If you’ve played poker often enough all the hands and the sessions you’ve played start to sort of mesh together. However, there are some hands that do stand out for a number of reasons. This week I’m going to tell you about some hands that have been very kind to me over the years in poker. These are some hands that have worked out well for me and have stood out in my mind when I look back at all the games I’ve played over the years that I’ve been around poker.
This one is pretty obvious. After all, pocket Aces are the best starting hand in poker. I’ve been fortunate enough to win some big pots with this hand and I personally feel that I play this hand better than most other pocket pairs. Once, while playing with some friends, I got dealt this hand out of position in a raised pot. I simply called and luckily for me there was another Ace on the flop. There were no straight or flush draws possible and I was in a pretty comfortable position at this point in the hand.
My opponent made a bet and I once again just called. The turn paired the Ace and I got my first ever Four of a Kind. I checked and my opponent made a bet which I called again. The river card was inconsequential and I checked for a final time to induce a bet from my opponent. They made a decent sized bet which I then raised to about 3X. Maybe I was bit too enthusiastic while putting my chips in or maybe I had caught a bluff because my opponent quickly folded and I took down a hefty sized pot.
Another incident that comes to mind with this hand was during a tournament in Goa. We had a day’s break from live reporting and a couple of us from the crew decided to play a small buy in tournament that the organizers were hosting at the casino. I got dealt Aces. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t misread my hand so I double checked my cards.
A player at the table seemed to notice this and decided to move all in. In hindsight, rechecking my hand turned out a to be a tactic that I still use sometimes as it acted as a false tell. In doing so it made my opponent believe that I was showing weakness and that putting out a big bet would scare me away from the pot. At the time though it was a total coincidence because I wanted to make sure that I didn’t misread A4 off suit as Aces.
You could say I got lucky with my opponent’s raise, but I would have probably raised the pot regardless once I had confirmed that I in fact had the hand that I thought I did. My opponent did the work for me. I snap called his preflop all in bet and doubled up to quite a healthy stack early on in the tournament.
As far as theory goes, Kings are the second best starting hand in poker. However that hand has not been too kind to me over the years and on some days I get confused about how to play it. The complete polar opposite of Aces is 7-2 off suit which is the worst starting hand in poker. There are very few scenarios where you would come out of a pot as the winner with this hand.
Usually I would fold this hand unless I’m in the big blind and there have been no preflop raises. Or if I’m looking to bluff and steal a pot, in which case it doesn’t really matter what cards I’ve been dealt. Once, during a game I got dealt this hand in the big blind and there had been no raises when the action came back around to me. It was an easy check and I flopped bottom pair.
I took the lead this time and made a bet hoping to be able to buy the pot as there had been no raises preflop which I thought meant that everyone else didn’t have a strong hand either. I got called by one other player. The turn was checked and my hand didn’t improve much on the river either. I checked and the other player made a bet.
Just when I had almost made up my mind to let the hand go, my opponent decided to look at his hand again. I had played with this person a few times before and I took that as a major sign of weakness from them. I raised just enough so that he was forced to make the call. My hunch was correct. He made the call and showed his bluff which goes to show the importance of being alert at the tables and noting your opponents’ behavior when they are in a hand.
This was in the initial days of playing poker where I didn’t know too much about theory and strategy and the inexperience will show here. I was out of position in this hand and someone had raised. I made the call and the flop had the 6 & 7 of Spades and a random card. I noticed my straight draw but didn’t notice the potential my hand had and was actually hoping that there were no Spades on the turn or river *facepalm*
The turn card was the 9 of Spades and I was happy to make my straight but was also disappointed as I thought my opponent would probably have made their flush and I would lose the hand. The river was a brick and my opponent made a bet. As I was still trying to place my opponent’s hand and considering whether or not it was worth taking a risk with a straight, it finally hit me!
I had made my first ever straight flush! As much as I wanted to yell out in happiness, I couldn’t. I calmed myself down and put out a raise. My opponent called and was shocked when I turned my hand over. Getting a straight flush is so rare that they didn’t even consider that I could have had one!
This hand happened more recently albeit in a pre-COVID 19 world–remember when that was a thing? There’s nothing overtly special about this hand at face value. There are enough cards that can make a higher pair, straight or flush and even a lesser hand can go on to improve on the river. This hand stands out to me because the probability of how this hand played out is less than 0.02% and I wanted to tell you about how I used a false tell to my advantage on purpose this time. This time I was in the big blind and there had been a raise. Everyone else folded and the action was on me. I decided to call because I had played with this person for years and had a fairly good idea of their tendencies.
The flop came 6-7-10 of diamonds and I had just FLOPPED A STRAIGHT FLUSH! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I decided to slow play and I checked. My opponent bet again and I called. I had the best hand so the turn and river didn’t really matter but my opponent kept making bets. Flopping a straight flush and having an opponent bet into you? Can’t get any better than this.
When the action was on me in the river I wanted to induce one final bet from them and knowing their style of play I was fairly certain that it would be a big one. This is where I used the false tell maneuver. I looked at my cards again and pretended to check the board before taking some time to check, feigning weakness. They moved all in and I snap called and flipped my hand over. No one else at the table had realized what I had and it wasn’t until I had scooped up half the pot did it hit them. In hindsight, I wish I had taken a picture because I still don’t believe that happened!
I won’t go into any specific pots with these two hands as I like to play them a lot and I thought maybe I would go into a little bit about why I like them so much. Somehow whenever I get dealt 6-7 of Diamonds my immediate instinct is to call whatever bet is out there. And mind you, this is specific to this suit and not any other combination of these cards.
Every poker player has some kind of favorite hand and there could be a number of reasons why. In my case, it’s just something about this hand that ‘feels’ right. Of course, I won’t go bonkers and risk my entire stack preflop with this hand, but I do play it when it’s reasonable enough to do so. Being suited connecters, there are a number of possibilities with this hand.
It can connect with straight outs on both low and high-ish ends of the spectrum. There is a flush possibility as well. On a low board if you pair one or both of them you could see yourself taking down that pot as well. And of course there is the rare possibility of making a straight flush which will definitely be the best hand.
Also known as Big Slick, Ace-King suited is one of the top 5 starting hands in poker. Even off suit, it is a very strong hand. In case you’re all in preflop against a hand like pocket Jacks, you’re at worst looking at a coin flip scenario even though you might be a slight underdog. This hand also makes the highest possible straights and flushes on all boards. If you make a full house it likely will be the best hand unless you’re up against a hand like Aces.
Most hands usually get decided in a high card or pair scenario or at best two pair scenario and in each of those cases, this hand will beat any other hand so just because of the number of possibilities and strength of this hand, I try my best to play it as often as possible unless I have a very strong read on an opponent. In fact, I find that playing this hand is easier than playing a lot of pocket pairs.
Hope you enjoyed reading this and if there are any hands that have been particularly good to you, please share your stories in the comments section. Until next time, stay safe and I hope you run good!
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