - 9s win all-in pre-flop.

November 12, 2012: Deep in the tournament, the short stack can’t fold. I finished 132nd winning $1.60.

November 14, 2012: This tournament started at 2am London time; all-in pre-flop, the smallest starting pair wins for our hero.

April 2, 2013: I had an idea this guy had aces but still called. What a lovely flop!

April 9, 2014: All-in pre-flop. How would you like to flop quad jacks and lose?

July 23, 2014: The 6s raise, and our hero makes quads.

July 25, 2014: Stupidity is its own reward, he calls an all-in on a gutshot draw, and hits it.

August 2, 2014: All-in on the flop with 9s against queens, a magic river and quads beat queens full.

August 6, 2014: The unraised big blind is the most dangerous hand in hold ’em. I was all-in on the flop, had one caller, and the hand held up heads up. I cashed in this freeroll.

October 4, 2014: I cashed in this bounty tournament taking two heads on the way. Here, a guy raised, the queens went all-in, I followed, then so did ace rag. The raiser folded, and I thought I was dead on the flop, double dead on the turn, then the magic river came. No, I did not call for it psychic poker style!

[The above article was originally published as a blog October 16, 2012 with 10 screengrabs. Another 59 were added in due course, and a further 11 were added for this site, all those dated November 11, 2012 onwards. I have made a couple of tiny corrections: one grammatical and one relating to a misread hand].

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