It may strike some as silly to write about a fictional hand in this space. After all, the Hand of the Week focuses on the real events that have shaped the game, recognizing the history those events shaped. Thing is, sometimes, fiction goes viral, becoming as familiar to the casual observer as the reality. Thus, today's hand.
The words "Aces full, Mike" have become synonymous with dread in poker. They were the last words spoken by Teddy KGB to Mike McDermott in the introduction sequence of Rounders. Those three little words left the McDermott character, played by Matt Damon, completely broke.
Here's how it unfolded. The hand is set up from the moment light hits the screen. McDermott, a low-level grinder, informs us that tonight is the night he's storming the biggest game available. He sits in a four-man game with Teddy KGB, John Malkovich's over-the-top Russian mobster. With A9c in the hole, Mike raises to $500. Teddy ponders his options for a moment, then purposefully announces 'It's a position raise.
I call'. It's a warning that goes unheeded. McDermott narrates his mindset as the flop comes As-9s-8c, giving him top two pair.
Teddy checks and Mike overbets the pot, wagering $2000. KGB immediately reaches his right arm to his left to grab an Oreo, puts the cookie by his right ear, opens it, then eats it before making the call. The nine of hearts is amongst the most brutal turn cards ever.
Mike Makes his full house and both players check. When the river comes 3s, Mike thinks to the audience that Teddy must have just hit his flush. Teddy pauses and then bets $15k. It's another massive overbet (a popular theme in poker films), this one designed to look like the river was a good one. Mike calls time out, thinks for a moment, announces "I don't think you have the spades" and puts in another $18,000 and change, all-in.
"You are right, I don't have the spades." Is the chilling reply. Slowly, Teddy pushes his chips in the middle stack by stack, careful to count up to a call before turning over his hand. "Aces full, Mike" When KGB turns over his cards, the wind is knocked out of you. Slowly you realize nines-full is no good, the pot lost.
Then you thank the poker gods that it wasn't you it happened to. When Mike's second nuts fail to hold up, we feel cheated. It's a feeling we as poker players all know; victory snagged from the jaws of defeat. It's a feeling we won't forget, that stays with you forever. That's why it's worth writing about; it's the hand we all knew instinctively, and the one that drew so many of us into the game.
Author Gary Wise is the Poker Expert and associated with World Series of Poker. He also like playing Online Blackjack at Gnuf online casino.