These events happened. The names have been changed to protect the naïve. All three hands are $20-40 limit hold’em.
Jerry Mander bet the turn. His lone opponent, Moe Mentum, paused to think. So Jerry made Moe an offer. He put his cards out in front. He put a $5 chip on one card and two $5 chips on the other card. Jerry pointed to the card with one chip on it and said to Moe, “You can pay me five bucks to see this card.” Then Jerry pointed to the other card and said, “It’s ten bucks to see this one.”
Everyone at the table was loving Jerry’s creativity, including Moe, who had his own rules in mind. Moe tossed three $5 chips over to Jerry. Then Moe turned over both of Jerry’s cards.
Jerry was unfazed as everyone gawked at his exposed ace-five. Jerry had no pair, no draw, he was out of position, he had already bet the turn, and now his cards were face up, meaning his pants were pulled down. So what else could Moe Mentum do but raise? And that’s what he did. Moe raised the turn.
Jerry called in tempo as if still dressed. The river was a blank. Jerry checked. Moe bet the river and Jerry called. Moe mucked. He couldn’t beat Jerry’s ace-high. Not only did Jerry’s cunning offer earn bluffing chips from Moe, but Jerry also got fifteen bucks icing. Brilliant.
Seeing that hand got me thinking about what I’ve been missing out on by going statue whenever I have cards. I decided to stay alert for bargains if the right people were involved, just for one night, just for fun.
An hour later I had eight-three in the big blind. Everyone folded to Justin Case on the button. Justin and I don’t go out of our way to beat each other up. We don’t soft play, but we don’t hard play either. Honestly? We play honest. Honest!
Justin slowly looked around like how he does. He saw my big blind sitting there like a red duck on a green pond, and he meekly limped from the button. The small blind called two chips and I knuckled. The flop came 9-9-4, twotone. The small blind checked the flop and I bet out.
Justin gave me a suspicious stare and called. The small blind folded. Right away, I called time out. This was my big chance to play Let’s Make a Deal. I mean, me and Justin are palsy, and the guy in the small blind had got up and was 20 feet away on the phone screaming at his bookie, so I knew he wouldn’t mind. Plus, I had just bet with nothing and got called. Perfect.
“Hey Justin,” I said. “How about if I take back three chips and you take the rest?”
Clever offer, ya think? If I had asked to take back my entire bet, it might have looked desperate and sent up a flare as to just how bad my hand really was. And if I had offered to take two chips back and Justin agreed, I’d have sold myself short because if he would say yes to two chips then he’d surely say yes to three, right? Man, I’m good at this! I should do it more often!
Justin quickly agreed to the deal. My bet was still in front of me, so I retrieved three of the four chips and thumb-flicked the other chip into the pot on it’s way to Justin.
Another player, Ella Mentry, spoke up. “Good play, Tommy,” she said. “By betting four chips to win 12, and by getting three chips back when you got called, you were retrospectively risking only one chip to steal 12 chips. Plus, if Justin had declined your offer, you’d know he had something, and you’d know not to get frisky on the turn, even if you made a pair. Ni Han.”
Justin heard Ella’s analysis and he didn’t care one bit. Later, Justin told me he had queen-ten and he was happy to take a quick profit. A good deal was had by all.
My other true-confession from that night is another money-back scenario, but this time my cards were already in the muck! I was in the small blind. The first player limped and everyone folded, including me. The pot was now heads up between the big blind and the limper. They glanced at each other and I knew what they were thinking. They wanted to chop the pot then and there, as if chopping blinds, but they couldn’t because my small blind was in the pot too.
So, I said, “Let’s chop!” Neither of them bothered to say, “Okay.” They grabbed their bets back, four chips each, leaving my two chips idle for an instant before I snatched up my piece of the pie. With no cards, I got a full rebate. As usual, a song lyric came to mind:
“They call that a bargain. The best I ever had.” — Pete Townshend
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