All The Aces Daily Poker Column

Down To A Chip And A Chair

How Jack Strauss inspired this poker saying...

There’s a famous saying in poker circles for an unlucky run. “Down to a chip and a chair.” The story of that saying goes way back to the early 1980’s when a brilliant Texan Poker player called Jack “Treetop” Strauss (“Treetop” on account of his height) got all the way down to just one chip at the World Series of Poker. You guessed it. He went on to win and became the 1982 World Series Champ and a millionaire to boot. Sadly, the story has a sting in its tail. Age fifty eight, “Treetops” was finally felled during a game of no limit Texas Hold’em at the Bicycle Casino in L.A. “Treetops” made a huge bet and promptly dropped stone dead at the table from a chronic heart attack. Apparently he’d run a monster bluff and the strain proved too much. Poker romantics at the table  remarked they were sure it’s the way he would’ve wanted to go. The lessons here are clearly to keep your bluffs under control and to remember even a chip and a chair can be enough to make you winner.
The flop is the key to success in Texas hold’em. Make your critical decisions at this point in the game. What chance does it present you with? Can you read what it’s potentially done for your opponents? Often at this stage you’re able to tell an opponent’s situation by the way he calls. Maybe he’s drawing to a flush or a straight. If you see three cards to a flush or a straight then you’re getting alarm bells.
Obviously a three card straight should cause you even more concern than a flush developing, as it poses a bigger threat.
Everything after the flop is pretty much set in stone. Get it right. And if you’re a beginner, play it tight.