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14/04/2008 No. 68
he Guardian G2 Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Monday Apr 14, 2008

Filming is under way for the 2008 Poker Nations Cup. In this unusual tournament, six nations each send a team of six players, who take it in turns to play one-table heats and try to bank points for the team. Here is a remarkable pot involving Benjamin Kang from Germany and Marcel Luske, captain of the Dutch team.

It's the third hand of the match; each player (of six) begins with $5,000 in chips and the blinds are $50-$100. Everyone passes round to Kang's small blind and he completes the big blind. Luske finds K3 in the big blind, and checks.

The flop comes a beautiful 633, no flush draw. Kang checks and Luske (in tricky-trapping mode, keen not to lose his customer) checks behind. The turn comes 5 and Kang checks again. Luske cannot resist now betting 150, which Kang calls.

The river is a jack. Kang bets out 400. Luske raises to 900. Kang calls and raises a further 1,500. Many players would now move all in with Luske's well disguised cards, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't. Kang has played so strong on the river, he should have a very big hand or nothing - he can either call with ease to knock me out, or would pass for the reraise anyway - so, not loving the situation, I keep him honest with a flat call. In my book, that's good poker.

But my book isn't Luske's. He stares at Kang. He thinks for a long time. He considers his trip threes. He stares at Kang some more. And then, for only 1,500 into a pot of 3,100, he folds his hand. This is truly one of the greatest poker players of all time: Kang had J3.

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