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Sucker Poker Hands
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Sucker Poker Hands

By Randall Anderson

February 17, 2005

A sucker poker hand is a hand that you think is good and you play strongly without realizing what someone else might have. These are hands that you often play to the end and they are hands that can get your into major trouble. These hands look really good, but I call them sucker hands, because they suck you in and leave you feeling like a sucker when they are over.

Low Straight Draw
This is the straight sometimes nicknamed the sucker straight, low end straight, or asses end straight. For example, if the flop is 4-5-6 and you have a 3 in your hand, you have an open ended straight draw, but it is a dangerous one. Drawing to the low end of the straight all the way to the river is dangerous. Even if you do complete the straight by getting a 2 or a 7 you can’t feel very comfortable because someone may be holding the 7 or the 8 to make you the low end. This is a recipe for disaster.

King Flush Draw
Let’s say you play KQ suited and get a flush draw on the flop. If someone leads out and bets you might be in trouble. If someone re-raises you if the flush hits it should be a big concern. The Ace beats you and is the one card that should really concern you. The King Flush Draw is a big time danger because you could end up going all-in knowing you might not have the absolute nuts.

Nut Flush against the Straight Flush
This does not happen that often but when it does it usually results in someone going broke. Let’s say you hold the Ace and draw to a flush, but the table might be showing something like 7, 9, 10, and Jack. If someone has an 8-Queen suited then they have the straight flush and would beat your Ace high flush. This is something that doesn’t happen that often and very few people are even aware of it. I put this in the sucker category only for the fact that if it happens, you are going to feel worse than a sucker. I don’t think you could get away from an Ace high flush very easy, even if a straight flush possibility was on the board.

It seems everyone loves to play the Jack-10. It seems like a great hand to catch a straight with and win a big pot. The problem we run into with this hand is that it gets us into a lot of trouble. The Jack is not that great a card even if we pair the board, because the 10 is a weak kicker. The best way to play the J-10 is to go for the straight. If you don’t see the possibility then you are probably best getting out of the hand if you miss the flop.

Trips with the Board
When a pair on the board matches a card in your hand it looks awfully good. The problem we run into is that it might not be as good as it looks. Let’s say we have an AQ and the flop is AA8. You have trip Aces with a Queen kicker. It looks like a great hand. What happens though if you get raised with this flop? The other person probably either has the other Ace or has pocket 8’s. If the other person has AK you are in severe trouble and could easily lose all your money. If they have 8’s you are in even worse shape really, because you won’t see it coming. He has the full house and you have a set of Aces. This is extremely bad news for you because it is nearly impossible to get away from a set of Aces.

I have found that one of the most difficult things to do while playing poker is to realize when I don’t have the best hand. I just can’t believe that my set of Aces could possibly get beat. I sometimes don’t see the long shot straight possibility or the fact that my opponent could be on a flush draw. I see a powerful set, know I have the best hand currently, and ignore what anyone else could be drawing to. One thing that does help me is to be aware of some of these sucker hands. If I have the low end of the straight or have a King flush draw, at least a little part of my mind worries about getting beat by a stronger hand. It doesn’t always guarantee I will fold the hand, but it at least plants a seed of concern. Sometimes when playing poker picking up on these little tidbits can be the difference between folding a big hand and going all-in with the 2nd best hand.

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