Outplaying a Swinger in Sbobet88

Sbobet88

Last time I discussed how I think the pot should be split in a high-low declare game when the player who declares both ways (that is, the swing hand) loses. I said that the pot should be split between the remaining highest and lowest hand. I feel that this rewards players for cleverly being aware of situations in which a player who ought not to be declaring high-low does so anyway. I feel also that a player should not walk into the whole pot just because he happens to hold the hand that beats the high-low hand for one way only; there’s no skill in that: it’s just luck. The skill is being aware of situations that might not otherwise come up.

An example makes this clearer. I was playing in a small-limit home game of dealer’s choice in which the rule was as I have described: If you declared both ways, you must clearly win both ways, otherwise you lost all claim to any part of the pot. If the high-low hand lost or tied either high or low, that was it; that hand was then out of contention for any portion of the pot. If the high-low hand was so eliminated, the pot was then split between the remaining highest and lowest hand. On rare occasions, a situation arose permitting a player to take advantage of the rule, and win part or even all of a pot with a hand that was not the best for the direction it had declared.

On my deal, I usually called high-low draw, two draws, with a bet after the declare. Most of the other players called various forms of high-low stud, because of the multiple rounds of betting, and refrained from variations of draw, because draw usually has only two rounds of betting, and doesn’t often generate exciting situations of several good hands contending against each other. I added a second draw and a betting round after the draw to make things more interesting, and for the remainder of the evening, the game held its own against the others.

On one deal, the player to my left, a very straightforward fellow, opened. One or two callers, including the guy who was usually the biggest winner by dint of playing very conservatively at a table full of otherwise loose players. I had 4c-5c-joker-10d-Qs. I raised, mostly on speculation, intending to draw two to the straight flush that also had good low possibilities. All called. The opener took three cards, as did the second Sbobet88 player. The conservative player took one, and I took two, discarding 10d-Qs. The opener bet. The next player folded. Mr. Conservative called. My draw cards were 7s-10h. I “put” the first player on a high hand, and the conservative player as having missed whatever he was drawing to. I figured I still had a good chance at making a low hand, and a possibility of a high-low hand, so I raised. The opener called, which made me think he had made three of a kind or two pair. Again Mr. Conservative called. On the second draw, the opener took two. The tight player took one, and I took one. On this round, the betting limit doubled from the first two rounds. The opener bet out. He was very straightforward, as I said, and bet only when he improved, which meant to me that he had either made a full house or four of a kind. The conservative fellow called. I had caught Js. I figured if I raised the opener would reraise, the tight player would fold, I would declare low, the opener would declare high, and I would split the pot with him. As expected, the opener reraised, which confirmed to me that he had a complete hand, a high hand. The conservative player stubbornly called, which made me think he had something like a high flush, or a not-very-good low, and, since I had originally raised and taken two cards, thought I might be going high. At this point, he showed his cards to the player next to him, who had folded at the start of the hand. The conservative player shook his head with a bit of confusion, and suddenly I realized what he had. One more raise was permitted, and I took it. Time for the declare, which was done with chips concealed in a closed fist, all players opening their hands and revealing the direction they were going simultaneously: no chips in the hand signifying low, one chip for high, and two for both ways. While we were supposedly debating which way to go, the opener confidently put his hands behind his back, and immediately put the declare hand in front of him. I did the same. The conservative player again showed his cards to his neighbor, again shook his hand, and finally put chips in his closed hand and put the hand in front of him. We all opened our hands. The opener had one chip, indicating high, as I had expected. I, of course, had one for low. The conservative player had two, signifying a swing hand. The opener bet. The high-low hand called. He figured I would now just call, having apparently miscalculated his declaration. I was not about to back down from my analysis of the situation, however, and I raised. The opener raised, and again Mr. Conservative called the two bets. Again I put in the last raise. When we showed down our hands, the opener had three kings with two queens, no surprise to me. The high-low declarer had a seven-high straight, which was the best low hand of those remaining, and I still had my jack-low. But I got half the pot, while the better low got no part of it. This was because the full house beat the straight for high, and that eliminated the swing hand from contention.

So, this is what I was aware of during the third and fourth betting rounds. After the second draw, when the conservative player shook his head in consternation and showed his cards to the fellow next to him, I realized what he had. He had a medium-low straight or possibly a medium-low flush and didn’t know what to do with it. He planned on declaring high-low, but all the raising and reraising from the other two active hands made him wonder if the hand was good for either direction. Why did I keep raising? I was thrilled when he declared high-low, because I knew what was going to happen on the showdown. The high-low hand would have the best low, but would be beaten for high by the full house. By the rules, the swing hand would be eliminated from contention for the pot, and the pot would be split between the remaining high and low hands, as if the swing hand had never even been involved (beyond contributing his money to the pot).

According to analyses by letter writers to a well-known poker publication, and according to interpretations in many private clubs and home games, I should not have been entitled to half the pot. Shouldn’t my having anticipated what would happen be rewarded? Obviously, if the rules were different, I would have played differently. If the whole pot would be awarded only to the holder of the hand that clearly beat the swing hand for either direction, once I divined that the conservative player had a potential high-low hand, I would have got out. But I would have lost some money. Isn’t it better to reward this knowledge with a profit on the hand? Oftentimes in a one-winner game a player makes a seemingly impossible call and wins a lot of money with a hand less insightful players would never have called with. For example, calling a large bet in no-limit lowball with a pair when you are convinced the other player has paired on the draw and is bluffing. The situation I have described merely takes that one step further, and should also be rewarded.

As David Sklansky said about high-low seven stud declare in Doyle Brunson’s Super System: “The art of declaring is one of the most important, if not the most important part of the game. It’s so important that if I’m playing against mediocre players, not real wild loose players but just mediocre players, I could probably win playing every single hand and never folding.” I was merely profitably applying these principles.