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No More Pocket Pairs, Please


So, I’ve started playing in a poker league several times per week. As someone who loves poker but who is too broke to enter “real” tournaments or play cash games (and who hasn’t as of yet met her billionaire prince/king/earl/duke who is going to rescue her from the mundanity of real life like the Hallmark Channel repeatedly says will happen) this is the next best thing. The league, the Nevada Poker League (woot, free advertising!) is awesome because we play for points which translate to chips for the every-few-months tournament. I have to say, I’m having fun playing with the same group of people and being harassed by the same dealers on a regular basis. Quite the group of characters with whom I feel very much at ease.

One thing I have noticed, however, is that I truly despise pocket pairs. For those of you who are not poker aficionados or who binge watch the World Series of Poker or World Poker Tour, I will explain. In Texas Hold’Em, each player gets two cards, face down, that are called the “hole cards.” The next three are dealt up (the flop), then one more (the turn), and the final one (the river). The players have to make their best hand of five cards using their hole cards and/or the board cards. As would be expected, a pair in the hole (aside from sounding completely x-rated) is called a pocket pair (yet additional suggestive nomenclature). In fact, if you think about it, most poker terminology is of the double entendre type. For example, the best hand one can get is called “the nuts” (as in the nut flush, nut straight, etc.). Every $100 in chips is proudly displayed in “a rack” (as in “nice rack, Natalie!” “Why, thank you!”). And so forth.

Back to my pocket pairs (or desired lack thereof), it never fails that when I get what is usually a decent starting hand with these guys, I inadvertently end up losing on the river (this is called a “suck out”). Pocket Aces (or pocket rockets) are not the be all-end all. For me, they are often “cracked” which is when another player has a better hand once all is said and done (two pair, three of a kind (set), straight, flush, full house, etc.) The same goes for pocket Kings (“cowboys”) or Queens (“ladies”). Recently, I had cowboys in the hole (doesn’t that sound like fun?) and another player at the table goes “all in” (betting all of his remaining chips), so I call. He had pocket 10’s. And wouldn’t you know, a 10 came on the river and washed me away. Then there are mid and low pairs. I despise pocket deuces (“ducks”) because I never win with them. The same goes for others. Either I raise too much too soon and everyone folds, or I lose on the turn or river). I just really don’t like pocket pairs. At all.

There are other interesting nicknames for certain hole cards. “Dolly Parton” is 5,9 (“naked” if off suit, “clothed” if suited); “Jackson-5” is Jack, 5; “Flat Tire” is Jack, 4 (as in, “What’s a jack for?”); “Big Slick” for Ace, King; “Little Slick” for Ace, Queen; “Jeffrey Dahmer” for Jack, 8; and so forth. Here is an exhaustive list of all of the combination nicknames.

Well, folks, that’s about it for this post. Time to get ready for the league.


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