Archive May 2007: Poker Talk

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Gazes vs. Brown HU - misreading board and letting it affect future play

So the match is Kristy Gazes vs. Chad Brown. Gazes has a small lead and the BB, Brown has the button. Blinds 1500/3000, not sure of stack sizes but they are fairly deep I believe.

Brown raises to 8000 with A2, Gazes reraises to 24k with 99 and Brown calls.

The flop comes 666.

For some reason Gazes finds this scary and funny. She checks as does Brown. Now the turn brings the 4th 6 and Gazes finds this even funnier; given that her hand is counterfeited, it wouldn’t be funny to me. She bets $40k and Brown calls with the absolute nuts.

The river is a 2.

Now things get strange. Gazes checks the river and Brown, in position, checks too. WTF? What just happened? Why would Brown check the stone-cold nuts? Now things get REALLY strange. They both turn over their hands and the dealers starts sorting the chips and pushing them to Brown, when Gazes says ‘hello… we both have quads.’ Brown tries to explain to her that he has the A and the camera focuses on Gazes who is very confused for a few seconds. She finally realizes what happened and now feels that she really screwed up and was stupid.

Well, she was stupid or sleeping, but the one who really screwed up was Brown. There was no downside to either betting for value or just pushing and now that we know that Gazes doesn’t understand how to read the situation, he most likely doubles through and has her crippled. He tries to explain that he felt that she had the A or was not calling any bet if she didn’t have the A, but what’s the downside of betting?

The fun now really begins because for the remainder of the match Gazes is completely befuddled and off her game. She keeps making mistakes and complaining about how she screwed up and because of her screw up she gets behind pretty quickly. Finally, after quite a while Brown explains to her that it was actually he who screwed up on the hand, not her. She then looks confused again and realizes after a few seconds that he is right. He screwed up, not her. If you think about it, the only mistake she really made in the playing of the hand was not betting the flop, and this is debatable. Her turn bet was just fine. There was too much in the pot to let Brown take it away with a bet (she would have to fold to any bet on the turn by him if she checked) so leading out on the turn and representing an A is fine. Brown folds if he doesn’t have an A. Her river check was correct too, so she really played the hand fine.

Now I haven’t seen Gazes play much and I have never played with her myself, but I hear that she is a good, solid player. So in this case I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she just spaced out. What is really interesting about this match is not that she screwed up, because as I hope I showed above, she played the hand fine. The real lesson here is to try and clear bad thoughts related to previous hands and continue to play your game to the best of your ability. Things like misreading hands, making wrong bets, acting out of turn by mistake, receiving bad beats can all throw you off your game. However, the best players are able to block these things and continue to play their ‘A’ game. This is true both in poker and in all sports. Tiger Woods, for example, is a master of getting birdies on holes after he gets a bogey. I believe he is consistently #1 at doing this. In tennis, which I play quite a bit, it is critical to block out bad points or bad games from your mind. The better we do at this, the better our results will be.

In the hands they showed on TV, Gazes made a few critical mistakes AFTER the 6666 hand. One time she turned a straight and checked even though there was a flush draw on board. Brown hit his flush on the river, but most likely folds to any reasonable bet because his cards were very low. There were other mistakes too, and it was clear that she was not playing her game and continued to let her donkey move grate at her. Ultimately, she lost the match.

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