Arts & Entertainment

Phil Hellmuth on Poker: Two Nickels Gets It Done!

My son and I were up in Salem, Oregon to look at colleges. While there, we had the chance to do some clothes shopping for my son. We headed to a trendy store named Olive Boutique on Liberty Street when Jim, the store owner, invited me to play in a cash game at Creekside Golf Club.

Considering that Olive Boutique is carrying some shirts and hats from my Poker Brat Clothing Company line, and considering that I had just dropped some $1,100 at his shop, I was delighted to accept his offer. I’d been doing some business in Jim’s office and it was now time for Jim to do some business in mine!

We arranged a $500 buy-in no limit Hold’em game with unlimited $500 rebuys. The blinds were set at $5-$5-$10.

I wasn’t planning on playing poker on this trip so I didn’t have much cash with me. No problem, though. I asked my wife for our checkbook just in case I lost more than the $700 in cash I had on hand.

Well, I lost my initial $500 buy-in and had to rebuy for another $500, asking the banker to put it on my tab. You see, I wasn’t planning to lose and I certainly wasn’t planning to write a check to cover my losses. That would have been too embarrassing!

Soon after, when I had about $800 in front of me, I played a pot with a guy named Brandon who owns about 150 Dutch Bros. Coffee franchises.

I opened under the gun for $20 with pocket fives, sometimes referred to as two nickels or presto. Two other players called. Brandon, who was one of the best players in the game that night, made it $120 to go from the small blind. I called and everyone else folded.

The flop came J-4-3 and Brandon checked. I tossed in a $100 and said to Brandon, “I know you have A-Q and you know I have you beat. You can certainly fold A-Q here.”

That’s when he announced a raise, making it $200 to go. Man, I really didn’t want to have to write that check but I honestly thought I had him beat so I called his $100 raise.

The turn was a seven. Brandon bet $220 and I called.

The river card was a ten and Brandon moved all-in for $250. I glanced over at him, still thinking I had him beat. I didn’t think the seven or ten had hit him. Either I had him all the way or he had me all the way with an overpair, an A-J, or a set.

I kept thinking about the embarrassment of writing a check when I decided to just trust my instincts. I called Brandon’s bet and he flipped up his A-K.

“That was sick!” said one player, “How could you make that call?” I have to admit that those words of praise were music to my ears.

It was time to give Brandon a little poker lesson. I told him it was unwise to try to bluff an experienced pro like me. After all, who did he think I was?

Of course, when a player makes a call like that, every other player at the table takes note and won’t try to run a bluff against that player again. Well, that tendency played right into my hands. I didn’t have to make another brave call the rest of the night.

I had a great time playing with the local boys that night and actually wound up winning about $1,300 – more than enough to pay for my son’s shopping spree.

Thanks again, Jim, and welcome to my office!

 


 

Learn more about Phil Hellmuth and Poker Brat poker merchandise at www.philhellmuth.com.

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