Gambling Games TV

Lessons Learned from THE BEST DAMN POKER SHOW

I’ve been watching THE BEST DAMN POKER SHOW on Fox Sports Net. 

It’s a tournament-based series, with two teams of (mostly) amateur poker players competing against each other and coached by poker pros Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth.  For whatever reason, I can’t watch most poker programs on TV, but shows like this one or Bravo’s prematurely cancelled CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN that offer decent, approachable advice for the casual player (along with a little bit of personality and humor) are more entertainly watchable for me versus the more serious World Poker Tour or High Stakes Poker shows.

Besides, who wouldn’t want to get free poker advice from Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth, or Phil Gordon (an early commentator on CPS)?  As such, I turn you to one small piece of advice learned from season 2, episode 5, of The Best Damn Poker Show

One of Annie’s players, Jon Nau, held Ad Qd.  On Phil’s team, Brad Harlness had pocket 10‘s.  Heavy betting pre-flop had both players in for one-third of their respective chip stacks.  Pre-flop, Jon’s hand had a 53% edge, compared to Brad’s 47%.

The flop came 4d 9h 7d, putting Jon on a flush draw and a 63% edge, with Brad at 37% with his 10’s.  Brad bet another third of his chips.

Backstage, both Annie and Phil agreed that it was a no-brainer – Jon needed to push his chips in, going all-in.  Mathematically, Annie explained, when you have two overcards versus the flop AND a flush draw, you have to play the odds and bet, as there would be very few hands that could beat yours. 

Much to Annie’s chagrin and Phil’s amusement, Jon folded.  Annie asked Phil if it would be okay for her to cut Jon from her team right then.

After the hand while the cards were being shuffled, Annie pulled another of her players, Shawn Van Asdale, aside and told him to casually bring up discussion of the exact same hand that was played the previous day, as a way to send a message to Jon that he shouldn’t have folded.

Shawn rejoined the table and mentioned the previous day’s hand.  As the conversation progressed, the table agreed that folding was not a good idea. Shawn even referenced item #4 on the David Letterman-like “Top Ten” list that he put on his audition video.  What he said at the table summed up the situation in an easy-to-understand phrase that all poker players should be able to remember:

“I would check-raise my mother all-in with two overs and a flush draw.”

The funny thing?  This really was on his Best Damn Poker Show audition video: