Featured Poker Blog Post by Tommy Angelo

The Second Worst Play Ever

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In 2003, I intentionally folded pocket aces before the flop in a live, $20/40 limit hold’em game. It was, according to my meticulous calculations, the worst play ever. But that wasn’t the only reason I did it. I wrote an article at the time in which all is revealed:

http://tommyangelo.com/articles/the_worst_play_ever.htm

Today I am here to claim credit for also having made the second worst play ever. But this time, I had help – or more accurately, I helped. Most of the credit must go to my partner in perversion, Eric.

THE DATE: August 20, 2009

THE PLACE: The Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, room 22017

THE PLAYERS: Me, Eric, and an unwitting cohort who shall remain forever oblivious of the gift bestowed upon him by our lunacy.

Eric is a young professional poker player who hired me as his coach. During the first day of a three-day coaching program, Eric told me that my article “The Worst Play Ever” had inspired him to fold pocket aces before the flop too. We briefly discussed the long-range effects that making this outrageous play had on us. Turns out, there aren’t any. But we did note that it gave us a quirky little bond, like two people who bump into each other and spill each other’s coffee.

At the end of the third day, after the official coaching was officially over, we decided to play some low stakes online poker and split our action, just for fun. Minutes later we were playing two tables of 6-max $1/2 no-limit hold’em, with Eric driving. Because my iPhone was still recording the coaching session, these events were etched in silicon.

Eric and I were having a grand time, casting aspersions and making proclamations exactly as I had coached him not to. I did some bold mock-yelling at my faceless opponents after I convinced Eric to call a river bet with ace-high. “You’re all a bunch of ding donks and I hate you all!” Eric did some mock-mocking of me after I talked him into bluff-check-raising the river against a player who happened to have the nuts. “It’s a good thing you charge a lot for your coaching,” he said, “because you suck at playing.”

A couple minutes went by with no interesting betting decisions. Eric was playing on autopilot as we discussed his method for quickly sizing up the skill level of an opponent, when suddenly, the talking stopped, and we both gazed lustfully at our latest hole cards: pocket aces, on the button.

“Now there’s a hand with some creative potential,” I said.

The first two players folded and the cutoff opened for $6. He had $200, as did we.

Eric said, “What are we doing?”

I said, “We’re … calling!”

Eric said, “Okay,” and he called.

Both blinds folded. The pot was now headsup.

Eric said, “Hey, we’re up against the bozo player.”

“Yeah,” I said.

I distinctly remember what I was thinking at the time. I was thinking about the financial and emotional damage we were about to inflict on this poor unsuspecting sap who had chosen to visually represent his being with the image of a mostly squashed cockroach.

Eric, anticipating a continuation bet by the cutoff, asked, “Are we instant calling? Instant raising?" Then he paused, and added, “Or folding?”

I erupted with a big loud laughing AHHHHHH-ha-ha-ha-ha and Eric joined in just as loud, right away. I said, “I like your thinking!”

The flop came out 10-6-2 rainbow. The cutoff bet $12 into the $15 pot.

Eric said, “This’ll be the first time anyone made a play like this, on purpose anyway.”

I said, “Wow, you’re really serious about this? That would be wild.” The tempo and pitch of my voice started going up as I processed what was really going on here: “Go ahead! Do it! Fold it!”

Eric giggled, and…

Click. Aces gone.

SMACK! A stinging high five.

We relished the monumentalness of the moment. This went way beyond coffee spilling. This was more like walking on the moon together and puking up our Tang. I rambled on about the incredible improbability of this event. First, I had to be wacko enough to fold those aces six years ago, and then write about it, and Eric had to read about it, and hire me to coach him, and then we had to share our action, and get pocket aces, and then, Eric had to somehow summon enough awareness to think of folding the aces at that perfectly absurd postflop moment.

That I would enthusiastically say yes to Eric’s suggestion was a given. This is the kind of thing that if you pass it up, you regret it forever. Even if you forget it ever happened, the regret lives on inside you, chewing away at your mind’s lining, dampening your dynamics in that way that makes people who haven’t seen you in a while say things like, “You’ve changed.” But they aren’t smiling. Okay, maybe it’s not like that. But it’s something.

Eric and I have talked and emailed plenty since that day, and the pocket aces hand has never come up. It’s like it never happened. Except it did. It’s like we are no different than before. Except we are. It’s like nothing ever matters, except everything always does.

Tommy Angelo


Comments for The Second Worst Play Ever

Dzikijohnny

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142 posts
Joined 12/2009

If your trying to sell crazy here....sorry all full up.

Posted almost 8 years ago

ron0914

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Section 9
902 posts
Joined 06/2009

Double dare you to fold a straight flush, and never breathe a word of it!

Do it online, save the hand history, mail it to your lawyer and make it a condition of your will that it be published in the event of your death!

Posted almost 8 years ago

Dzikijohnny

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142 posts
Joined 12/2009

In Omaha 8 once actually beat a guys straight flush with a Royal

Posted almost 8 years ago

Enzyme

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4 posts
Joined 01/2008

Dear Tommy. You have outdone yourself this time. This play is actually worse then folding preflop. Not to say there is no room for improvement though. One can also fold aces on later streets. Definitely looking forward to more glorious folding articles.

Posted almost 8 years ago

Thomics

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264 posts
Joined 11/2009

I love you Tommy Angelo! You are my favorite person Wink
Heart

Posted almost 8 years ago

johnnymomo1

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311 posts
Joined 12/2008

Dear Tommy. You have outdone yourself this time. This play is actually worse then folding preflop. Not to say there is no room for improvement though. One can also fold aces on later streets. Definitely looking forward to more glorious folding articles.




Its not that bad as the guy could have hit a set?? or two pair

Posted almost 8 years ago

tmmoss

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48 posts
Joined 05/2009

ca all day

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230 posts
Joined 09/2009

all we are is dust in the wind. everything is dust in the wind.

Posted almost 8 years ago

theBEE

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1 posts
Joined 01/2010

are you sure that you've ever been pro?

Posted almost 8 years ago

QuadDeuces

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1838 posts
Joined 09/2008

Any fool can fold AA. The loss is finite and small. The brag imaginary.

But it takes a master to open shove 7Club2Heart especially deep-stacked!

Now there's a challenge Tommy! Are you up for it?

Posted almost 8 years ago

Fancy Pants

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11 posts
Joined 07/2008

I do this accidentally all the time, so prolly not going to be doing it intentionally any time soon, but I like the cut of your jib!

Posted almost 8 years ago

KaizeN

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6 posts
Joined 11/2008

Any fool can fold AA. The loss is finite and small. The brag imaginary.

But it takes a master to open shove 7Club2Heart especially deep-stacked!

Now there's a challenge Tommy! Are you up for it?



Any fool can open shove 7Club2Heart. You will win the blinds, the brag is imaginary.

But it takes a master to call a 100BB+ river bet with 7Club2Heart-high and be good!

Posted almost 8 years ago

Tommy Angelo

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248 posts
Joined 10/2007

Any fool can fold AA. The loss is finite and small. The brag imaginary.

But it takes a master to open shove 7Club2Heart especially deep-stacked!





Any fool can open shove 7Club2Heart. You will win the blinds, the brag is imaginary.

But it takes a master to call a 100BB+ river bet with 7Club2Heart-high and be good!



Any fool can call a 100BB+ river bet with 7-high and be good. The win is finite and small. The brag imaginary.

But it takes a master to call with 7-high, and then have his opponent turn over 6-high, and then -- as if he had called with 5-high hoping to catch his opponent with a 4-high or 3-high -- muck.

Posted almost 8 years ago

QuadDeuces

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1838 posts
Joined 09/2008

Any fool can call a 100BB+ river bet with 7-high and be good. The win is finite and small. The brag imaginary.

But it takes a master to call with 7-high, and then have his opponent turn over 6-high, and then -- as if he had called with 5-high hoping to catch his opponent with a 4-high or 3-high -- muck.



+1 but only if the pot is 200+BB when the Master mucks his winning hand.

BTW, didn't I see Ivey muck the winning hand at the WSOP when his 88 rivered a flush. What a master who can autopilot muck the winning hand!

Posted almost 8 years ago

QuadDeuces

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1838 posts
Joined 09/2008

Any fool can open shove 7Club2Heart. You will win the blinds, the brag is imaginary.

But it takes a master to call a 100BB+ river bet with 7Club2Heart-high and be good!



Obviously I missed out some key elements of the hand. UTG Opens, UTG+1 3B, UTG +2 4Bets and our Master on the BTN deepstacked, facing 3 deepstacked opponents who all have him covered, shoves 7Club2Heart. Stacks are such that if any opponent calls it will be the largest Pot ever played. Our Master is serene hearing only the faint echo of Tommy's piano as every dollar of our Master's net worth waits for his opponents' irrelevant responses.

Posted almost 8 years ago

KaizeN

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6 posts
Joined 11/2008

Any fool can call a 100BB+ river bet with 7-high and be good. The win is finite and small. The brag imaginary.

But it takes a master to call with 7-high, and then have his opponent turn over 6-high, and then -- as if he had called with 5-high hoping to catch his opponent with a 4-high or 3-high -- muck.



Any fool can muck a winning hand. The loss is finite and small. The brag imaginary. Serenity the only attribute he has proven.

But it takes a master to never muck a winning hand and never call with a losing hand, to never let go a favourite hand and never call as an underdog - except pot-odds denying a fold.
It takes a master to see opponents thoughts, to know what they are anticipating to make the best possible decisions - knowing what they cause.

The second worst play might have been a master-play if Eric or you would have deduced from available informations that villain has to have a set of sixes.

Folding AA preflop can be a master-play if deduced from available informations that they try to cheat on you.

Posted almost 8 years ago

QuadDeuces

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1838 posts
Joined 09/2008

But it takes a master to never muck a winning hand and never call with a losing hand, to never let go a favourite hand and never call as an underdog - except pot-odds denying a fold.
It takes a master to see opponents thoughts, to know what they are anticipating to make the best possible decisions - knowing what they cause.



To be serious for a moment... and maybe I'm wrong here but I think the point of Tommy's AA fold is to get to a mental place where the money is literally meaningless so our poker decisions can be unaffected by monetary considerations and hence more correct. The point is not to be clairvoyant but to have unruffled crystal clarity in our thinking no matter what the circumstances.

Tommy???

Posted almost 8 years ago

NoWayFolding

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3813 posts
Joined 03/2008

My friend once folded a royal flush. No jokes!

He has QTdd on KdAcKsJdAd He though he just had a flush and the other guy had a full house.

After looking in PT2 (this was like 2 years ago) he noticed he had a royal flush!

Posted almost 8 years ago

Tommy Angelo

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248 posts
Joined 10/2007

My friend once folded a royal flush. No jokes!

He has QTdd on KdAcKsJdAd He though he just had a flush and the other guy had a full house.

After looking in PT2 (this was like 2 years ago) he noticed he had a royal flush!



I did the same thing one time, except that I almost folded the hand at three different spots, including after I called on the river ... AND ... it was a jackpot hand!

It's the second hand in this old article...

http://tommyangelo.com/articles/jackpots_ive_won.htm

Posted almost 8 years ago

Tommy Angelo

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248 posts
Joined 10/2007

To be serious for a moment... and maybe I'm wrong here but I think the point of Tommy's AA fold is to get to a mental place where the money is literally meaningless so our poker decisions can be unaffected by monetary considerations and hence more correct. The point is not to be clairvoyant but to have unruffled crystal clarity in our thinking no matter what the circumstances.

Tommy???



Your assumptions about what the point of folds like this might be are reasonable. I could see how someone might do it with thoughts like those in your post in mind. For me though, it's more like the old "Why does a man climb a mountain? Because it's there."

It's almost like the point is pointlessness itself.

Posted almost 8 years ago

QuadDeuces

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1838 posts
Joined 09/2008

Last night I was dealt AA 4 times in only 250 hands. I never thought about folding. LOL. Once AA was cracked by a flopped straight on an AQT Flop, once AA was all-in vs KK for + 1 buy-in, once AA won a small pot and then this monster:

Full Tilt Poker $50.00 Pot Limit Hold'em - 8 players - View hand 518147
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

CO: $25.95
BTN: $50.00
SB: $55.30
BB: $44.45
UTG: $51.75
UTG+1: $54.60
MP1: $149.30
Hero (MP2): $104.90

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is MP2 with A Club A Diamond
1 fold, UTG+1 calls $0.50, MP1 calls $0.50, Hero raises to $2.75, 2 folds, SB calls $2.50, 2 folds, MP1 calls $2.25

Flop: ($9.25) 8 Spade A Spade 7 Heart (3 players)
SB bets $0.50, MP1 raises to $1, Hero raises to $12.75, SB folds, MP1 raises to $30.35, Hero raises to $100.80, MP1 raises to $146.55, Hero calls $1.35 all in

Turn: ($214.05) 5 Heart (2 players - 1 is all in)

River: ($214.05) A Heart (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $214.05
MP1 shows 8 Club 8 Heart
Hero shows A Club A Diamond
Hero wins $211.05
(Rake: $3:00)

Posted almost 8 years ago

BenG2813

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71 posts
Joined 02/2008

Pretty soon everyone will be folding ACES. It will sweep the nation, the world, the poker community. Aces will slowly disappear from people ranges. THey will fade and be forgotten and in time they will cease to exist. I don't think you realize what you are doing here tommy.

Posted almost 8 years ago

Joeyg50

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435 posts
Joined 05/2009

Any fool can call a 100BB+ river bet with 7-high and be good. The win is finite and small. The brag imaginary.

But it takes a master to call with 7-high, and then have his opponent turn over 6-high, and then -- as if he had called with 5-high hoping to catch his opponent with a 4-high or 3-high -- muck.


LMAO Tommy not even u could pull that off.Yes that is definatly poker mastery after owning someone w/ 72o and mucking I don't even think the dali lama would muck that hand.

Posted almost 8 years ago

Joeyg50

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435 posts
Joined 05/2009

Double dare you to fold a straight flush, and never breathe a word of it!

Do it online, save the hand history, mail it to your lawyer and make it a condition of your will that it be published in the event of your death!


Why publish it after your death just never tell anyone. If u publish it after your death u still know that once u die u will get props for folding a str8 flush. So ego is still involved.

Posted almost 8 years ago

Sneakers

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2022 posts
Joined 09/2009

I wish people would start folding their AA when I have KK. It seems to be the only handreading I can do 100% -- while I have KK. grrrrrr :-|

Posted almost 8 years ago

ceegee

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622 posts
Joined 05/2008

you have plunged off the deep end good sir. <3.

Posted almost 8 years ago

ItsRevi

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111 posts
Joined 10/2010

Your writing is so poetic; I really enjoy reading your articles.
I'm going to read through every blog/article on this site, then I'm going to go ahead and buy your Elements of Poker, but not because of the longing ability to become tiltless, or improvement of my game, but because I love the way you write, and I know that whether you write about poker or pencils, I'm going to enjoy it either way. Thank you.

Posted about 7 years ago

trapeze

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82 posts
Joined 03/2009

So the moral of the story is that folding AA is the way to make friends? Pretty good as a lesson on social dynamics, but pretty poor as an actual poker lesson.

Posted almost 7 years ago

ItsRevi

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111 posts
Joined 10/2010

So the moral of the story is that folding AA is the way to make friends? Pretty good as a lesson on social dynamics, but pretty poor as an actual poker lesson.


I hope that you don't genuinely believe this was the moral of Tommy's article.

Posted almost 7 years ago

YoureNotInDanger

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4 posts
Joined 10/2012

This blog is so disturbing that it actually makes perfect sense. It almost makes me want to fold ASpadeKSpade if ever I flopped the perfect 1/19,600. You think the table would believe me? I believe it is a lesson to ones self about complete control in any given circumstance. I agree with QuadDeuces but if Tommy says it's "just because he can", the least we can do is make some sense of this completely irrational decision if we intend to do the same.

Tommy Angelo and Mike Caro must be related.

Posted about 5 years ago


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