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17/03/2008 No. 64
he Guardian G2 Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Monday Mar 17, 2008

If you've just lost a big pot, beware of playing a marginal hand. I wish I had remembered this wisdom during the London leg of the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour last week.

My second day was going well - I'd built my 25k returning stack up to about 75k: more than average - until I lost a nasty pot to the Italian player on my right, when his 85 of diamonds beat my AJ of spades. Silly me for thinking it was safe to check a rainbow flop of AQQ . . .

My opponent picked up a flush draw on the turn, fell in love with it, and their romance was sealed (like all the best love stories) with a diamond at the end. That cost me 30k, and on the next hand I found a pair of nines. The blinds were standard-raised to 6,000 by the international player Davood Mehrmand, known affectionately around London as "Brain Damage". Davood raises relatively rarely in the middle stages of a tournament; I opted for calling and taking a look at the flop.

It came 4-7-8 and Davood bet 8,000. I moved all-in, and he called instantly with a pair of tens. I should have passed pre-flop - not because I'd cracked up from the previous pot and couldn't judge my hand correctly, but because Davood might think I had. Ordinarily, a solid player like him would pause to consider whether I had flopped a set, or trapped him with a bigger overpair. The possibility that I was "on tilt" helped him to believe that I might have no hand at all. I lost the fold equity I should have had as backup if my nines weren't winning. Beware these marginal holdings after a nasty loss; people will be much quicker to keep you honest.

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