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Learning Curve

Playing With The Big Boys You don't need gobs of money to play poker in Vegas. But, as the author discovers, it takes skill and knowledge to win.
Michael Kaplan
From the Print Edition:
Rudy Giuliani, Nov/Dec 01

(continued from page 2)

And I am having fun, throwing my weight around, able to afford the occasional semi-bluff, and luxuriating in the fact that I have enough of a cushion to take risks and weather small mistakes. Clearly, however, I should be more concerned about the big mistakes, like going all in with king-queen, suited, when a guy raises me hard after I make a modest bet of $400. We flip our cards and he has ace-queen, unsuited. Fine, I still have a chance. But then a queen comes on the flop and nothing else helps either of us. His ace gives him the hand -- and all my chips. Suddenly I'm no longer one of the elite players. I'm another schnook who made a dumb move and got bounced out of the tournament. McEvoy offers little sympathy. "That was a terrible play," he scolds, pointing out that my king against his ace made me a major underdog. "If he raised into you, what else could he have had besides an ace? You fold in that kind of situation. Or else you should have made a big bet. Four hundred dollars was a pussy bet and it did not telegraph strength. He gave you credit for a medium-strength hand."

"So," I say, "if I had a pair of aces, what I did would have been a good play, a good trap."

"You're not a sophisticated enough player to lay a trap like that," McEvoy counters dismissively. "You wouldn't think to do it."

I'm tempted to reply, "Wanna bet?" Then I think better of it. Who knows? One day McEvoy might be sitting at the same tournament table as me. Maybe I'll get dealt a pair of aces. And maybe he won't be expecting the trap. But it will be waiting for him.


Michael Kaplan writes on gambling for Cigar Aficionado.

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