Was Grey’s Fold Black and White?
While watching “Poker after Dark” on NBC (at 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday) this week, I saw some very interesting plays. Because they show every single hand that was played, you really get to see the caliber of the play. Whereas in regular televised poker tournaments, you only get to see the highlight reel hands. I must say that I saw some pretty weak poker being played by some of the players the first two weeks of this show. Although admittedly, some of the weak poker that was played was my own! One day on the set, Doyle Brunson and I talked about the fact that we play in so many huge poker tournaments these days that the ones without historical meaning (like “Poker after Dark”) are hard to get up for. This serves as a nice excuse for Brunson and me!
Starting with six players, in first position, with the blinds at $400-$800, Daniel Negreanu raised it up to $800 to go with the 4c-3c, and Mike “the mouth” Matusow folded. Comedian, actor and poker player Gabe Kaplan (formerly of “Welcome Back, Kotter”) called the $800 with the 4d-3d, David Grey looked at A-Q on the button, and then decided to fold. Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson folded K-4, and L.A. Lakers owner Jerry Buss (a top Hold ’em player himself) called $400 more in the big blind with the 8-7.
The flop was Qh-5d-2h, and all three players checked. When the 6s hit on the turn, Buss bet out $800 with his open-ended straight draw, Negreanu made it $2,300 to go with his straight, Kaplan said, “Ohhh, I didn’t expect that,” and then raised it to $6,700 to go with his straight. Buss folded, Negreanu moved all-in, and Kaplan called. Of course, it was a split pot! Although both players were disappointed that it was. At this point Grey said, “Well, looks like I would have gone broke had I played my hand.” By the way, Buss asked to see the last card (a 10) as he obviously wanted to know if he would have made his straight (Buss needed a four or a nine).
What the heck happened in this hand? Let’s take a closer look. First off, I do not mind Negreanu’s $800 raise, or Kaplan’s $800 call, although they are somewhat loose. But what the heck was Grey thinking? Even if Negreanu wasn’t in his normal “Play a lot of hands mode,” Grey had an easy reraise. The fact that Negreanu was playing a ton of pots makes it an even easier reraise. And the fact that Kaplan called the $800 makes it an even easier raise still. Grey should have called the $800, and then raised it about $3,000 or so, $3,000 being the size of the pot. If he does pull the trigger and pop it up $3,000, then he almost certainly wins the pot. On this night Negreanu was not calling big raises with weak hands, nor was anyone else as they were all aware that going broke early would cost them a day or two of NBC TV time. You see, the show is shot in one five-hour day (roughly), and then they show it over five nights. Grey was right though, in that if he called before the flop, he probably would have lost a huge pot.
I do not mind Buss’ bet here on the turn, as he didn’t make very many bets throughout the whole show, and I like to see a little aggression out of him. Buss’ bet here is what we in poker call a “semi-bluff,” where someone bets when they have a draw. I like Negreanu’s raise, as he gave Buss a chance to reraise him, and he charged Buss $1,500 more if he was drawing. I also like Kaplan’s reraise, but I do not like the fact that he opened up his mouth and said something. Negreanu is too smart for all of that. In fact, any talking you do in a hand with Negreanu will give him more information about your hand.
I watched the show late Tuesday night, and all six of the players were still in there, although Buss was short on chips. On Friday night we will see the final heads up match, on Saturday night we will watch the “directors cut” which will recap the week as well as let us know who’s playing the following week.
A semi-bluff is when someone:
A) bluffs a small amount of money
B) bluffs with a draw
C) folds out or turn
D) All of the above.