Dead man’s hands

Get the knowledge – beat the field

The lesson is, greed is liable to get your fingers burnt

How many ‘What happened next?’ type situations can possibly come up in a game that involves nine people wedged around a stationary table with a single deck of cards?

More than you can imagine. At a recent Virgin Poker Festival all it took for me to stumble, fall and, smash my own tournament teeth to pieces was for two people not to play a single hand.

There were two no-shows, which meant that not only were there a couple of 10,000-strong stacks slowly leaking chips onto the table, but also that the action was almost short-handed.

I was more than happy with the strange situation, as it gave me an excuse to get involved in more pots. But with some bad hangover play, such as refusing to drop my Jacks to an obviously bigger pair, I successfully ran my stack down to 6000 in a little under two hours.

Thankfully, a much-needed break saved my throbbing head from exploding and I played myself back into contention once the dead stacks were sorted out.

And that’s when I came a cropper. In a ruling I’ve not seen in any other cardroom across the world, the dead stacks were now required to pay a blind every single hand rather than simply removing them or blinding them off when it was their turn.

So at the 100/200 level there was 700 in the middle before a single card had been dealt. And in an effort to get these stacks out of play sooner, the tournament director made a ruling that the amount the empty seats would post would double EVERY orbit.

To cut a long story short, I ended up shoving my entire stack of 11,000 chips into an unopened pot pre-flop (at the 100/200 level) to try and steal the mammoth 5000 chips posted by the dead players. Unfortunately, the big blind called with a pair of Tens and my Queen-rag failed to hit, sending me to the rail for an afternoon of Sambuca and spoof.

If there’s one lesson to be learnt it’s that while aggression pays, greed is liable to get your fingers burnt, and when you find yourself in an odd situation think that little bit harder and longer. Especially if you’re thinking of shoving for 55 big blinds with Queen-high.

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