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FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TABLE

Several of Frank’s poker friends and fellow players contributed the stories in this chapter, although Frank has modified the telling slightly in some cases. Frank was proud that all these guest authors had offered their distinctive, discerning views of how and why some online poker hands were played in the manner that they were.

Friends from all-time poker greats such as the nine-time winner of the WSOP Doyle ‘Texas Dolly’ Brunson and Johnny ‘The Oriental Express’ Chan and renowned players like Ted Forrest, Jennifer Harman, Annie Duke, John ‘Bono’ Bonetti, Layne Flack, Howard Lederer, Daniel Negreanu, Peter ‘The Poet’ Costa, Men ‘The Master’ Nguyen, Richard Tatlovich, Andy Glazer, and ‘Miami’ John Cernuto, down to the most distinguished poker tournament director of their time, Jack McClelland, one has a great selection for everybody’s pleasure and clarification. Everybody should enjoy these hands, since these people know their poker!

DOYLE ‘TEXAS DOLLY’ BRUNSON’S ‘MATH’

It was tough to pick out a single hand as being the most unusual, after forty-four years of playing professional poker. Dyle came up with the two royal flushes he made laying No-Limit Hold’em Poker, both times he played against World Champion Bobby Baldwin, and he had beaten four Jacks once and Ace full another time. Yet again, Chip Reese beat his quads twice in the same night!

However, the hand that he remembers the most was played versus David Sklansky, in the WSOP in 1973. It was the finals of the Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Split no-qualifier that was being played, when they were heads-up and had approximately equal sums of money. In this pot, Doyle had an Ace, a two, a five and an eight in four and David had a four, a five, a seven and an eight. They continued to call until both of them were all-in.

Doyle was laughing to himself because of David’s mistake: Doyle had the best high as well as low! David was eliminated and Doyle won the big fat pot, and won the championship. Doyle learned what David had been thinking only the next week when a magazine that David had been writing for was published. David had mentioned this final hand, and he had written about those first four cards in his article. He wrote that he knew at that time that he knew more about the game than Doyle.

Then he proceeded to provide evidence mathematically that his hand would beat Doyle’s more times than Doyle’s hand would beat his. Doyle couldn’t find the poker probe (Poker Probe is software, which lets one to compare hands and establish the hand that is a favorite to win, and also by how much) when he needed it. Doyle was initiated into the world of math in poker in this manner.

He realized that if he wanted to survive in the poker world it would be wise to sharpen up. He can never forget that hand. He’s certain even David recalls it well. Doyle recalled the neat manner in which he closed his article in the magazine: ‘But Doyle wasn’t giving any refunds.’

 

JOHNNY CHAN’S MIDDLE PAIR

At the Layne Poker Classic’s $2,500 buy-in no-limit Hold’em Championship event, which was held at the Commerce Casino in 1998, the following hand came up between Kevin Song and Frank. There were more than 100 players at the start, and the first prize was about $98,000. Around 16 players were left and the blinds were $800-1,900, and the ante was $200 per player.

A player who had a seven of diamonds and six of diamonds moved all-in for $3,400 under the gun. Chan made it $10,000 to go on the button with a pair of eights in the pocket. Kevin was a renowned player, who had a pair of sevens in the hole, in the big blind, and yet he dithered for a while. He looked at Chan… Chan looked at him… after that he looked at the man who had moved all-in, and Chan attempted to read him.

Chan figured that Kevin was wondering whether he could steal some dead money by moving all-in. A few moments later, Kevin announced that he was all-in. Chan wanted to double-check; since he hadn’t physically move his poker chips in, thus Chan enquired of Kevin whether he was all-in. Kevin gave a positive reply. Chan asked him how much. They concluded that Kevin had roughly $32,000, and Frank had about $33,000 in all. Chan mused over it for a while thinking he had been beaten.

When Chan pondered over it, he recalled what happened three hands previously. When the fourth street flopped, Chan made a straight draw and he bet into it. Kevin called him. Chan only had a Jack-high; he gave up on the river and checked. At this point there was $10,000 in the pot and Kevin bet $2,500 into it. Chan had never seen Kevin Song bet $2,500 in all the time he’d been playing poker with him in tournaments. He could taste the money. So he said he was raising another $10,000.

Kevin didn’t dawdle. He discarded his hand. That’s when Chan showed Kevin that he’d been bluffed with a Jack- high, and one could see him turning red in anger! Coming back into the present, Chan has a pair of eights. Chan began figuring the options in his mind. If Chan were to fold the eerie hand, he would be left with $23,000 in chips, and then it would be an uphill task to make the top three money spots. Chan would wind up being a big favorite to make the final three, if he called and won the pot consisting almost $70,000.

Chan guessed that Kevin had a big pair, a small pair, and Ace and King, or an Ace and rag, any one of these hands. Chan could beat at least three of those four hands. Chan eventually determined that he could beat Kevin. Chan had the feeling that Kevin was only trying to get even with him for the other hand. Then Chan told Kevin to move, as he was all-in. Kevin couldn’t believe it when Chan put in all his chips. Kevin didn’t want to turn his hand over although he was the first to show his hand.

The rule about showing one’s hand when one was all-in didn’t apply here as this wasn’t the final table, especially as it hadn’t taken effect until now he need not have turned his hand over as yet. The flop was a Queen, a ten and a three; a two was flopped at the turn, and a ten at the river, to make a board of a Queen, a ten, a three, a two and a ten.

The first gentleman proclaimed he couldn’t win that pot as he had a seven-high. Kevin looked at Chan, but since Chan was in the last position, he was the last to show his hand. Frank wanted to see what Kevin had, and eventually Kevin said he had two pairs. Chan said he too had two pairs. To that Kevin retorted that he had two small pairs. Chan got excited when he heard Kevin say that he had two small pairs. Kevin proceeded to show Chan a pair of sevens. Chan said this was a two pair, while showing Kevin his two eights.

Ever since that pot ended, Chan was in control until it was about 9:00 a.m. and he finally won the poker tournament. Incidentally, the poker tournament began at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday; hence winning this poker event was a long way off.

Chan was especially glad that he won that big pot from Kevin after the incident at the Bicycle Club’s Legends of Poker final event in late August 1997. More than $100,000 was being offered to the first place in the Legends Championship poker event, Chan had $5,000 ‘second place only’ and a $10,000 ‘first place only’ bet against Frank.

Three players were left when Chan played two huge pots with Kevin, and Chan had the best of it, and yet Kevin won both pots. The first time they moved all-in before the flop Chan had an Ace and a Queen while Kevin had an Ace and Jack, the flop was a Queen, a three and a six, and then a ten was flopped at the turn and a King on the river, and thereby Chan went bust. Chan ended up in third place at that poker event.

Chan noticed Kevin Song’s picture was published with Chan’s name written under it in 1998 in the Card Player magazine. Kevin is so lucky: he got to use Chan’s name for a week. Frank’s two cents: T.J. Cloutier once told Frank that there are times when one is required to make a stand with a middle pair like eights in the hole. Characteristically, Chan’s timing had been perfect when he made the stand. Frank's told Johnny that he’d see him at the final table soon!



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