Preflop Odds Heads Up 3

[SS] “Fig, I’ve got a bet for you”, Stan the Stat propositioned Figaro the Fish while retrieving a set of three dice from his left pocket.

[FF] “Okay…”, Figaro responded warily.

[SS] “I’ll bet you even-money on who can roll the higher number with one of these dice”, Stan offered. “And because I like you, we’ll roll as many times as you want, and you can pick whichever die you want each time.”

[FF] After examining the dice, the Fish decided, “Okay, I’ll take this one, the only one with nines on it.”

[SS] “Very well, I choose this one with nothing higher than a seven”, the Stat countered.

[LL] Leroy the Lion chuckled, “You’re not really going to con him are you?”

[SS] “No, just for fun; we’re all friends here.”

[LL] “Fig, it doesn’t matter which die you pick, these are nontransitive dice, where each die beats one of the other two and loses to the other one.”

[FF] “How is that possible?”

[SS] “It’s like Roshambo, where rock beats scissors beats paper beats rock. The six faces on each die add up to 30, but they’re set up so you win by a little and lose by a lot, allowing the second player to win five-ninths of the matchups. C > B > A > C:”

Side 1 Side 2 Side 3 Side 4 Side 5 Side 6
Die A 1 1 6 6 8 8
Die B 2 2 4 4 9 9
Die C 3 3 5 5 7 7

[SS] Reaching into his right pocket and pulling out some more dice, Stan continued, “Or consider this set of four, called Efron’s dice:”

Side 1 Side 2 Side 3 Side 4 Side 5 Side 6
Die D 0 0 4 4 4 4
Die E 1 1 1 5 5 5
Die F 2 2 2 2 6 6
Die G 3 3 3 3 3 3

[SS] “The edge is even bigger here as the dominating die wins two-thirds of the time. G > F > E > D > G.”

[FF] “Wow, that’s amazing. Can I borrow those for the next time I go to a bar?”

[LL] “Do you really like to get beat up?”

[SS] “What’s cool is that you can do the same thing with Texas Hold ‘Em hands, although your edge is much smaller.” Having rummaged through a deck of cards and pulled out six of them, Stan continued, “For example, consider these hands: A♣K♦, J♥10♥, and 2♠2♥. Which would you prefer, Figaro?”

[FF] “Definitely the Ace-King at a full table.”

[SS] “Nope, you’re heads up.”

[FF] “I’d still take it.”

[SS] “Well, then I’d select the Twos and have a 53.0% to 47.0% edge on you. Similarly, the Jack-Ten suited has 53.7% equity against the Twos, and the Ace-King offsuit does even better against the Jack-Ten at 58.8%.”

[LL] “The Ace-King is an obvious win over the Jack-Ten, while the other two matchups are classic races. Both connectors mainly need to pair up to beat the Twos, but the Jack-Ten makes enough straights and flushes to tip the scales, while the Ace-King doesn’t.”

[FF] “Pretty cool, indeed.”

Related Links:

  • While it’s not blindingly obvious how to use it, the table at the top right of the Mathematrucker Matchups page lets you see any family of heads-up matchups (by gap and suitedness). Just tap on the proper square in the grid. In the answer cells, a pink background means the hands on the left column are winning and a blue background means the hands on the top row are ahead! Tap on the percentage to display the winning hand type breakdown on the left.

Preflop Odds Heads Up 2

[SS] “Again you’re all-in against a single opponent”, Stan the Stat posed. “But this time you can select both your own hole cards and your opponent’s. What should you pick?”

[RR] “I thought the best was something like Aces against Ace-Nine offsuit, with the Nine matching the suit of one of your Aces.”

[SS] “Close.”

[FF] “Ace-Eight?” Figaro the Fish ventured.

[SS] “Nope.”

[HH] “Ace-Seven?” Harriet the Hazy attempted.

[SS] “Nope.”

[LL] “Ace-Six?” Leroy the Lion guessed.

[SS] “And nope. Oddly, the Ace-Nine is the best of those because King-Queen-Jack-Ten is only a push, but the Ace-Six is next.”1

[EE] “So, it’s not a pair of Aces at all! Then it must be Kings vs. King-Two”, Elias the Eagle deduced.

[SS] “Indeed, with nearly 95% equity.2 With an Ace, you can’t let your opponent have anything under a Five because that would permit too many straights. With the King, no such problem. The King-Deuce does tie a few more hands, but it wins many fewer because the Six through Nine all take part in five kinds of straights while the Two only makes two. Queens vs. Queen-Two is the next best.”3


  1. Ace-Eight makes 12 more winning full houses than Ace-Seven, which in turn makes 12 more than Ace-Six.
  2. 94.92% from 1,612,287 wins and 26,192 ties out of 1,712,304 possibilities.
  3. 94.66%. Then Kings vs. King-Three (94.48%), Jacks vs. Jack-Two (94.35%), Queens vs. Queen-Three (94.22%), and finally Aces vs. Ace-Nine (94.08%), barely edging Kings vs. King-Four (94.04%) and Kings vs. King-Two with four suits (94.03%).

Preflop Odds Heads Up

[SS] “If your only opponent is all-in with a pair of Aces, what’s the best hand you can hold?” Stan the Stat opened.

[FF] “The other two Aces”, Figaro the Fish observed.

[SS] “Besides that, of course.”

[RR] “I thought it was Ten-Nine suited, matching neither of the Ace’s suits”, Roderick the Rock opined.

[LL] “No, if that’s good then Nine-Eight suited has to be better. With Ten-Nine, a King-high straight is no good, since the Aces win with a royal straight”, Leroy the Lion objected.

[SS] “Both incorrect, but you’re getting warmer.”

[HH] “Eight-Seven suited”, Harriet the Hazy opted, like the next contestant on The Price is Right.

[SS] “Nope.”

[FF] “Seven-Six”, Figaro the Fish output.

[SS] “Still wrong.”

[TT] “Now it’s a cinch to derive / That it must be the Six-Five”, Tyrone the Telephone offered.

[SS] “Indeed. The Six-Five has just over 23% equity.1 But why is it slightly better than the Seven-Six?”

[TT] “The Seven-Six gets more hits / But the Six-Five gets more splits.”

[SS] “Indeed it does. Which ones?”

[RR] “Except for my initial guess, all these suited connectors can make the same number of winning straights and flushes, so that leaves full houses.”

[LL] “No, the Seven-Six makes more winning straights. They both win if there’s a wheel straight on the board, but a 65432 board is a win for the Seven-Six and only a push for the Six-Five.”

[EE] “So the 6-high straight is some of the Six-Five’s extra pushes. The rest are on the other side: the Jack-high and Ten-high straights, which don’t happen as often for the Seven-Six.”2

[SS] “And that’s most of the difference, although there are a few full houses. 77666 down to 77222 vs. 55444 down to 55222 accounts for a few more wins for the Seven-Six and a few more ties for the Five-Four. Lastly, JT98x wins more often for the Seven-Six than 432Ax does for the Six-Five.”

[SS] “The Six-Five has enough extra straight pushes to overcome the extra wins that the Seven-Six gets.”

[TT] “When facing Aces, your prospects are wee / Even with the best hole cards you could see / Out of thirteen tries, you’ll only win three.”3


  1. The Six-Five suited has 23.056% equity, 0.0235% more than the Seven-Six suited (23.0325%).
  2. Out of 1,712,304 possible boards, the Six-Five suited wins 55 fewer times but ties 916 more times.
  3. This is an excellent estimate as three-thirteenths is the repeated decimal 0.230769.

Basic Player Reading – The Next Step

[FF] Deb the Duchess was being anti-social, tapping away at a Texas Hold ‘Em game1 on her iPhone when Figaro the Fish and Nate the Natural approached. “Haven’t you beaten that game yet?” Figaro interrupted.

[DD] “I’m on the second to last tournament, the National Championship on the top difficulty”, Deb responded. “It’s going to be a long time before computers can beat the pros, but they’re still challenging to me.”

[NN] “Don’t be fooled. Computers will be better than the pros at Hold ‘Em sooner than you think. If IBM can conquer Jeopardy! with Watson by building a large enough information database and crafting a smart enough language parser, other programmers can certainly keep improving their Hold ‘Em algorithms until they outclass even the top poker pros. Paraphrasing The Simpsons,2 Ken Jennings conceded on his Final Jeopardy answer screen, ‘I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.'”

[DD] “How soon do you think that’s going to happen?”

[NN] “I think Black Friday set the timetable back a couple years, since the breakthroughs will probably come outside the U.S. now, but certainly within a decade.”

[NN] “Computers can do the math perfectly. They can calculate odds almost instantaneously with massive lookup tables and powerful processors. They can analyze your hand history to see how you play. All that’s really left are a few advancements in the algorithms that decide what to do with all this information. It essentially comes down to hand reading, and I don’t mean palmistry.”

[DD] “That’s what separates the pros from the amateurs.”

[NN] “The reason hand reading is so daunting to most humans is that there’s so much to keep track of on just a single hand, let alone over a session of hands with the same players. Computers don’t have the slightest problem with it. Which is why most good online players use HUDs (heads-up displays).”

[NN] “To put your opponent on a hand range even before the flop, you need to take into account his stack size; the blinds and antes; his position; the action ahead of him, including who bet what from where; the amount he called, bet, or raised; how he’s been playing recently; and his playing style, which alone can be broken down into dozens of smaller areas; and more.”

[FF] “But how am I supposed to keep track of all that?”

[NN] “To start as simply as possible, the most important element is a player’s style. In a home game, you’ll get to know the regulars quite well without even trying. You two certainly know how I play, and I know how you play. In an unfamiliar ring game or any larger tournament, you’ll have no history with your opponents, but every hand adds to your database of information about them.

  • How many hands do they play (i.e., are they loose or tight preflop)?
  • How often do they 3-bet? 4-bet? 5-bet? (i.e., how tight a range does each of those represent)?
  • Do they correctly value position (e.g., do they play many more hands in late position than early and can you discount their bets in position vs. out of position)?
  • Do they tend to call or raise (i.e., are they too passive or too aggressive)?
  • Do they bluff too often or too infrequently (i.e., can you discount the strength of their bets or should you take them as real)?
  • Do they call too much or can you bluff them out of pots (i.e., should you value bet them or steal from them)?
  • Can they make big folds? (i.e., should you try to make a big river bluff or all-in bluff)?
  • Do they like to chase draws? (i.e., should you charge them more for their draws and/or not try to bluff if you think they have a draw)?
  • Will they bet if they have just a draw (i.e., could your third pair be the best hand despite their bet)?
  • Do they tend to underbet the turn and river (i.e., will you get a good price to hunt for your draws)?
  • Do they overbet the flop when the board is scary (e.g., can you put them on a hand like top pair or an overpair)?
  • Do they adjust to their opponents (i.e., do you need to take into account what they think of your style)?
  • Is their style static or can it change (i.e., once you’ve figured out how they’re playing, can you count on that always)?”
  • Do they play differently when they’re shortstacked? (e.g., can you devalue a shove from them once they’re short enough on chips)?”
  • Do they like to steal the blinds from the button? The cutoff? The hijack? (e.g., can you devalue all of those raises)?
  • How often do they check-raise, if at all? (e.g., if they check to you, can you bluff knowing that you won’t get raised)?”

[FF] “Yikes!”

[NN] “If the event is a tournament, a few more questions are relevant:

  • Are they very afraid of busting out? And do they have any rebuys left if it’s a rebuy tournament?
  • Does their style change as the blinds go up?
  • Are they happy just to cash or are they trying to win it all?
  • Do they play more tightly near a bubble or will they attack if their stack is healthy?”

[FF] “My head is spinning.”

[NN] “I know it’s overwhelming at first, so start by just watching the player on your immediate left or right or the most active player at the table, and note only a few of those pieces of information. As you get comfortable, add more information and more players. You can do it. You just have to try.”


  1. See “A New Game in Town – THETA Poker Pro”.
  2. You can watch the segment from the “Deep Space Homer” episode.

Basic Player Reading – Levels of Thinking

[BB] “Like in chess, better poker players generally think deeper than weaker players”, Benny the Book compared. “It’s not a clean correlation because it doesn’t help to think incredibly deeply about the wrong things. Chess computers could think many more plies than humans for decades before they could beat the strongest grandmasters.”

[BB] “Poker is a funny game in this respect. You want to think deeper than your opponent, but don’t want to think too much deeper than your opponent. A seasoned pro and a complete neophyte might make the same exact bet for completely different reasons, so you need to determine how deeply your opponent thinks to know how to play against them. You want to be thinking exactly one level deeper than your opponent.”

[BB] “Beginners think at the first level: what cards do I have and how good is my hand? Some beginners are able to adjust for the texture of the board, but most won’t think to devalue their nut flush if the board is paired.”

[BB] “Intermediate players think at the second level: what does my opponent seem to have? But they only have a vague notion of your hand strength: strong, fair, or weak. Sometimes intermediate players prematurely and inaccurately try to place you a specific hand, but that usually doesn’t work out well for them.”

[BB] “Advanced players also think at the second level, but they start you on a fairly wide hand range and try to narrow it as the hand progresses. When they’ve deduced correctly, they can cause you major problems.”

[BB] “Expert players think at the third level: what does my opponent think I have? That’s as far as anyone goes in the games we’re playing in. Which means that if you can go to the fourth level (what does my opponent think that I think they have), you’ll dominate here.”

[BB] “Do you remember the battle of wits scene in The Princess Bride?”1

[JJ] “Of course!” Joey the Juvenile confirmed.

[BB] “Westley, then referred to anonymously as the man in black, shows Vizzini some poisonous iocane powder, turns his back for a moment, then says, ‘All right. Where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide, and we both drink and find out who is right… and who is dead.'”

[BB] “Vizzini tries to deduce which glass to pick, reasoning, ‘Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I’m not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool; you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.'”

[BB] “Vizzini is thinking at level three, considering what his opponent, the man in black would think he thinks.”

[BB] “Vizzini apparently solves the dilemma by switching the glasses while his enemy isn’t looking. The man in black doesn’t hesitate to drink from his own goblet, so it must have originally been the safe one. Because of the swap, Vizzini therefore has the drink that’s safe to imbibe, which he does.”

[JJ] “But Westley was thinking at level four!”

[BB] “Right. Although Vizzini did momentarily come close to the right answer, he spent most of his time considering the wrong data. Of course, a wise man wouldn’t ever consider drinking from a glass if there were a 50% chance that it would be fatal, not unlike a coin flip for your tournament life.”

[BB] “Wallace Shawn’s villain character flopped the nut flush draw and concluded that his Ace was good anyway. But he really had no outs as his opponent already had a full house. Both glasses were poisoned, and Cary Elwes’s hero character had spent years building up his immunity to iocane.”

[BB] “So make sure you use the appropriate level of thinking for your opponent. Against Figaro the Fish, there’s no need to go beyond level two. If you explain his actions with any deeper logic, you’ll end up making the wrong move. Against Vince the Veteran, level three is good. He’ll try to put you on a hand, so a little deception will go a long way. And against Deb the Duchess, level four would be right, although I still aspire to that.”


  1. If you prefer, here is the transcript of the battle of wits.

Basic Player Reading – Playing Style

[BB] “I’m definitely getting out of my comfort zone here”, Benny the Book admitted to his son. “But to become great at Hold ‘Em, you need to pay very close attention to your opponents. The more you notice about how they play, the better. Do you know who would have been an amazing Texas Hold ‘Em player?”

[JJ] “Miss Cleo?”,1 Joey the Juvenile offered facetiously.

[BB] “Sherlock Holmes! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s great detective once said, ‘It is my business to know what other people don’t know’.”2

[BB] “You’ve now played a few tournaments with us, so you should have an idea of how people play. Preflop, who’s the loosest player in the group?”

[JJ] “William the Whale. He makes big bets all the time.”

[BB] “‘You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear”3, Benny quoted. “William likes to make you think he’s incredibly loose, but that’s only because you notice his big bets when he’s in a hand.”

[JJ] “Well, Carlos the Crazy then.”

[BB] “You’re getting warmer. He’s probably in second.”

[JJ] “I don’t know.”

[BB] “Tyrone the Telephone. He’s a total calling station. He flies under the radar because he mostly just calls, but he definitely sees more flops than anyone.”

[BB] “Who sees the fewest flops?”

[JJ] “Either Mildred the Mouse or Roderick the Rock.”

[BB] “Right! Roderick loosens up a bit in the cash game, which Mildred never plays in, but they’re both super-afraid of busting out of the tournament. They pretty much stick to premium hands and will fold a dozen times in a row, no sweat.”

[BB] “You’ve already touched on this, but who are the most aggressive players besides William and Carlos?”

[JJ] “Deb the Duchess, Elias the Eagle, and Yuri the Young Gun.”

[BB] “Excellent. If you were sitting at a table with those five, I don’t think you’d ever see a flop where everyone limped.”

[BB] “Who really loves suited connectors, even the awful Four-Three and Three-Two?”

[JJ] “I have no idea.”

[BB] “That would be Harriet the Hazy, who always thinks she can hit a lucky flop.”

[BB] “Who will play any pair, even facing a big preflop raise out of position?”

[JJ] “Most of us.”

[BB] “Not too inaccurate, but I was thinking of Figaro the Fish. You saw him last month when he almost won the tournament after hitting so many sets.”4

[BB] “Holmes also insisted, ‘It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.’5 Every hand leaves a trail of data to be collected. You go into each hand with what you already know about your opponents. That’s like the case file for each criminal. You add that to the checks, bets, raises, and calls on each street. Those are your clues from the current crime (well, they’re trying to steal your chips, right?). With all the evidence you have, you can then decide what the best action to take is.”

[BB] “Now, I don’t even really know the answers to these questions, but it would really help your play if you could notice… Who will play any Ace? Any pair? Who will play any two cards from the button? Who defends their blinds too much because they don’t correctly value position? Who will call almost any bet to chase a draw? Who will bet when all they have is a draw? Who will bluff a four-flush on the board without a flush? Who will represent an Ace on the board without it?”

[JJ] “Wow, I guess I need to start paying more attention.”

[BB] “Exactly. Especially when you’re not in a hand, since that should be more often than when you’re in a hand. After each hand, try to mentally review what just happened and update your images of each active player.”

[BB] “If you can do that, you’ll be a better player than me very soon.”

[JJ] “I can’t wait! But didn’t Holmes also claim, ‘There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact’?”6

[BB] “Well, you also need to figure out who the deceptive players are. Against the better players, you won’t be able to pinpoint their two hole cards. ‘We balance probabilities and choose the most likely. It is the scientific use of the imagination.'”7

[BB] “Ultimately, if you pay more attention, you’ll have more information. If you have more information, you’ll make better decisions. If you make better decisions, you’ll win more.”

[JJ] “Elementary!”8


  1. Youree Dell Harris portrayed Miss Cleo in television ads for the Psychic Readers Network from 1997 to 2003.
  2. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, page 254.
  3. A Scandal in Bohemia, page 162.
  4. See Sets Education.
  5. A Scandal in Bohemia, page 163.
  6. The Bascombe Valley Mystery, page 204.
  7. The Hound of the Baskervilles, page 687.
  8. Doyle never had Sherlock Holmes say, “Elementary, my dear Watson.” The catchphrase was popularized by the many movies made from his stories.

Knock Knock

Figaro the Fish responded to Umberto the Unlucky’s bad beat story with the tale of his own tournament demise as a series of knock knock jokes.

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Adelia.”

[UU] “Adelia who?”

[FF] “Adelia the cards so we can start playing.” {Tournament begins}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Robin.”

[UU] “Robin who?”

[FF] “Robin my blinds, are you?” {Folds big blind to Elias’s button raise}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Andy.”

[UU] “Andy who?”

[FF] “Andy stole my blinds again!” {Folds to Elias’s button raise again}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Ima.”

[UU] “Ima who?”

[FF] “Ima gettin’ fed up with you stealing my blinds.” {And again}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Dawn.”

[UU] “Dawn who?”

[FF] “Dawn keep takin’ my chips!” {Folds to Elias’s continuation bet}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Ollie.”

[UU] “Ollie who?”

[FF] “Ollie does is bet, bet, bet!” {Folds to Elias’s turn bet}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Ewan.”

[UU] “Ewan who?”

[FF] “Ewan me are like peas in a pod. I really like my chips, and you really like my chips.” {Folds to Elias’s river bet}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Aaron.”

[UU] “Aaron who?”

[FF] “Aaron on the side of caution. I fold.” {Folds to Elias’s big river bet}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Juno.”

[UU] “Juno who?”

[FF] “Juno you’re driving me crazy?!” {Folds to Elias’s preflop raise}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Juan.”

[UU] “Juan who?”

[FF] “Juan of these days, I’ll catch you bluffing.” {Folds to Elias’s turn raise}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Alfred.”

[UU] “Alfred who?”

[FF] “Alfred of busting out. I fold.” {Folds to Elias’s turn overbet}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Colin.”

[UU] “Colin who?”

[FF] “Colin you out on this time.” {Calls Elias’s river raise…}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Ike.”

[UU] “Ike who?”

[FF] “Ike can’t stop donking off my chips.” {… and loses}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Tex.”

[UU] “Tex who?”

[FF] “Tex two to tango!” {Calls Elias’s flop bet and is all-in}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Anita.”

[UU] “Anita who?”

[FF] “Anita rebuy!” {Gets a new chip stack}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Ivana.”

[UU] “Ivana who?”

[FF] “Ivana win a pot some time tonight.” {Waits for hole cards to be dealt}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Abbott.”

[UU] “Abbott who?”

[FF] “Abbott time I got some cards!” {Wins small pot}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Holly.”

[UU] “Holly who?”

[FF] “Holly-lujah, I got some more cards!” {Wins medium pot}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Asa.”

[UU] “Asa who?”

[FF] “Asa spades, Ace of hearts!” {Wins big pot with a full house}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Candace.”

[UU] “Candace who?”

[FF] “Candace get any better? Another full house!” {Wins bigger pot and claims chip lead at the table}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Dewey.”

[UU] “Dewey who?”

[FF] “Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe.” {Shows a bluff}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Izzy.”

[UU] “Izzy who?”

[FF] “Izzy come, Izzy go.” {Gets caught on a big river bluff}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Ella.”

[UU] “Ella who?”

[FF] “Ella-mentary, my dear Watson! Oops.” {Deduces opponent’s hand incorrectly…}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Ida.”

[UU] “Ida who?”

[FF] “Ida thought you would have raised under the gun preflop with Aces.” {… and loses the pot}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Les.”

[UU] “Les who?”

[FF] “Les party!” {Calls all-in}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Jean.”

[UU] “Jean who?”

[FF] “Jean-ius call that one.” {Has nary an out on the river}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Chris.”

[UU] “Chris who?”

[FF] “Christmas came early for you this year.” {Congratulates the player who knocked him out}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Scott.”

[UU] “Scott who?”

[FF] “Scott no chips and no rebuys left, so I guess I’m the first one out of the tournament.” {Gets up from the table.}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Tom.”

[UU] “Tom who?”

[FF] “Tomorrow’s another day.” {Vows to return for next month’s tournament}

[FF] “Knock Knock.”

[UU] “Who’s there?”

[FF] “Althea.”

[UU] “Althea who?”

[FF] “Althea in the side game.” {Leaves table}


One Outer, One Outer

[UU] “I’ve had enough bad beats to write a book, but tonight’s topped them all. I lost on a one-outer, one-outer!” wailed Umberto the Unlucky.

[FF] “I’m not very good at math, but I’m pretty sure that’s impossible.”

[UU] “Not when I’m in the hand, it isn’t. I got all my chips in good, as usual. Hit the nut flush when the A♣ showed up on the turn, joining the J♣9♣8♣ on the board. I check-raised for just about the pot, and Benny the Book, who had me covered by a little, went into the tank.”

[UU] “After a few minutes, Benny finally announced his call and flipped over what everyone expected him to have, a flush but not the nuts. I showed my K♣, and everyone could see that his Q♣ left him one out, the 10♣ for a straight flush.”

[UU] “Leroy the Lion was dealing, and after some unnecessary theatrics, he flipped over… drumroll please… the 10♣.

[LL] The whole table went, “Ooh!” and Benny started to dance, but Leroy cut everyone off with a quick apology, “Sorry, wrong deck!” During the long delay when Benny had been thinking, the Lion had grabbed the second, red deck to shuffle and then accidentally dealt the river from it. The Book was in disbelief, but Roderick the Rock picked up the counterfeit river card, turned it face down, and sure enough, its red back didn’t match the blue cards in the muck.

[LL] “I’m really sorry about that. My bad. But it was also Harriet the Hazy’s fault, because she was supposed to shuffle but didn’t.” Leroy picked up the blue deck, announced, “And the real river card is…”

If it had been anybody but Umberto, we might have had to call 911 for a heart attack. But the Unlucky one is so inured to bad beats that he merely said, “Figures”, and stood up when the other 10♣ hit the felt.