One of the beauties of this little card game we like to play is its blend of science and art. There's science in figuring odds and probabilities down to the nth degree. There's art in recognizing how the opponent that you've been playing with for the last few hours is going to respond to a certain situation and how you can act to exploit that response. The two blend together in the construction of a hand range for an opponent, the mathematical combinations of what he could have, intertwined with the insight in how someone with his psychology will react at each decision point. Artistic?! Hell, the game is practically mystical.
Which is just a really flowery way of justifying the fact that in such a mystical setting, I am perfectly entitled to hold a completely irrational and groundless superstition. I've studied the math of poker. I've spent hours (to be clear, not actually at the table) analyzing a single decision to calculate the EV down to a fraction of a penny. I appreciate that the game is grounded in math and logic. However, I think the game is schizophrenic enough that it will forgive me this dip into the pool of irrationality. Here we go ...
Imagine a tournament setting where two players are all in. In accordance with the rules, they flip their hands up. One player has the other clearly dominated. AK vs A9, AA vs 66, top pair top kicker vs top pair no kicker. The dealer gets ready to expose some cards and some yahoo at the table pipes up with, "I folded a (insert miracle card to save dominated player here)."
Kiss. Of. Death.
I witnessed a perfect example last night. About 80 bbs all in preflop. It's AA vs. QQ. The flop is three inconsequential cards and as the dealer is preparing to burn and turn, someone observes that he folded AQ. Now you might think that the invocation of the A would somehow offset the mention of the Q, but you would be wrong. This is a curse my friend, and curses don't roll like that. Turn, Queen-ball in the corner pocket.* Good game sir, and that's that.
*Since I did not specify which, if any, of the above players was me, this is not technically a bad beat story.
So, I respect that curse of the folded out. When I know that I have mucked one of the few cards that can save someone, I keep my mouth shut about the fact and I hope that the above public service announcement will assist you in avoiding visiting such horror on someone else ... well, unless they really deserve it.
Now I don't think for a second I'm the only one who holds such superstitions. So, c'mon everyone, spill. Tell me about that deep dark superstition you hold at the tables.