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Expert: The Odds of Lew Being Right Were "So Phenomenally Small"

Written by:
Nagesh Rath
Published on:
Oct/06/2022

In a cash game taking place at the Hustler Casino and live streamed, poker novice Robbi Jade Lew made a curious move with an unlikely hand against a very seasoned player Garrett Adelstein and won more than $200,000.

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This has led to accusations of cheating and has created a firestorm unlike anything the poker world has ever seen.

Zach Elwood, Author of "Reading Poker Tells" and the YouTube channel of the same name joins Eric Hunley of the Unstructured Podcast to help navigate the situation.

First, he distinguishes between cash games and actual tournaments.  This was a cash game where you can buy in and cash out whenever you want as opposed to a tournament where there is a set beginning and end.

The story took on a life of its own with allegations of vibrating devices used to gain an unfair advantage, Lew returning the funds and claims that Adelstein, a former Survivor contestant, threatened the newbie in a dark hallway.

Vibrators and threats aside, everybody seems to have an opinion as to whether Lew's move at the poker table constituted cheating.  Why not hear from an actual expert?

It should be noted that, based on what cards Adelson had, odds were in his favor that he should have won the hand in question.

Elwood tried to make things as simple as possible.

"He bet, she raised, he went all in and she made a huge call," Elwood explains.

That call was for somewhere in the neighborhood of $80,000.

This sparked suspicions as there was a jack high and no draw.

"Just jack high," Elwood says.  "The point is that, even if you thought your opponent was bluffing in that situation, they will almost always be even bluffing with a better hand than you because a lot of people would bluff with strong flush draws or, you know, strong straight draws or, you know, whatever it may be."

While Lew ended up being right, the odds of that happening, especially considering the large amount of money put in, "were so phenomenally small", Elwood says.

"It is just such a weird, objectively horrible play.  Poker is a game of thinking about all the range of hands an opponent could have.  There's a reason you won't see a player make the play that she made."

But he emphasizes a notable exception.

"Unless they are very beginner level and very nervous, you know, which gets into the realm of, like it's one thing to suspect that or find the hand suspicious, which is understandable because it is a strange hand, especially considering the stakes, but then it is another thing to be certain that she cheated when you saw this kinda like polarized responses right now."

Lew, it should be noted, recently won the $ 2,200 No Limit Hold'em - Get Even Survivor (Event #36) World Poker Tour - WPT Legends of Poker event in Los Angeles (Bell Gardens), cashing $20,000 and has placed among the top 5 in live events held over the past year.

- Nagesh Rath, Gambling911.com

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