Monday, December 29, 2014

You have to believe

It's been a while, so maybe it's time for a refresher course on the key factor in successfully playing The Mighty Deuce-Four.

Last night I was at Harrah's Cherokee, using the PokerPro tables for some $1-2 NLHE. I had started with $300, and after about two hours was down to about $200, when I caught 2-4 for the first time--offsuit, both black.

I was in the small blind. We had three limpers including the cutoff. Button raised to $16. I called, BB called.

Now it got weird: Cutoff, who had the biggest stack of around $600, reraised to $37.  A limp-reraise from late position? Who does that? I think I've seen only two kinds of hands played that way: A-K and medium pairs. I assume that in both cases, these players are thinking roughly along these lines: "This is a hand that is hard to play after the flop unless it improves in a very specific way, which it usually doesn't. Therefore, I'd either like to play it very cheaply, or put in a prohibitive pre-flop raise and end the hand." I don't recall ever seeing anybody play K-K or A-A like this from late position.

Anyway, the button called. I called, of course, since I had the best hand. Besides, I felt in my bones that I was going to flop big. In my bones, I tell you.

Surprisingly, the BB called, too, making the pot a bloated $145 or so before we even had a flop out.

Flop: A-4-4 rainbow.

Of course.

I pleaded with the poker gods: "Oh, please let him have A-K, not a medium pair."

I checked. BB checked. Cutoff bet $50. Button folded. I called. BB folded.

Turn: 7 of the fourth suit. Excellent.

I checked. Cutoff bet $75. I had $112 left. I figured he was thoroughly pot-committed. With me all-in, the pot would be about $430, and he'd only have to call $37 more to stay in. He should do that with just about anything. And he did. The computer revealed our hands. He had J-J. Two outs.

River: King. My old friend the Deuce-Four had done it for me again.

I heard the murmurings around the table: "Are you kidding me?" "I did not expect to see those two hands." "Wow." I just took it in stride. I couldn't feign surprise, since I had known I would win.

When people tell me that they have lost with 2-4, I usually tell them that they didn't play it right. Most often what they do wrong is fail to believe in it. My stock reply is this: "Does Santa bring presents to little boys and girls who do not believe in him? No, he does not. It's the same with Deuce-Four. You have to believe in it for it to work."

I believe.