When it comes to championship poker games, you hear commentators observe how the unlikeliest of hands have gone on to find a player success and a tournament title. Now, even on online poker websites and when you play at home, some of the famous stories behind certain card combinations have been given nicknames. Who could forget the complacency of some players who get A-Q in their hand, a combination that seems so sweet until its trumped? Because of this, many experts casually refer to it as the lollipop hand in popular culture. If weve learned anything from this, its to portray an image of confidence without losing your focus and breaking your stride.
Another obscure match-up came when in 1976, and again in 1977, one of the champions of the time went on to win the competition with the same hand of 10-2. Sometimes, the cards have a simple way of messing with your head, as shown so perfectly in this example.
The next classic poker match-up was something of a shock for spectators as another poker tournament began to get underway in America during WSOP in 1999. Noel Furlong was able to double the amount of chips he had to $800,000 (£490,918), and it was all because of the clever match-up he made by using his initiative.
The person who he was playing against was Huck Seed, a champion who was expected to win yet again due to the fact that he had over $1.5 million (£920,471) in chips. They both had weak hands, and the patterns of calling and raising each other into hundreds of thousands of dollars must have seemed irrational to a novice of the game. Furlong had Ah to 3h while Seed had Jd to 8d, and friends of Noel, the Irishman who went on to become the champion in this wonderful year, were pleasantly surprised when he saw off Seed with this unlikely hand. It just shows how you can raise the stakes and play the table even if your cards arent on your side.
The next example of an iconic match-up comes from Dan Harrington, a veteran in the poker world who is far from erratic when it comes to playing his cards. At the time, he was playing David Williams who was slowly beginning to become a force in the world of poker. Harrington needed a four and a seven if he was going to utilise his 8-6 properly, and even though Action Man Dan tried to scare Williams away with a bold move all in, Williams called his bluff and gained a few more cards from the river to secure a straight flush. If anything, this classic match-up is an example of how we can all forget how to play opponents who arent as advanced as we are, even though there is nothing wrong with dumbing down the game.
Last but not least, who could forget Phil Helmuth, who managed to use his intimidating approach constructively against Johnny Chan using two black nines? Even though Helmuths hand seemed weak, he decided to move all in once his rival had devoted nearly half of his chips to the current round. It appears that Chan was relying heavily on the river in order to give him a flush, after a flop of a K-K-10 he needed an A or a J if the game was going to be turned around, and as luck would have it came. It just shows how instinct can sometimes clinch success when it matters the most.
And there you are: five classic match-ups that you might experience as you play poker for yourself. If you arent lucky enough to rub shoulders with the gods of the game, youll have your own tall tales to create during online poker.