The night started off well. I was in seat three (BB) at the first table and was dealt Qx6x. I stayed in through the flop, hit two pair, and pushed the other players out on the turn. My second hand was A♦3♦ and I made the wheel on the flop, with several hundred in pre-flop bets in the pot. I checked, UTG2 opened for 400 and I raised to 1,000. He was the only caller. I bet another 1,500 on the turn and won. Ten minutes into the game, I was up 1,500 chips.
I won another 400 holding AxJx. The board double-paired itself by the turn as I was heads-up with another player and we were checking it down, then with an Ax on the river I made a bet of 200 and took the pot. Q♥4♥ made me another small pot when I caught the low pair on the flop and somehow made the best hand. “Pair of fours” became the catch-phrase of the night but it marked the turning point in my fortunes.
KxJx cost me 350 on one hand, then I dropped another 1,200 with J♥T♥ and a board that went all diamondy. The winner hit the nut flush on the flop. Still, I had 5,975 at the half-hour.
My real turn-around hand was calling an all-in of 2,800 (about half my stack) with J♦T♦. It was a classic race with two over cards (suited, in my case) against a pair, but when I went over the stats, I noticed something odd.
Not only was the suited jack-ten combination favored over the pair of fives but it was the best suited connector hand overall against the lower pair, with an 8% relative advantage over even A♦K♦. According to the CardPlayer Poker Odds Calculator, something similar holds for 7x7x and lower, which is where the JTs combination has a better-than-even chance of winning. It didn’t in my case, however.
I went all-in on my next hand, holding KxTx and enough chips to get everyone except the guy to my immediate right to fold. He called and flipped AxAx and my initial buy-in was gone.
It was a turbo tournament, and we were already up to 200/400 by my re-buy. Raises were beginning to get even more aggressive. I called 1,600 with A♠6♠ and paired the lower card on the dryish flop, but folded to an all-in from three positions to my right. He took the pot, didn’t show, then announced it had been a “pair of fours”.
I shoved the rest of my second stack shortly thereafter holding 3x3x. Got called by a player two seats to my left, he hit his ace on the flop and I was gone. Even a pair of fours wouldn’t have helped me.