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My bad beat story

No poker site is complete without at least one bad beat story so here we go.

I was visiting my hometown in upstate New York earlier this year when an old high school buddy invited me over to play in a friendly game of Texas Hold'em. I say "friendly," despite the fact that I wasn't exactly fond of one particular player there. Much to my chagrin, none other than Vincent C., a notorious bully back in the day (I think he was voted "Most Likely to Do Time" in the yearbook), was seated directly across from me at the table.

I really couldn't believe that my friend Matt, the guy who was hosting the game, had become pals with Vincent in the intervening years. (Was it possible that Matt had invited Vincent merely to try to take his money? If so, I could respect that.) Anyway, I was greeted by a smirking Vincent with, "Well, hello, Dick. Long time, no see." Now, granted, my name is Richard, but no one calls me Dick - especially not with an accent on the one syllable. I probably should have taken Vincent's snide greeting as some sort of omen and left immediately; unfortunately, though, I hung around for the impending train wreck.

My stack of chips fluctuated only slightly for most of the evening, never getting too high or too low. I was hoping to eventually catch a monster hand - or, at least, a semi-monster - and make a big score. After about three hours or so, I finally hit pay dirt: pocket rockets. I bet out immediately. Even though my bet was fairly moderate, everyone folded except for "Vinnocent" (his nickname in high school, as he would invariably plead not guilty to whatever atrocity he'd last committed). Not only did Vincent see my bet, but he raised. Well, whatever he was holding couldn't possibly beat a pair of aces, right? Seizing the opportunity to exact some long overdue revenge on him, I re-raised. Realizing that I must be holding some pretty decent cards, he called.

The flop came: A-3-2 rainbow. "Alright, finally!" I thought to myself as my mind wrapped around the pleasant concept of three aces. I decided to make a somewhat strong bet. Vincent thought about it for a minute before declaring, "Well, no guts, no glory!" Then he raised me again. I couldn't believe it. I mean, opportunity wasn't just knocking on my door, it was practically breaking it down! Of course, I didn't need to be asked twice to stick it to Vincent. I quickly re-raised and he finally called.

The turn card was another three, which gave me an aces-over-threes full house. I tried to conceal my excitement and pondered what to bet. With a practically surefire winning hand, I decided to try to entice a raise from Vincent by making a very small bet. "I raise the pot!" he responded, pushing in enough chips to match the pot (about $200). A pot raise? I didn't expect that! Now I started wondering if Vincent had caught quad threes. On second thought, though, I figured he was likely just bluffing and trying to scare me into folding. After all, once a bully, always a bully. Unfortunately, I was down to only about $100 by that time, so I was forced to borrow $100 from Matt and then called.

I looked over at Vincent, who smiled confidently. I had to admit that if he was bluffing, the guy had one hell of a poker face! Anyway, forgetting about Vincent for the moment, my eyes completely locked onto the dealer's hands as he burned one card and then slowly began to reveal the river card. A quick flash of white sent a jolt of adrenaline through my body. "Yes! An ace!" I thought, contemplating the majesty of hitting four aces on the biggest hand of my life. But then, almost as quickly, a bit more of the card appeared and, to my great disappointment, it was actually a two. Well, no matter, I still had the nuts.

After borrowing some additional chips from Matt, I made a medium-sized bet. Without even blinking, Vincent raised the pot again, which had ballooned to about $600. I glanced over at Matt, who shrugged his shoulders. He didn't have that much money to lend me, and I really didn't know what to do. After sweating it out for a couple of minutes, I swallowed my considerable pride and asked Vincent if he'd accept my I.O.U. "Hey, what are friends for?" he replied with a sardonic laugh.

With that, I threw my scribbled chit into the pot, turned over my cards, and declared, "Full boat, aces over!"

"Nice hand," said Vincent. "But not nice enough. Four deuces."

As my stomach sank toward the ground, I realized that the old adage was true - you can't go home again. Or, maybe you just shouldn't!

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