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Aces Full of It: The Two-Outer

February 3rd, 2016 by Justin Buchanan
Don't let this guy get to you! (Image:

Don’t let this guy get to you!

Ah, the not-so-humble two-outer. Like a small woodland creature trying desperately to evade a predator, it is one of the more favored defense mechanisms of many species of the previously discussed donkus genus. On a regular basis, many donks fail to employ it to positive effect, much like many small woodland creatures regularly wound up, caught and devoured by the predators they attempt to avoid. However, when it does succeed, it can have a profound effect on the would-be sharks who allow it to, and thus for this and other reasons it continues to enjoy wide use among fish/donks.

How to Cope with a Two-Outer Suckout

When one is on the losing end of a suckout of this magnitude and possibly several lesser ones, the first thing to be done is immediately run a check on your mental state.  Even without any other steps, consciously considering “How am I feeling right now?” can go a very long way towards sealing the cracks in the dam that is your no doubt tenuously stable temper. It moves your brewing hostile feelings away from something that merely occurs in your mind on autopilot toward becoming a force that you can channel toward useful purposes and actions.

You may find that you in fact do not have any brewing hostile feelings, or those that you do have are extremely weak.  In that event, take a moment internally to affirm the superiority of your control.  You might say in your head something like “Yeah, enjoy those chips while you can, buddy.  That beat you just gave me ain’t nothing, I’ll get ’em all back.”  This will improve morale and ensure your superior control remains unblemished for subsequent suckouts, even imminent ones.

Conversely, you may find that you do have hostile feelings directly toward your opponent or the cards, up to and including internal use of expletives.  This is where that channeling I mentioned comes in.  Instead of wishing for any number of horrible fates to befall the suck-outer/the dealer/the establishment you are playing in, try internalizing something like the following: “That guy is all smug now, but I’m the better player.  It’s time to act like it.  If he gets under my skin, I’m giving him exactly what he wants.  Well screw you, guy!  I’m not going to tilt my chips away just because you got lucky!”

What to do when you Receive a Two-Outer Suckout

Even for sharks, it is possible sometimes to run into a situation that is very different from what you envisioned, for you yourself to be put in a position where you require to hit a two-outer to survive. The most common situation is to be dominated pair over pair.  When such a hit succeeds, the most common reaction is in essence a recitation of the “that’s poker” school of attitudes toward fate.

However, if you’re like me and have a desire to take genuine pride in your poker skills, such a circumstance can be even more crushing than its inverse.  It’s something of a weakness of mine I suppose that I tend to play much more recklessly after such a win, as feelings erupt inside me that I should not in fact still be in the tournament, yet I am. Anger towards oneself is, in my experience, vastly more difficult to combat than anger towards one’s opponent or circumstances. In my personal case, I try to remind myself that what one gets in this world is hardly ever a function of what one deserves, and that I need to roll with what I’ve gotten. I do not always succeed.  Apologies for the limited advice as this is something I’m struggling with myself.

Words to live a tournament life by. (Image:

Words to live a tournament life by. (Image:

Closing Note

I got the idea from this post from a topic on CardsChat’s Facebook page that illustrated a circumstance where I would actually not mind at all sucking out on someone with a 2 outer. It read as follows:

“You’re playing in a live $5,000 buy-in tournament. You’re in the Big Blind and the Small Blind raises to 500.  Blinds are 50/100.  You both are 100bb deep. You’ve been pretty card dead, so haven’t been playing many hands but haven’t necessarily been playing tight. Your opponent has been playing loose, but has shown up with the goods at showdown more often than not.  You look down at KK and decide to raise to 1,900.  Your opponent then raises to 7,600  What do you do with your Kings?”

I responded thus:

“Shove it. This is one of a VERY short list of circumstances where I’m not remorseful for hitting a 2 outer. Even if he has AA, you do not play that damned fast and loose with your chips in a FIVE THOUSAND DOLLAR tournament, it’s a flamboyant disrespect to the money, and even if he actually has the AA, or worse pulls something stupid to crack me, a guy just can’t let that kind of behavior go without at least TRYING to punish.”

(Facebook comments don’t favor the use of italics.)  So I suppose you could say that the more I despise you, the less guilty I feel about getting lucky to beat you.

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