EPT Barcelona: Fossilman extinct
Ask any poker player what is their least favourite hold 'em hand, and it's likely that a fair number will answer J-J. Unless there's been some crazy action before it reaches you, allowing a fairly simple pre-flop fold, pocket hooks usually present one of those rock/hard place decisions.
If you raise and get action, the chances are you're a coin-flip at best - any Q-K-A on the flop and you're worried; any three undercards might have made someone else a set. If you raise and get no callers, you've managed to nick the minimum with, supposedly, one of the best two-card holdings in the game.
Or, this could happen. Which is worse. (And it happened to the best, I'm sure you'll notice. So don't feel so rough the next time it happens to you.)
Greg Raymer saw the knaves pre-flop and made a fairly standard raise to 800. A short stack to his left took less time than we might expect to shove his entire 4,425 stack into the middle. Greg didn't have a great deal more than that, and figured it's a mandatory call. At this stage, and with that stack, a coin flip is fine.
It's even better when your opponent tables K-J for the bluff. But it can go horribly south when the five community cards come Q-4-4-5-6. No problem? Not if four of those are clubs, and that rogue king across the table is black and club-shaped.
Greg was felted.
But, ever the battler, the former world champ was happy to shove his remaining 800-odd into the middle on the very next hand. The big blind is almost priced in to the call, and eventually does, tabling Q-J. And, guess what, Raymer has J-J again.
"Surely I can't lose against two hands that I'm dominating," he says.
This, I'm afraid, was hubris.
The first four cards off the deck are fine: A-K-K-5, rainbow.
"At least I won't lose to the flush this time," Raymer says.
True. But out popped the queen on the river and the Fossilman is OUT.