Dec 19, 2022
ALL RISE as the Court of Public Opinion is now in session.
I won’t be so much your presiding judge, Brandon James, so much as I will be your observer, Brandon James.
In today’s trial, we will be examining the issue of a poker hand between the Defendant, Robbi Jade Lew of Los Angeles, California and the Plaintiff, Garrett Adelstein also from Los Angeles, California (formerly Tucson, Arizona).
The specific allegations leading us to this trial in the Court of Public Opinion is that Robbi Jade Lew cheated in a poker hand, during a livestream, causing financial harm, embarrassment and emotional distress to Garrett Adelstein in a video that can be found here:
While the Court of Public Opinion exists everywhere, after all, the Court of Public Opinion is the only one that truly matters, the jurors that brought this to my attention can be found in this thread on the forums. Of course, I am also one of the judges in the Court of Public Opinion, in this case, for the Court of Public Opinion is inevitable, omnipresent and its individual jurors often see themselves as omniscient.
For those of you who don’t want to watch the video, or are perhaps less poker savvy than I am (and I am not particularly poker savvy), I will break down what transpired on the hand.
The first action that we see on this hand is the Plaintiff, Garrett Adelstein, who had the option to fold with 8c7c (decent drawing hand) and opted to raise out of the small blind. The Plaintiff could have called with $400, but a raise to $3,000 is a fairly standard play here given the stack sizes of the parties involved.
The Defendant, Robbi Jade Lew, looked down upon a Jc4h, which was off-suit and is an objectively terrible hand to begin with. Had the Plaintiff been in an earlier position and made this kind of raise, then most good poker players would have a high probability of folding J4, off, in this situation (It’s worth noting that good players would not ALWAYS fold to this sort of Raise as there are very few things that good players would ALWAYS do, or they wouldn’t be good players).
In any event, the Plaintiff called for an additional $2,200, which means that she already had $800 in the pot. Not that she could have known it, but most of this 42% stems from the fact that she had the high card. In any event, looking at the situation in terms of pure equity, and ignoring a possibility of a truly nonsensical raise, she had the following options:
Fold: Lose $800 (100%)
Call: Thereby giving her 42% equity in a $6,700 pot, of which, $3,000 is already her money. 42% equity in the pot would be $2,814, which means that she is (if the hand ended now with no more action) expected to lose $186 as a result of this decision, which is superior to folding, by EV.
Naturally, poker is not quite that simple because the hand does not end with this decision. Instead, Robbi now has $3,000 in the pot in a situation that, barring her catching a Jack on the flop, becomes very difficult for her to play if Garrett shows any aggression whatsoever, at least, this is true in theory.
We also have to assume, however, that the Plaintiff did not know what cards had been folded. Given the cards that were folded, Robbi is at 42% in this hand. However, if Robbi and Garrett were instead playing heads up, her Jc4h against his 7c8c would actually be more than 50% to win going into the flop.
Another thing to mention is the Plaintiff’s bet doesn’t mean that he automatically has a great drawing hand. This is the sort of raise that doesn’t tell the Big Blind anything in a situation like this as he could have pocket Aces, but obviously would want to get value out of them and wouldn’t bet so much as to scare the big blind away. On the other hand, you could make this bet with something like 10-6 just hoping that the Big Blind has total garbage and doesn’t feel like seeing a flop with it.
In other words, if no cheating occurred at all, or hadn’t occurred to this point, then the Plaintiff’s bet does not tell the Defendant anything about what he has.
The flop comes at 10h10c9c, immediately giving Garrett an open-ended straight draw, a flush draw and an open-ended straight flush draw. This flop is an absolute God-send for Garrett and the only thing that could have been better for him would be to just straight up flop trips, a full house, two pair or quads. Even flopping an eight (for a pair) would be a little bit scary for him if there were any overcards on the board because Robbi calling the raise to 3k, given their stack sizes, also doesn’t mean a whole lot. As the big blind playing behind a player like Garrett, you have to give indications that you’re not going to be pushed off of every single one of your blinds.
The flop also makes Garrett a 2:1 favorite, not that Robbi could know that, even if we didn’t know what the folded cards were, which we assume the two of them don’t. Given knowledge of the folded cards, the broadcast has Garrett as a 70% favorite to take down this pot.
Not that she could know it, but Robbi technically has the best hand at this point; her hand just doesn’t have the best potential. The main problem she has is that a Jack would be very bad for her (barring the river being either a Jack or a Ten) because it gives Garrett a straight. It can’t give him a straight flush, however, as Robbi has the jack of clubs.
By technically has the best hand, if the hand ended here, these would be the final hands:
Both players have the pair of tens and Robbi wins with the better kicker.
Of course, Garrett could have anything here, as we discussed earlier. There’s really no reason, at this point, to suspect that he doesn’t have some sort of queen or king. If Garrett had an ace with anything, then he probably would have made a more aggressive pre-flop raise.
Garrett bets $2,500, which is somewhat surprising, in that the bet is less than the total amount that he had bet preflop. Robbi calls.
Robbi’s call is defensible here because she loses $3,000 by folding, but instead, she has to commit another $2,500 to the pot, bringing the pot total to $11,700, of which, $5,500 is money that Robbi put in.
At this point, we have to ask ourselves: At what point is this call not mathematically justifiable? Obviously, the players aren’t sitting there with calculators in front of them, but this is an activity that we can do in hindsight.
The goal here is to arrive at a percentage (ignoring a tie) where Robbi has to be in order to be better off betting the $2,500 as opposed to taking a guaranteed loss of $3,000. That brings us to two possibilities because, once again, I would assume a raise is totally out of the question for most players:
Option A: Lose $3,000 (100%)
Option B: Pot Total: $11,700 Money In: $5,500
With this, she can either win $6,200 or lose $5,500. Honestly, her equity doesn’t have to be particularly good for this call to be mathematically justifiable. Keep in mind that we are comparing calling in this situation to taking a guaranteed $3,000 loss. Let’s pretend, just for the sake of argument, that Robbi has it even worse than she probably thinks she does and only has a 22% probability of winning the hand:
(6200 * .22) - (5500 * .78) = ($2,926)
With that, we can conclude that, even with a 22% chance of winning the hand, which is lower than what is actually the case, her equity in the hand (by calling) is still better than by folding and losing a guaranteed $3,000.
Perhaps relevantly, put another way, Robbi should call if she thinks Garrett is playing some sort of draw and does not have the following:
1.) Two Pair: (He’d have a nine or inside pair)
2.) Trips (He’d have a ten)
3.) Suited Clubs (With at least one being Queen+)
Honestly, there’s not a lot here that Robbi shouldn’t call given the amount of Garrett’s bet. At this point in the action, if there was to be no more betting, Garrett could have AK off, tell Robbi he has AK off, and by value, Robbi should call against that.
The purpose of Garrett’s bet, in my opinion, was to try to get Robbi to give him an idea of her holdings. I do not believe that Garrett made this bet expecting a fold, because it is not a bet that is asking for a fold; it is a bet that is practically screaming, “Raise this if you have anything whatsoever!”
It’s important to understand that Garrett is an extremely analytical and mathematical player, so he has actually snap calculated a bet amount where Robbi practically can’t fold: she’d have to believe she has no value in this hand whatsoever to do so and Garrett isn’t indicating any great hand strength.
Basically, Robbi can raise and that tells Garrett (based on the amount) that she probably has something that she can play with and we go from there; Robbi can call, indicating weakness, which she did and was weak, or Robbi can fold, but Garrett made a bet amount where folding would be very difficult to do. I think that last part is especially true because Garrett probably thought Robbi had a better hand than she did to even call pre-flop. Garrett didn’t want a fold, no matter how you look at it, or he would have made a bigger bet.
The next card comes a three of hearts, which doesn’t really change anything.
Garrett bets ten thousand after thinking about the situation for a second, which is just less than half of the total pot. The 10k is also $4,500 more than Robbi has in the pot, so this becomes a bet that Garrett is making now being kind of fine with it if Robbi folds.
He didn’t want her to fold after the flop, but now, at a minimum, he would be okay with her folding. Otherwise, why bet what she has in the pot and almost that over again? The idea is that she had enough value to call before, but now he is trying to make it the case that she does not have enough value to call if she has nothing or is extremely weak. It’s also possible that he thinks she could have a three (because why couldn’t she?), so that would put her ahead (both in current hand and probability of winning after the river) so the 10k might get her off of the superior hand.
After thinking about it for a few seconds, Robbi re-raises, making it another $10,000 for Garrett to call. I have no explanation for that sort of play as raising it to something like $50,000 would have made far more sense to me. In order to not call an additional $10,000, when Garrett now already has $15,500 in the pot, he would have to be all but completely sure that he’s losing the hand. This play makes no sense at all.
While Garrett is thinking, Robbi says something like, “(Unintelligible)...scratch my face; that’s the shit I got.”
What I get from that is she’s telling the guy that she just raised that her hand is shit, which is absolutely true, but who knows what the meaning behind doing that was? Raising it only 10k is almost never going to result in a fold, so I don’t think trying to convince Garrett that she has a strong hand by claiming she has a weak one is really changing anything. I could be wrong, but I also don’t tend to take Garrett as the sort of player whose decision is really going to be swayed by someone saying something like that one way or another.
After several seconds of contemplation, Garrett decides to go all-in.
When it comes to looking at body language, about two or three seconds after Garrett declares he is all-in, Robbi smiles softly and nods about something. A few seconds after that, Robbi put out a time chip indicating she needed more time to think. For almost anyone else on Earth who has ever watched poker, this would have been a fold. At most, you would want to play it off as though you were briefly thinking about calling, perhaps check your cards one more time and say something like, “Do you have a nine?”, but you would definitely be folding.
At least, I would ask if they had a nine. My thinking on that is, if I am going to fold and they were weak, I at least want the other player to KNOW I thought his hand was fairly weak. That represents to the opponent that you’re not going to make a habit of being shoved off of pots just because they go all-in.
After a half minute, Robbi says, “I just want to call to see it; I think you might have me, though.”
You don’t say, Robbi?
Robbi clears her throat and asks, “Threes no good? This is why you shouldn’t be in hands like this.”
If it makes you feel better, Robbi, everything before the turn was mathematically justifiable. The reraise to 20k, however, might almost be as bizarre as eventually calling Garrett’s shove in the first place. Garrett’s not going to fold to that small of a raise!
Robbi looks up at Garrett after about a minute, “Do you want me to call you?”
Garrett doesn’t respond and, a few seconds later, Robbi announces, “I call.”
NOTE: One thing that is important to note is that a lot of scrutiny is being paid to discussion that occurred after the hand, but at this point, the hand is finished aside from deciding how many times to run it. At this point, nobody has asked her about her hand and Garrett did not answer any of her questions.
It’s all over except for the River(s) coming out. With that, any post-decision discussion, which I will detail below, is irrelevant to the fact that she called. For all practical purposes, both are all-in and this hand is over.
People accusing Robbi of cheating are highly focused on the post call portion of the decision. It’s obviously potentially relevant to whether or not she cheated, but nothing below has anything to do with the fact that she made the call as the call had already been made.
Garrett says, “Run it once, but it’s up to you.”
Robbi gives an unintelligible response and Garrett reiterates, “I prefer once, but it’s up to you.”
At this point, Garrett gives a few quick chuckles. Judging from the corners of his eyes, Garrett’s smiling and laughter seems pretty genuine. When Robbi asked, “Threes no good?”, that probably led Garrett to believe that she was asking that honestly and called him with a pair of threes…which would have been a GREAT call, but not one of the most epic calls of all time. It certainly would have been celebrated at the table, would perhaps make a few compilation videos, but I likely never would have heard about it.
Even if Robbi had a three, however, Garrett wouldn’t be completely screwed in this hand. Not adjusting for what was folded, turning Robbi’s 4h to a 3s doesn’t even put her at 60% to take down the pot. At this point in the hand, whatever the result, Garrett very much respects the fact that he was called here.
Of course, after his laughter, which looked genuine, Garrett’s expression quickly snapped back to neutral. That might be because he could be a sociopath, which is a trait of many great poker players.
Robbi asks, “Are you good? Because I have a shitty hand.”
Curious, Garrett asks, “You do? Yikes!”
Someone else asks Robbi, “Do you have pocket threes?”
Robbi replies, “No.”
Remember, Robbi was never representing pocket threes. When she asked, “Threes no good?”, it was to get information from Garrett. I don’t think that she believed she actually had a three, at any point, but if Garrett wasn’t scared of a pair, then he’s certainly not going to be scared of the tens that are on the board with a jack kicker.
Robbi elaborates, “No…I..I...ju..(Unintelligible). No, this is a pure bluff catcher.” Robbi rolls her eyes and reiterates, “Purely.” She goes on, “Yeah, but I, I don’t have, I, I think he has me beat.”
The first river comes out a nine, making it two pair on the board and meaning Robbi wins that one with her jack kicker. Garrett, correctly, acknowledges, “That’s one is you, for sure.”
Robbi responds to Garrett as he is asking the question about the pocket fives, “I don’t think so,” meaning that she doesn’t think that the nine on the river meant that run went to her.
Garrett asks Robbi, “You have pocket fives, or something, you have a small pair?”
Robbi replies, “You give me that much credit? After you’ve seen what I’ve done”
Garrett admits, “I don’t know what you have.”
The next river comes an ace and Garrett declares, “I have eight high.”
Robbi responds, “Wow. Garrett. How many times are you going to let me do this to you?”
The table is pretty shocked with some gasps and sounds of disbelief, but I believe it is Eric Perrson who responds, “That’s some (censored) poker right there!”
After the rivers come out, the next relevant thing coming from Garrett (after Robbi’s observation that he wants to kill her) is him saying, “The flop goes, bet, call, the turn goes bet, raise shove.”
Yes, Garrett, that’s what I just recapped above, but thank you for the observation. Also, your post-flop bet was intentionally an amount such that a fold would almost never be justified, but you knew that when you made it, right?
Robbi says, “If my jack wasn’t a club, I would have been out.”
Garrett inquires, “What do you mean if your jack wasn’t a club?”
Garrett, you’re good at poker, big math guy, right? Okay, if there is a ten of clubs and a nine of clubs on the flop, then the jack of clubs becomes a relevant card because it makes it less probable that your opponent is going to end up with a straight or flush.
So, what do you mean what does she mean? You have more poker skill in the nail of your index finger than I will ever amass in my entire life if I start playing twenty hours per week now and live another thirty years—why wouldn’t her jack being a club be relevant?
Robbi reiterates, “You know, you’ve let me do this to you several times now.”
After some less relevant discussion, Robbi says, “I thought you were on ace high.”
Garrett retorts, “So, why call Jack high then?”
I think what we have here is a failure to communicate. Remember, when the nine came out on the first run of the river, Robbi had thought that wasn’t a winning card for her. My take on what Robbi said about ace high is that what I think she meant was more along the lines of, “I thought you had ace high, at best.”
Garrett continues, “So, you called all in the turn because…”
Robbi, “Yeah, because you don’t have shit.”
It’s important to understand, if Robbi is innocent, that Garrett is already basically accusing her of some sort of cheating, at this point. It seems that what he is trying to imply is that Robbi knew his cards and that’s why she made the call. However, if she did know his exact holdings, then why would she think she lost the first time they ran the river? Also, if she is as stupid as a lot of Poker Bros. want to make her out to be, would she really be smart enough to mutter, “I don’t think so,” when the first river came out and Garrett said that half of the pot went to her?
Garrett flatly states, “That’s not a poker hand.”
Robbi replies, “I played you, and not the hand, so don’t let me play you.”
I think it’s important to contextualize that Garrett has already as much as accused Robbi of cheating, at this point; Andy, another player at the table, is on Garrett’s side that something is off. Eric Perrson seems to think Robbi just made a great play and the rest of the table doesn’t seem to be expressing a strong opinion.
Much later on, Garrett inquires again why Robbi would make that play; Robbi responds with, “Because you wanted me to fold.” Pressed for more information, Robbi reiterates that she had a blocker.
Garrett then tries to catch Robbi in a lie and asks, “Because you had a straight draw?”, but Robbi correctly reiterates that she had a blocker and says she did not have a straight draw. At that point, Garrett frames it as her calling, “Because you had a straight blocker,” but her card blocked both straights and flushes, so while her reasoning is still (in my opinion), terrible, Garrett is already trying to make it appear to be an even worse call than it already was.
She explains it even further and Garrett says, “So, you called because you had a straight draw and a flush draw? Got it.”
Again, Robbi never said that she had a straight draw, so he keeps trying to catch her in a lie that she never told in the first place. Just prior to Garrett saying that a second time, Robbi was explaining her reasoning (but Garrett is only hearing what he wants her to be saying in order to catch her in a lie that doesn’t exist) and states that she blocked back door flush draws with her jack—which just means her having a club makes the river being a club less probable.
After that, she reiterates, for perhaps the third time, that she was blocking some straight draws and flush draws.
Long After the Hand
The commentator does a pretty good job trying to remain impartial after Garrett leaves the table.
The announcer points out, something that Garrett wouldn’t know, that none of Robbi’s other hands looked suspicious and she even called with a J8 on an earlier hand, despite the fact that she was drawing dead. A few hands after the hand in question, with a nine in her hand, Robbi would go on to call with two pair against two players who both had trips with the pair of eights that was on the board and an eight in each of their hands.
Around 2:54:00 into the video, the situation gets heated as Garrett gets the money back from Robbi and proceeds to add those chips to his stack.
The next thing that happens is that RIP, who had a stake in money at this table, goes back to where Garrett is at and flips out on someone off-camera for, ‘Making,’ Robbi give the money back. At that point, he correctly refers to Garrett as a p***y and then decides that he’s leaving the game.
Andy asks the question that has come up more than once since, “If she didn’t cheat, then why would she be willing to give the money back?”
Eric Perrson has something of a counter question, “If she did cheat, then why isn’t she being arrested?”
Eventually, Andy seems to come to the conclusion that he doesn’t think Robbi was cheating. He ultimately concludes that no devices are allowed at the table, so while he thought the hand was suspicious at first, the fact that Robbi wasn’t being arrested would lead to the conclusion that cheating could not be proven at the time and, as of December 2022, still hasn’t been proven. An independent investigation found no proof of cheating, but also stated that it can’t conclusively prove Robbi is innocent.
The Nature of Poker
Shortly after that, another player makes reference to RIP being heated because he and Robbi are, “Friends, they’re business partners,” which is kind of an indirect way of stating that RIP has a stake in Robbi’s results at this table.
At that point, the commentator claims not to know what is meant by the statement that the two of them are, “Business partners,” which is a lie because the commentator knew exactly what that meant. The important thing for the broadcast is to maintain the illusion that everyone sitting at the table is 100% risking their own money, even though that is not often the case.
In broadcasted poker tournaments, especially as the field thins out, it is sometimes mentioned that one player has a stake in one, or more, other players, but they’ll usually not go out of their way to say that even though it is true a high percentage of the time. With cash games, however, the only thing that’s really on the line is the cash, there’s no bracelet, it’s not the World Series–so talking about players staking each other kills what little meaning the game has.
That brings us to the nature of poker: Poker is all about lying.
The most frequent lie in poker is the bluff, which is just when a person bets in such a fashion as to indicate a strong hand, though in reality, the person has a very weak hand. Most readers will be familiar with that concept already, so I will spare you what would be a very poor attempt to explain most of the situations in which someone might bluff.
When we look at poker player tracking sites, such as Hendon Poker Mob, those sites deal mostly in lies and misleading. Tournament winnings, for example, are often a lie because players are often staked by someone else, so they did not actually win the prize that the tournament suggests that they did.
Similarly, there is staking in cash games a lot of the time and Robbi was being partially staked by the player RIP in this one. Therefore, some cash games results listings are also a lie as the players often do not win as much as the difference in chips relative to the time that the started playing and the time they left the table. Similarly, they often don’t lose as much as that, either.
When it comes to those aspects, the whole thing is basically a con. Fortunately, that particular con has no real financial victims, if there are any victims at all, the only victims (who don’t lose any money) are those who watch the games believing that the stakes are what is being represented on the screen; the stakes usually aren’t.
I’ve looked at other poker scandals, such as the Full Tilt poker scandal here.
Even if there was cheating taking place in this game, the fact that players’ hole cards are known by way of the card reader is one of the most likely components that contributes to this cheating.
Why are there card readers?
The card readers, which, by the way, increase the probability that there will be cheating, exist because most viewers would find the broadcasts less interesting if they did not know the cards of the players at the table. Furthermore, without knowing the cards, the commentators would have far less to talk about because they wouldn’t be able to explain why each player did what they did until after the fact.
Of course, they could just broadcast on a delay such that they could add in the commentary after each hand is complete, but that would be more work.
The entire Mike Postle scandal had to do with the card readers which are what enabled Postle, it is claimed, to have hole card data transmitted to him via his phone, which he spent a suspicious amount of time looking at during key hands.
Of course, some houses would institute rules against having devices at the table as a result, but all that did was create an opportunity to suspect people of having hidden devices, as has been suggested of Robbi.
Naturally, poker could simply go back to having regular playing cards, no card readers and no cameras under the table that would show anyone hole card data, but then it would be less enjoyable (for many) to watch. For me, I think it would make watching poker more fun as I could try to put all of these great players on hands and see if I’m at all good at that (SPOILER: Nope.) and could sharpen my skills.
Anyway, it’s all about the money. If you think poker is about fairness, then you might be naive.
If they wanted poker to be fair and free of cheating, then there wouldn’t be any way to know a player’s hole cards unless and until they were shown-by that player. If they didn’t want to have players potentially collude with one another, then they would make it so that two players who are staked in each other (one way or the other) could not be at the same table in a cash game. I’d almost argue that they shouldn’t get to stake one another in tournaments, either, though in large enough tournaments you could do so never knowing if you’re going to share a table.
I also think that is why Garrett was immediately so suspicious, but his suspicions were based on a sample size of one hand. It’s a good thing that Garrett doesn’t base everything that he does on the results of one hand, or he would be a terrible poker player.
I used to occasionally play poker, but I don’t anymore. My assumption is everyone is cheating. In a situation like this:
Nobody Looks Good
Basically, regardless of whether or not Robbi was actually cheating, everyone comes out of this situation smelling like a rose that has just been defecated upon by a cow. Let’s look at the possible truths:
1.) Robbi wasn’t cheating.
A.) If Robbi wasn’t cheating, then she simultaneously made the best and worst call in the world. It’s the best, “Hero Call,” in the sense that I’ve never seen anyone call with less than she had in a similar situation. It’s the worst call because, if I saw that garbage, I could make her think I am bluffing all the time and get her to frequently call with nothing.
B.) If Robbi wasn’t cheating, then she shouldn’t have given the money back because that makes it look like she was cheating and trying to get out of trouble.
C.) If Robbi wasn’t cheating, she shouldn’t have attempted to explain her reasoning more than once and, instead, opted for the response of, “Go F%^& yourself,” which is my typical response to anyone who questions me in a way I don’t like.
2.) Robbi was cheating.
A.) If Robbi was cheating, then she picked a really suspicious looking spot to do that. Calling in the spot that she did, basically with a jack kicker, just makes it look like you know your opponent’s hand. Superficially, at least.
B.) If Robbi was cheating, then she shouldn’t have given the money back because that makes it look like she was cheating and trying to get out of trouble.
C.) If Robbi was cheating, she shouldn’t have attempted to explain her reasoning more than once and, instead, opted for the response of, “Go F%^& yourself,” which is my typical response to anyone who questions me in a way I don’t like.
3.) Garrett looks bad if Robbi wasn’t cheating.
Fortunately, for Garrett, nothing except total undeniable proof of Robbi’s innocence will satisfy a great many people who are on his side of the issue, and some will think Garrett was not in the wrong even then.
A.) Of course, Garrett comes off as the bad guy in some peoples’ eyes unless Robbi cheating becomes a proven fact.
B.) Just for me, Garrett looks bad because he was trying to set Robbi up to catch her in a lie about her holdings that she didn’t even tell.
-Garrett could have just stepped away from the game, if he had wanted to, and asked the producers to review the hand at a later time. Instead, he thought it would be better to handle it right there and then and wanted to catch Robbi in a lie to improve his case.
C.) Garrett never should have taken the money back at the time that he did. That displays a certain sense of entitlement for him to even take that before it could be investigated. If an investigation were to occur, then the funds in question could just be held in escrow until that concludes, but that can be handled after the game.
4.) Garrett looks bad even if Robbi was cheating.
A.) Same as above.
5.) Mistakes both of them made:
A.) Robbi should not have given the money back.
B.) Garrett should not have taken it back.
C.) Both of them talked too much. It wasn’t for Garrett to interrogate Robbi at the table in the first place; if he thought there was cheating, then it should be handled off-camera.
In the Aftermath
Since all of the focus is on Robbi, let me flip the script and put some of the focus on Garrett, and we will use his own words to do it. Here is his Twitter feed:
The first thing that he did was give a full breakdown of the hand in which he described it as, “Impossible,” for Robbi to call in that situation. With that, the reader is immediately told that Garrett’s opinion is that Robbi absolutely cheated and nothing will ever convince him otherwise.
Garrett then states that he reviewed a few of her hands and points out instances where Robbi folded bluff catchers, you know, because poker players are totally NOT supposed to mix something like that up. Furthermore, whether or not you will call with a bluff catcher also can depend on, you know, whether or not you think the person is bluffing.
Beyond that, the commentator on the program remarked on Robbi calling with J8 when she was drawing dead on a previous hand. We also see her call a bad two pair against two players who both had trips a couple of hands later.
Maybe, just maybe, Robbi is not a textbook poker player. Who would have guessed?
The second page of his explanation suggests that she had a hidden device that would vibrate when she has the best hand, but his, “Unorthodox,” decision to go all-in, with a straight flush draw against a weak raiser by the way and her decision to call leads him to believe that she had the best hand.
With only one small problem: She didn’t.
Nope, given what had been folded, Garrett was actually the favorite to win that hand.
This is just another case of Garrett trying to reframe the argument and the series of events, which is there for anyone to watch, to make his case stronger. The first thing he couldn’t stand is that the great Garrett Adelstein got read for having garbage and got called on a super-aggressive shove; that immediately must have been cheating, right?
The second thing that he couldn’t stand is that not 100% of the people who watched this event transpire are in agreement with him.
The third thing he couldn’t stand is that it must have occurred to him that a sample size of one, to absolutely declare someone has cheated, is quite small.
Everything after the hand was just him trying to build a stronger case. As I mentioned above, he tried to catch Robbi in a lie that she never told as she never once claimed to have a straight draw.
Garrett suggests on the third page that she had perhaps had a way to hack into the card reader, so would perhaps know what the turn and river would be. The only problem with that is she would have to know the next two cards because she decided to run it twice. If she only knew the river card, and knew she was winning, then she should have only wanted to run it once.
Also, when Garrett said, “That one’s yours,” after the first river, Robbi replied, “I don’t think so.”
Whatever happened, even if there was cheating, I tend to seriously doubt it was because she knew the river cards. Deciding to run it twice when your opponent wants it to be once makes no sense in that scenario.
Garrett then discussed the off-camera conversation that occurred between one of the venue’s owners, himself and Robbi. I assume most of his description of the way that conversation went down is either a total lie, or alternatively, remembering it the way he wants it to have happened. Further, it’s worth noting that, if she didn’t cheat, then she doesn’t owe anyone on Earth an explanation for her actions in that hand.
After that, Page 5 references Robbi’s line, “On every street was extremely out of character compared to prior hands.” Of course, that statement ignores the fact that his preflop raise was standard, her call there was defensible, his raise after the flop is not one that wanted a fold and her postflop call was also mathematically the correct decision. The only street where the action made no sense was the turn, except Garrett’s opening bet, which did make sense.
Also, imagine the change of narrative this would result in:
CHEATING: I, Garrett Adelsten, God of Poker, have proven that Robbi is cheating because I caught her with a bluff that is impossible for her to call because I knew she had nothing.
NOT CHEATING: I, Garrett Adelstein, who am still God of Poker, got caught against an extremely weak hand by an opponent who gave my shove no respect whatsoever.
After that, Garrett Adelstein, God of Poker, was SHOCKED that fewer than 100% of the people to watch the play agreed with him that Robbi must have cheated because Garrett Adelstein, God of Poker, says so. He had this to say:
The moment I was very likely cheated in the J4 hand, my professional life was always going to be forever altered. I’ll live w/ some peace at least knowing the $135K will be in the hands of a great cause. I don’t know when I’ll choose to play poker again.
Oh, so now it’s, “Very likely,” that he was cheated in that hand. What happened to being 100% sure that it’s, “Impossible,” and, “That’s not a poker hand,” Garrett? Did the opportunity to calm down and reflect on your actions in the situation lead you to conclude that it’s, at least, POSSIBLE that Robbi didn’t cheat?
Welcome to the world of being a fallible human being; I know plenty about it. The best thing that you can do is just admit that you might have been wrong.
Either way, it was really nice of Garrett to make such a generous donation of Robbi’s money to a good cause. I hope he sends her the tax write-off for that.
That’s basically it. He also says that it’s possible that he will get back into playing poker again (let’s hope not) and that, if he does, he would be willing to play at that venue as a result of new security measures that have been added.
He’s yet to flat out admit that he might have been wrong about Robbi cheating, though the one post where he amends his position to, “Very likely,” shows doubt that wasn’t there before.
Do I ever think Garrett will apologize to Robbi?
If you want to read more developments on Robbi’s side of the story, then I would suggest clicking on the thread referenced in, “The allegations.” It gets a bit weird, but I don’t know that any of it has any direct bearing on what happened on the table or that any of those new developments on that end will lead to any sort of proof.
This situation was a bit different because it was preflop, but another example of a move that I felt was pretty ridiculous involved Vanessa Selbst, and you can watch the video here:
In this game, Vanessa Selbst was involved in a hand with a friend of hers, Kevin Macphee.
Before I get into this hand, which won’t take long, I do want to mention that Vanessa Selbst retired from professional poker a few years back for several reasons that she listed. One of those reasons is because she had an, “Ambassadorship,” with PokerStars, but she no longer wanted to do that, in part, because she didn’t want to encourage players that they could play online and win money because she didn’t believe that to be true.
Good on her for that reason!
Of course, one of her other reasons is that the competition was getting better and poker was starting to feel more like a job to her, with more work, travel and study needed to remain at the top of the game. But, hey, that’s her prerogative. Whatever she’s doing, I hope things are going well for her! She has some all-time blow ups that can come off as seeming entitled, but she seems like a really nice and generally easy-going person. Judging from a quick scan of her Twitter, she also has a pretty good sense of humor.
Okay, let’s get to the hand:
Selbst looks at a pair of fours in the hole and raises to $17,000 out of position.
With a playable hand of Ac9h, MacPhee decides to stay in for a little bit and quickly made it $37,000 total. The announcer mentions that MacPhee is unlikely to give Vanessa credit for having a hand, which is probably because Selbst is one of the most aggressive players that I have ever seen achieve so much success at poker!
Selbst, after a few seconds of deliberation, makes it $79,000. To Selbst’s shock, MacPhee responds by five betting the pot to $131,000. Selbst thought that her continued aggression would result in a fold, but that didn’t happen.
Vanessa asks Kevin, “How much do you have left?” Kevin makes a slight adjustment to his chips and makes a gesture as if to say, “There it is.”
At that point, Selbst moves all-in, which shows that she’s not giving Kevin enough respect that he could beat her wired fours. She’s right insofar as her fours have the best of it, but I think part of that decision was her thinking that MacPhee would have already shoved if he had a better inside pair as he has already re-raised twice.
Macphee remarks, “I still probably have the best hand,” indicating that he is giving Selbst no respect whatsoever to actually have something. To his credit, it’s not THAT much disrespect as the only hands ahead of him are a wired pair or a superior ace.
Macphee muses, “Hmmm…what a sick spot. It’s almost enough out there (in the pot) for me to call it off, and I think I just dominate some of your range sometimes.” Basically, he thinks it is very likely that Selbst does not have a wired pair or a better ace.
When they announce their hands after Macphee’s call, and he says, “I have ace nine,” there is a look of pure disgust and contempt on Selbst’s face. She can’t believe that Macphee would call her shove with that, though one difference in this situation (compared to Robbi v. Garrett) is that Macphee was fairly pot committed at this point, so it would have been quite difficult for him to fold.
Macphee also does a better job that Robbi did of articulating his logic, “If you’re shoving fours, then you’re probably shoving ace-fives suited and stuff. I can’t imagine that you would exclude those from your range if fours are in there.”
Basically, he’s got Selbst dead to rights on that point. She’s so aggressive sometimes, and was likely playing that table super aggressive, that Macphee is saying her actions don’t necessarily mean that she has a hand. He thinks A-9 is beating a lot of her range and also recognizes that he has a chance against lower pairs that are also within her range, basically, anything below a pair of nines gives him a good chance and anything that is not a better ace means he has the best of it.
Of course, the two hands are totally different, but that was one that immediately popped into my head.
Making Poker Safer
Again, making poker cheating significantly less likely, or even the appearance of cheating, would be a very trivial affair:
- No chip readers and no cards with chips.
- No hole card cams.
- No devices at the table.
Will that happen? No.
Why won’t it happen? They care more about having viewers than game integrity.
Another thing that I would like to see is players not being allowed to, “Have a piece,” of other players when both players are playing at the same event, but especially for cash games.
If you want to eliminate the appearance of possible cheating, and collusion, then that is where I would start. If the situation was that Robbi could not have possibly known what Garrett was holding, then the only thing anyone would be talking about is Robbi Jade Lew making the sickest, though possibly still one of the dumbest, calls of all time.
Whether or not it wants to be, it would seem that the jury in this Court of Public Opinion is dismissed, for the time being. An independent investigation was conducted and could turn up no proof of cheating, though the investigators did go out of their way to say that no proof of cheating doesn’t mean that innocence can be proven.
Wait a minute…why does innocence ever need to be proven?
Wow. The Court of Public Opinion sucks.
I 90% did not follow this and had to really catch up ,..
first thing I agree with is that it is bad poker play to call a suspected bluff 'with nothing' ... you can be absolutely correct that it was a bluff and still get beat ! Poker 101?
also it was insane to give the money back. Hadn't thought about it being wrong to take it instead of setting it aside, but you are right about that too
I would say Poker 101, for sure. Even Robbi thought she had lost the first run of the River, at least, based on what she said.
Thank you! I think escrow would have been a reasonable proposal for Robbi to have made and would not fault Garrett if he had accepted that offer.
I take Robbi's side in this whole thing. In my opinion, Garrett is a crybaby and Robbi does not follow the textbook. Maybe that is her strategy. Personally, I'd rather see an well-endowed unconventional player at the table then yet another white male playing a boring game.
As to the argument that returning the money is a sign of guilt about cheating, I scoff. I can't explain why she did it. However, if she were cheating, does it sound reasonable she would return the money?
In the end, Robbi milked this for a lot of publicity, which will lead to more tournament invitations and more money. The way she is dressed, I doubt she is a shrinking violet when it comes to cameras. To Garrett, I say "man up." Maybe you got beat by a worse player in one hand. Even at high levels of the game, one would think it happens all the time.
Thank you for leaving a comment! I also agree, regardless of specific reasons, that she is a more entertaining personage to have at the table than is Garrett.
I agree with everything else you said, as well. Now that the investigation has concluded, it seems that Garrett is finally starting to get a little public flak for taking the money back. Robbi has also indicated that she may pursue legal action to recover those funds, though to do so, I would assume that she'd have to prove some sort of coercion.