High Hand

PokerTalkGraphicDid you know that many of the poker rooms in our mountain towns feature high hand payouts?

The High Hand payouts usually involve rewarding an individual player for having the high hand in the poker room during a certain timeframe – the average being an hour or two in most casinos in an effort to keep the interest of the players.

One type of a high hand payout would include paying off a certain hand if it hits – for example a Royal Flush or some other combination hand-picked by the casino. Another type would be a payout for the highest ranked hand during a certain time period. While there are other types of payouts, these are the most common throughout the Black Hawk / Central City poker rooms.

Interestingly enough, I do not believe I had ever hit a High Hand before becoming involved in one the other day. I found that while leading the High Hand Sweepstakes was interesting; fun; and possibly profitable – it’s also very stressful and distracting.

I was playing $2 – $5 / $100 Hold em at the Ameristar Casino poker room last Thursday. The room has a $500 High Hand payout every two hours Monday – Thursday and it had just reset at 6 p.m.

I looked down to a pair of black 3’s while in middle position. There was a raise to $25 with four callers in front of me so I called and a total of six players saw the flop of 3h – Jd – 3d hit the table.

Wow – a dream flop giving me quad 3’s!

Even better, the big blind quickly bet out $40 and one player had called when the bet came to me. After I just called, two more players called and four of us saw a Js hit the turn.

So, with a board of 3h – Jd – 3d – Js the big blind checked and the original better bet out $60. I thought about it for a moment and just called with the rest of the players folding.

The river brought a 9h and my opponent quickly bet out $60 again. I raised to $120 and he just called with a shake of his head. When I showed my 3’s for quads he flashed a J and tossed his cards into the muck.

Thus, the quad 3’s with a J was the high hand for the two-hour time period that had just begun and the dealer immediately yelled out at the top of his lungs “High Hand” with the floor person concurring.

While I won a good pile of chips on the hand, I was also in line for a $500 payday at 8 p.m. for the High Hand if no other player could beat my quad 3’s and it was now … 6:20 p.m.

I didn’t think about it until just after 7 p.m. when the floor person came over to do change, looked at me and said, “Less than an hour.”  At that point I looked down and saw I was up nearly $300 for the day.

And … it’s always a mistake for a poker player to count chips and think “it’s a good day” because being satisfied leads to playing complacently which does not lead to winning – it usually leads to calling and folding … which is exactly what I did.

Over the next 50 minutes I laid down hands I would usually raise with based on my position such as Ah – QH, As – Js, and a pair of Q’s.  In each case, I lost a just a little bit – not a lot, but did not win either. This is not a mistake I will make again!! Going forward if I am not playing “my game” I’ll get up and walk!

Also over those same 50 minutes I heard comments from almost everyone – floor people; players; and both dealers who were in the box – like “Will it hold?”, “It’s gonna make it” and almost every five minutes someone would mention there were only so many minutes to go.

Jeez – talk about distracting!

Finally at 7:56 p.m., I heard a shout “Royal Flush” and the entire table looked over to the floor man with the dealer asking “High Hand?” The floor person shook his head yes – the new high hand was a Royal Flush and it beat my quad 3’s with four minutes to go.

Bummer! I missed out on the $500 High Hand payout but did cash out a few minutes later up $190 for the day – still feeling a bit disappointed even though I won overall.

Oh well – I got to enjoy the anticipation of the High Hand; won a bit for the day; learned a valuable lesson; and am looking forward to being involved in my next High Hand!

Remember – play your game!

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