Even elite players such as David Williams, a classy young pro who walked off with $3.5 million in finishing second to Greg Raymer at the 2004 World Series of Poker main event.
At the 2005 L.A. Poker Classic, Williams drew A-4 offsuit against another top player, Victor Ramdan. With blinds at $100-$200 and a $25 ante, Williams made it $850 to go. Ramdan, with $22,000 in chips compared with Williams $50,000, raised it $5,500. Thats a gigantic raise, which prompts all kinds of thoughts.
"My first thought is to just give it up, move on to the next hand," Williams said. "But the key to making it far is picking up dead money. When there are chips to be picked up and you can take them, take them.
"I thought there might be a chance I could move him off his hand and pick up the extra $5,500 he put in this pot and increase my stack even further and cripple him.
"I have to think about my options, and its really to re-raise him all in, because he only has about $14,000 left. I thought I could handle it if it went wrong, and I thought about the chances he would fold. I thought about how he played hands with me earlier. He had aces with me once and laid them down. I thought if he had a hand that was worse than aces or kings, he would probably fold if I moved in on him.
"I thought most of the hands he would make that re-raise with, he would fold because a bet of that size said he didnt want action. I didnt think hed do it with a hand that he wanted action with like aces or kings.
"I decided Id move in on him because I had an ace in my hand, so the chances of him having aces are even less."
Just Williams luck, Ramdan had aces. Williams was more than a 9-1 underdog. He got no help from the board, only questions.
"I heard one of the guys at the table mention to Vic about what a bad play he thought it was," Williams said. "Vic said he thought it was actually a good play. He said, `I was convinced he had the other aces or kings when he moved in on me, and if I had ace-king or queens, I wouldve had to fold. There was no way I wouldve called with ace-king or queens and put my whole tournament on the line. But I had aces, so I was going to call.
"I dont know if it was a good play that worked out bad, or just a bad play."
Move a player off a hand: To raise or re-raise enough to force a player to lay down a hand.
© 2005, Chicago Tribune.
Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.