Rounders First Hand

[RR] Roderick the Rock reported back to Al the Almost, “I finally got around to watching Rounders1 again, and I definitely enjoyed it more the second time around, even though I knew how it would end. Maybe it’s because I know how to play Hold ‘Em better now.”

[AA] “Watch it a couple dozen more times like I have, then you can really understand its brilliance”, Al insisted.

[RR] “What I certainly appreciate more now then fifteen years ago was that the poker hands weren’t over-the-top straight flush vs. four Aces hands like other in most other movies.”2

[AA] “Yep, the biggest hand they showed was only a full house. Realistic.”

[RR] “That first hand against Teddy KGB seemed far-fetched to me when I saw it in the movie theater, but now I realize that it was just an unavoidable cooler.”

[AA] “Zeebo’s Theorem.3 Especially four-handed, there’s no way Mike can fold his full house. With A♣9♣, he raised from the button preflop and got called by Teddy in the big blind. Overbet his top two pair on the A♠9♠8♣ flop to make it look like a continuation bet and steal attempt. Slowplayed by checking behind on the 9♥ turn, which gave him his boat. And then bet and reraised all in on the harmless 3♠ river, which he hoped gave Teddy a flush.”

[RR] “The betting was too big — double reverse psychology or whatnot — but there’s no way to get away from a big loss there… unless he’s spotted a reliable tell.”

[AA] “Ah yes, the tell. People complained that no pro-caliber poker player would have such a blatant tell, but we’ll call that artistic license. If all Teddy did was twitch his nose, it would have been too subtle for most viewers to notice. I forgive them for the exaggeration.”

[RR] “What was far worse than the tell was Mike showing off his cards when he could have mucked them after folding because of the tell.”

[AA] “Yeah, laying down two pairs on the flop heads-up is pretty extreme. He might as well have admitted that he’d spotted the Oreo-eating tell, and Teddy didn’t take long to figure that out and smash his cookie rack against the wall. But Mike’s narration explains his rationale, claiming that the tilt factor was worth more than the tell.”

[RR] “Except that a good poker player shouldn’t be that easy to unhinge.”

[AA] “Maybe Mike expected Teddy to realize it out on his own anyway at some point. Rather than depending on a tell that could become unreliable and cost him a lot of money, he cashed it in for what he could get right then and there.”

Footnotes:

  1. Al and Rod previously discussed Rounders in The Basics of Texas Hold ‘Em.
  2. For example, The Most Famous Hold ‘Em Hand.
  3. See the previous discussion of Zeebo’s Theorem.

Related Links:

Flash replayer version of the full house hand (estimated chip stacks)

Full Tilt Poker formatted version, suitable for inputting into various poker analysis tools

Full Tilt Poker Game #0000000022: Table Teddy KGB's Place - 100/200 - No Limit Hold'em - 00:00:01 EDT - 1998/09/11
Seat 1: McDermott (50,500)
Seat 2: Player3 (21,000)
Seat 3: KGB (62,500)
Seat 4: Player4 (16,000)
Player3 posts the small blind of 100
KGB posts the big blind of 200
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to McDermott [Ac 9c]
Player4 folds
McDermott raises to 500
Player3 folds
KGB calls 300
*** FLOP *** [As 9s 8c]
KGB checks
McDermott bets 2,000
KGB calls 2,000
*** TURN *** [As 9s 8c] [9h]
KGB checks
McDermott checks
*** RIVER *** [As 9s 8c 9h] [3s]
KGB bets 15,000
McDermott raises to 48,000, and is all in
KGB calls 33,000
*** SHOW DOWN ***
McDermott shows [Ac 9c] full house, Nines over Aces
KGB shows [Ad Ah] full house, Aces over Nines
KGB wins the pot (101,100) with full house, Aces over Nines
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 101,100 | Rake 0
Board: [As 9s 8c 9h 3s]
Seat 1: McDermott (big blind) showed [Ac 9c] and lost with full house, Nines over Aces
Seat 2: Player3 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 3: KGB (button) showed [Ac 6h] and won (101,100) with full house, Aces over Nines
Seat 4: Player4 (small blind) didn't bet (folded)

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