August 2009
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Day 24: Quads always come in pairs

It was my third hand, and the first I’d decided to play.  I had a pair of red fours in the small blind.

I don’t even know why that detail is significant.  The colour of the cards has nothing to do with how I played them, or how I tell the tale.  It bugs me enough when people begin a story with "I had red aces", as if the suits matters pre-flop, and like they’re not going to point of they have a flush draw the tiny number of times it actually becomes relevant later in the hand.

In this hand, there was no flush draw, and even if there was one four wasn’t going to make much of a difference to me.  But for some reason I can’t explain, I looked down and thought exactly that: two red fours.

There were a couple of limpers and the button raised to $12.  He had a little more than a full stack ($100) so my call was fairly loose with bad position and three other players still to act.  I was hoping at least one of them would come along for the ride as well.

What I didn’t want was what happened: the big blind raised, but it was barely more than the minimum, making it $25.

I hadn’t been here long enough to know if that meant anything, but pre-flop re-raises at $1/$2 are unusual without a big hand and small re-raises scream of a monster pair.

I don’t like paying $25 on a small pair, but I was getting fabulous odds after the limpers fled the scene and the original raiser made the call.  $13 more to me, $66 in the pot and a hand that will either crack those pocket aces which the big blind had already told everyone about or cost me no more money. 

Flop: ten, nine, four.  All different suits.  Seriously loving my set of fours.

I check and the monster pair obligingly moves all in for about $70.

The button also moves all in for slightly more.

Am I still happy?  Slightly less so than I was, but I’m never folding here.  Pocket jacks and queens are all over this flop, and on balance of cards alone they are twice as likely as any hand that beats mine.

I don’t even ask for a count (I have both players covered) and we all jump head first into a three-way bloodbath.

Pocket aces we already pretty much knew about, but I have to confess when the last four popped up on the turn to crack the other guy’s pocket nines (for a bigger flopped set that left me with one card left in the deck to win) I did let out a little yelp, for which I quickly apologised.

The result of the carnage was a net win of about $200 for me – but as this was at the Excalibur two players got to spin the wheel – one for the four-of-a-kind and another for the cracked aces.

However, the player with the best hand on the flop by far got diddly squat, and had to watch as I got paid another $25 for sucking out on him.

But wait, there’s more.  We already know these huge hands come in pairs.  At Christmas, I thought I’d missed a jackpot and then made quads again shortly afterwards to confirm that there was no high hand prize at the time.  My last quads in Vegas before that was also two in the same session.

If I hadn’t already hit quads this trip (9s at Bally’s with a $100 jackpot) I’d swear it was always the case. 

Two hands later, while the jackpot wheel was still spinning (those things have a lot of momentum!) I picked up a massive ten-eight offsuit and limped in.  As the wheel settled the floorman had me sign the necessary paperwork to get my bonus chips so I wasn’t really paying attention to the game.

"Hurry up quad fours!", came the shout from the other side of the table.

I look back to see a flop with two tens, verbally checked, and then struggled to keep one eye on the game while dealing with the bureaucracy so I could try to work out how to make some money from my hand.

I still don’t really know how it happened.  The fourth ten came on the turn and I checked again because I didn’t think anybody had much yet, and I was really hoping for a river ace or king to generate some action.

It was a 5, but apparently that was enough.  I was just completing the formalities when the action got to me (two signatures for a $25 win – this is Vegas, right?) and threw out a $10 bet.

But I’d missed something.  Another player fancied his hand, and now decided that he wanted that pot of $8 that had been sitting in the middle of the table without anyone taking a stab at it so far.  He’d made a $30 bet at it and the dealer kindly let me have a do-over.

That $30 was pretty much $30 more than I expected to win, and I had no idea how what he could possibly call with but I had to raise, so I made it $70 and sure enough I got paid off by eight-five for a ridiculously weak full house (given the cards on board).

I should have won $8 on the hand, but I actually got another $70.

And even if the other guy couldn’t bring himself to fold a full house, all he had to do was point out that I’d already made my action by throwing out fewer chips than his bet amount because I wasn’t paying attention and I wouldn’t be allowed to raise, only call.

The dealer made me an extra $40 on this hand.

I also had an awesome second spin of the wheel, hitting "triple" and then $30 for another $90. 

My action dried up after that.  Nobody wanted to play with me because I was "great at flops" so I had to move on.

With all their money in my pocket 🙂