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Presto is Gold?

We've all heard of the mystical powers of pocket fives, or Presto, from many a person. Pocket fives make me think of Fuel55 and his constant claims that Presto is Gold! I'm sad to say that this is generally not the case with me. Nor is it for most of my opponents either. Need proof? Keep reading...

Last weekend's poker started out poorly. On Friday night, I had my single worst day of poker. After some weak-tight poker and some bad all-in luck, I dropped two and a half full buy-ins at PokerStars' $1/$2 NLHE tables. I ended my session early after an opponent hit a two-outer on the river to take down a $270 pot. I didn't think I was playing poorly. But I wasn't about to take the chance of going on tilt. Uncontrollable spewing of chips would soon see me move back to down the $0.50/$1 NLHE games which is something I'd like to avoid as much as possible.

On Saturday, I had a couple great sesssions at Stars and made back most of what I'd lost on Friday night. It was over the course of this session that Presto began popping up with disturbing frequency. I lost a few pots with Presto, won a few pots, and then this next hand occurred:


PokerStars, $1/$2 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

Villain (BTN): $445.20
SB: $283.30
BB: $575.80
UTG: $522.25
Hero (MP): $205.15
CO: $200

Pre-Flop: 5 5 dealt to Hero (MP)

UTG folds, Hero raises to $7, CO folds, Villain calls $7, SB folds, BB calls $5

(Villain was a little loose overall but not a terrible player. He wasn't very aggressive post-flop so I wasn't too upset to have him float me. I was hoping that a little c-bet on my part after the flop might buy me a small pot or a cheap look at the turn and river cards. The BB in this hand was a donkey and I was happy to have him along for the ride.)

Flop: ($22) 6 9 A (3 Players)
BB checks, Hero bets $15, Villain calls $15, BB folds

(Good flop for me! I made a continuation bet and got smooth called by the Villain. At this point, I was done with the hand unless I hit my two-outer. )

Turn: ($52) 4 (2 Players)
Hero checks, Villain checks

(I was hoping that the Villain would check behind on the river and he didn't disappoint. I put the Villain on a weak ace and figured that I'd have to fold on the river to a bet unless Presto could pull through for me.)

River: ($52) 5 (2 Players)
Hero bets $35, Villain raises to $85, Hero raises to $183.15 and is All-In, Villain calls $98.15

(Presto! I hit my set and decided to make a small bet to entice a raise from the Villain. If he was holding Ax, he might put me on a bluff and try to push me off my hand or get me to pay him off with an unimproved pocket pair (JJ, TT, etc.).

After the Villain's raise, I delayed for a few seconds then jammed the pot. Given how the hand played out, I figured that my assessment of my opponent holding ace-rag was probably good.

The only hand that I was worried about seeing was a 66 for an over-set. I believed that the Villain would have raised AA or 99 pre-flop given his typical level of aggression. All in all, I was very happy with my rivered set and the riches it would bring me.)


Results: $418.30 Pot ($3 Rake)
Villain showed 9 9 (three of a kind, Nines) and WON $415.30 (+$210.15 NET)
Hero showed 5 5 (three of a kind, Fives) and LOST (-$205.15 NET)

(Damn. Presto wasn't gold for me that time. My two-outer on the river cost me an extra $183...)


Losing a $418 pot ($205 of it mine) represented my worst single-hand loss. It stung. But I rebought for the full $200 again and kept playing. The game was really good and many of the players were just itching to pay me off. I was sure of it...


PokerStars, $1/$2 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

CO: $726.95
BTN: $267.10
SB: $198
Villain (BB): $771.80
Hero (UTG): $209.45
MP: $74

MP posts $2

Pre-Flop: 8 8 dealt to Hero (UTG)
Hero raises to $8, 4 folds, Villain calls $6

(Villain was a loose aggressive player who'd built his stack by others' unwillingness to call his large bets. He's gotten lucky enough times to build up a sizable pile of chips. Like most weak LAGs, it's only a matter of time before he'd lose all that he'd won. I wanted to be the guy to take those chips and I was in a good position to do so: in position with a good pocket pair.)

Flop: ($19) 4 8 5 (2 Players)
Villain bets $14, Hero raises to $28, Villain calls $14

(When I hit my set on the flop, I wasn't about to slow-play. The Villain came out betting and I hoped that a min-raise might induce further betting from the Villain; instead, the Villain flat-called. I hoped that the Villain's call meant that he had a hand he liked and might be willing to go broke with it.)

Turn: ($75) 9 (2 Players)
Villain checks, Hero bets $40, Villain raises to $100, Hero raises to $173.45 and is All-In, Villain calls $73.45

(Villain's check on the turn smelled like a trap. He was far too aggressive to give up that easily. I put him on 44, 55, or an over-pair. I was hoping the Villain would check-raise me if I made a weak bet and I was right. The Villain instantly re-raised me and I jammed the pot. At $421, this was the biggest pot that I'd ever played in my life.)

River: ($421.90) A (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

(If the Villain had AA or 99, I was dead. But I was pretty sure that the pot would be shipped my way.)

Results: $421.90 Pot ($3 Rake)
Villain showed 5 5 (three of a kind, Fives) and LOST (-$209.45 NET)
Hero showed 8 8 (three of a kind, Eights) and WON $418.90 (+$209.45 NET)

(The Villain must have thought that he could harness the powers of Presto. Silly Villain - you're not Fuel55!)

Presto may not be gold for all. Yet it's hard to deny it's mystical powers at the poker table. It can lift you up and knock you back down again in a heartbeat. Perhaps it's best to view Presto as a caged animal. Care for it, treat it nicely, and pray that it doesn't turn on you when you set it free against your opponents at the table.

I, for one, came out ahead with Presto at my side. In time, I hope to acquire the skill and talent necessary to crush my opponents with this seemingly inconsequential pocket pair. Until that day comes, I've got some reading to do.

1 comment:

wrote by me said...

It's hard to deny that presto can be the shit, sadly in both ways. It's quite some time since it turned me on rather than turned on me.