Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chan vs. Nguyen

A post today on Doyle Brunson's blog, written by somebody identified only as "bob," reports:

Perhaps stating the obvious, but nevertheless entirely true, Johnny Chan commented that “There aren’t going to be any suckers dumping off chips, you have to earn them.” Point in case, who but a pro could fold queens full of jacks? That is exactly what Johnny Chan did against Scotty Nguyen. Granted, there were a pair of aces on the board, but even so, that must have been hard. Nguyen raised Chan on the button, who called. The flop was A-A-Q, and both players checked. The jack on the turn was also checked. When another jack came on the river, Nguyen fired a bet that almost doubled the pot. Chan folded his pocket queens face up, and Nguyen left him to wonder what could have been.
Uh, if the board was AAQJJ, and Chan had pocket queens, wouldn't his hand be queens full of aces, rather than "queens full of jacks" as stated?

(I would have just left this as a comment on that post rather than writing here, but comments were listed as "closed" and the "Leave a comment" link seems to do nothing. Hmpf!)

By the way, what, exactly, is meant by the phrase, "Point in case"?

And further by the way: Folding a low full house on a double-paired board is not particularly difficult. In this case, though, my guess is that the fold was incorrect. I doubt that Nguyen would check trip aces--even with a weak kicker and out of position--on both the flop and turn. It's not impossible, of course, but I think it's more likely that he would make at least a small feeler bet on one of those streets. I suspect that Nguyen had a jack, and Chan got hoodwinked. But I could be completely wrong.

One last point: Shame on Chan for slow-playing himself into such a difficult spot. Double shame on him for folding face-up. What's the point of that? Tommy Angelo, in Elements of Poker, p. 100, gets it exactly right:

When you fold face up, the message that is sent to the table, whether you
intend it or not, and whether you realize it or not, is this: "Dear table full
of people. It is very important to me what you think of me. It is so important
that I am willing to give you the most generous gift of information I can--I
will show you my cards--just so you know that 1) my decisions were justified,
and also that 2) I am unlucky. I know it will cost me money to reveal my cards
and feelings to you. But that's okay. That's how much I value your opinion of

If you always fold face down without ever showing even one card to anyone,
the message that is sent, and received, whether you intend it or not, and
whether you realize it or not, is this: "I don't care what you think about how I
play. I don't even care what I think about how I play. Oh, and by the way, I am
impervious to everything." Fussless folding fortifies.


NoLimitDoc said...

Occasionally showing down strong hands that you fold can be profitable if you are playing your image. If everyone thinks you are a nit, you can make some nice pots when you 3 or 4 bet a garbage hand. Cards will come and cards will go, but modifying your game to how you are percieved is in my opinion the most critical part of the game. The ability to manipulate this is a powerful tool.

unaha-closp said...

He's Johnny Chan, he intends to send the message.