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A Very Cold Deck

May 30, 2010
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I do not think that word means what you think it means.

— The Princess Bride

While this hand from last night certainly wasn’t inconceivable — it actually happened, after all — it was certainly improbable. First, let’s set the scene:

Game: A 10-player, $125 SNG at the WSOP

Structure: Super turbo with 1,000 starting chips and 15-minute blinds

Blinds: 25-50

I was the early chip leader at the table having busted one player when my TPTK held up against his busted straight draw and found myself on the button when this hand played out.

The player UTG raised to 150 and got called by the player to his left. Action then folded around to me where I found pocket 6s, which were certainly playable from position, so I called hoping to hit a big hand on the flop. And I did, when the board fell 6-7-8 with two clubs.

The original raiser checked and the first caller led out for 300. Considering the stack sizes and the board texture, I decided there was no reason to slow play, and raised to 900. The player UTG check-called all in for about 500 and we went to the turn, which brought another 7 and gave me what I figured was an unbeatable full house.

When the remaining player shoved for his last 125, I made the easy call and nearly fell out of my seat when the cards were turned over. The player UTG held pocket 8s for 8s full while UTG held 7-8 off suit for 7s full, meaning my 6s full were in third place and I was looking for a one-outer to win the pot. Needless to say, it didn’t come.

It’s not that I didn’t win the pot that has me amazed though. It’s the distribution of hands. Having one full house lose to another is rare, but not unheard of. But having a hand finish house over house over house? I’m not good enough to do the math, but I have to think this is a statistical outlier.

If you know the odds, I’d love to hear them.

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