In the world of Texas Holdem, there are memorable hands, and then there are memorable hands. But nothing beats the hand that some lucky - and unlucky - players in a private club in Columbus, Ohio played at 11PM on New Year's Eve, 2005.
The stakes were $15/$30. There was a live straddle on the table, so the first raise would make it $45 to go, before the flop. The pot was capped preflop with an astonishing nine players in the hand. The flop came down . The betting was capped again. Still nine-way action. The turn brought the Ace of hearts. The betting was capped again.
At this point, the reader must be wondering, what could these people be holding? Were they just idiots? The answer is as follows: Four players held J-10 suited, and had flopped the nut straight. One player held pocket Kings, another pocket Queens, a third, unbelievably, pocket Nines. The eighth player held for top two pair on the flop. And finally, the ninth man held , for a flush draw with fantastic pot odds.
I have it on excellent authority that this really, really, really happened, exactly as I've outlined here. My friend happened to be the guy that was holding pocket Nines.
This hand is a perfect illustration of the effect that community cards have on the outcome of various hands. The player holding pocket Kings was clearly dominant before the flop, but the flop made his situation much trickier. Given that two of his opponents also flopped sets, all of his outs for the full house, on the flop, would give someone else quads. Coupled with the fact that four players had flopped a made hand, the Kings were drawing almost dead. The Ace on the turn afforded, as it turned out, only two more outs, as one of the three remaining Aces was already in a player's hand. The player with the set of Queens was an even bigger underdog. He had one out, the last Queen.
At some point after calling the final raise on the turn, my friend realized he was drawing dead to quads . He held the 9h9s. The fourth nine - the nine of clubs - would, give the straight flush to the player with Jc10c. And that is the card that fell on the river.
How did the players, including my friend, come to know exactly what their opponents had been holding? The post-hand drama unfolded gradually, with discussion of the hand continuing long after the player with had finished stacking his chips. As that discussion went on, each player came forward with the goods. These were people who often played against each other, and in this case, based on the action, none of them really had anything to hide. The discussion left everyone shaking their heads, marveling well into the New Year that such a hand could come along, where a whopping nine players hit a monster flop. This may not be the best hand of all time, as I have called it, but it has to be close. I certainly can't imagine a better one.