I've played almost exclusively online (and almost exclusively here at Pokerstars) since I began playing poker "seriously" in late 2010.  In that time, I've only played live a couple of times, and yesterday was one of those times.  Fellow Pokerstars player MissGilly and I  travelled to Lethbridge, AB to play in a weekly tournament at Casino ABS Lethbridge.

Live poker is clearly a different experience than playing online.  Both forms have their advantages and disadvantages, and there are clear differences between the two.  For one, the personal aspect of the game adds a component to it, and I've found it to be a fairly friendly experience for the most part.  Of course online poker can be friendly as well, but text chat is a wholly different experience than live table chat.

One of the things that nearly EVERY player on Pokerstars has experienced is the  "griping" about the board that comes up when someone goes all in with a "big hand" and a "smaller hand" wins, or they find themselves up against a "bigger hand" deeper in the play.  Calls of "Jokerstars" are common when "cooler" hands show up and knock someone out.  I'm here to tell you those hands ABSOLUTELY happen in live poker as well.

As I said above, I've played almost exclusively online.  I don't have an accurate total count, but based on recent stats, I've played at LEAST 250000 hands online, vs 2 live tournaments.  And yet, in that tiny sample size of live hands, I've already been dealt one of the most unlikely "coolers" possible.

It's about 45 minutes into play and I've got a very nice lady sitting to my right who has been fairly quiet so far, both on the table, and in table chat.  She'd won a couple of hands to that point without showdown, with medium to small pots, but hadn't been better terribly aggressively overall.  Play overall at the table had been fairly passive, especially pre-flop, so when I look down at Q9 clubs, I'm thinking it's good for a limp.

We go to flop with 4 limpers, including the nice lady to my right and the blinds, with me in position in the hand.  Flop comes 2 clubs and I'm trying hard not to squeal.  Blinds check, and "nice lady" bets 1/2 pot.  I call with the draw, and the blinds fold leaving us heads-up to the turn, which comes A club, giving me the 2nd nut flush (there are no straight flush cards on the board, and no pairs).  "Nice Lady" bets same as flop, which is now about 1/4 pot ... I'm thinking I should re-raise, but after about a minute of thinking, finally decide to call.

River comes a blank, leaving me holding the 2nd nut flush on a 3-card flush board with no other conceivable draws.  I'm trying HARD not to dance and squeal at the table, and I'm pretty sure I've succeeded when she bets out 1/3 pot.  I spend about 2 minutes staring at the board, trying to work out if there's a draw I missed, but I can't see anything ... the ONLY hand that's beating me at this point is a 2 card club flush hand, K high.

I KNOW I should re-raise this bet.  I stack my chips for an all-in re-raise (that was my only reasonable raise), but hesitate.  Finally, I say to the table "I KNOW I should be re-raising this pot, but ..." and call, flipping my cards.  Sure enough, "Nice Lady" flips over KJ clubs.

I STILL can't believe I didn't go broke on that hand (I did go broke about 30 min later on 44 lol ... but that's another story) ... that I didn't re-raise all-in there still surprises me lol.  But as I was driving home from the tournament I realised it was a perfect example of a hand that might WELL get the "Jokerstars" treatment in chat during an online tournament here.  The truth is, of course, as unlikely as those hands are, they are part of poker, and they absolutely happen.  Flush over flush on a 3-card board is one of the least likely "coolers" you will see, nevermind nut over 2nd nut.  Between us, we actually had the Royal Flush (Tc was one of the clubs on board, along with the A ... the other was very low).  I have no idea what the percent odds of that hand being dealt are, but it's a damned unlikely hand.

Poker is a game where, eventually, you are likely to see every possible hand, no matter how unlikely the hand is.  When we play online, we tend to play SO many hands, that we will see even “highly unlikely" hands more than once.  In a very small amount of live play (I'm not sure of my total live hand count, but certainly less than 500 live hands at this stage, compared to more than 250000 online), I've already seen one of the most unlikely hands you can expect to see ... nut flush over 2nd flush on a 3-card flush board.  So I really shouldn't be surprised when I get whacked by hands like that online, given that I play 500 times as many hands, or more, online than live.

I've uttered my last "JokerStars."  I always knew it was a bogus complaint ... that the cards had nothing to do with being online, or the site (other than through volume of hands).  But now I've experienced it for real.  So next time your 2nd-nut flush gets capped by a nut flush on a 3-card flush board (that includes the A for the record), don't complain about the site or the deal.  Most of the time, if you re-raise with the 2nd nut flush on the river in that spot, you can expect to win ... when you call there, MOST of the time you are gonna feel like you didn't get full value for the hand.  But every once in awhile, the other player is gonna have the nutz.  That's not "bad software" or "rigged deals."  It's not "JokerStars" ... it's just poker, folks, and it happens live just like it happens online.

See ya on the Felt ...