He Said, She Said, Vol. 9: Jamie Gold vs. Sam Farha

The hand (from an entertaining episode of "High Stakes Poker"):
Blinds: 300/600 with a 1200 straddle.
Gold's stack: ~\$391,000
Farha's stack: Over \$391,000
Neither player's stack is actually given specifically during the hand, but adding up how much Jamie has put in the pot and has behind gives us a pretty close estimate.
Pre-flop Action: Jamie limps in UTG for \$1,200, it folds to Farha in late position who raises to \$4,200, Jamie calls. Table talk begins. Farha says if Jamie checks dark he'll bet dark. Jamie checks dark and Farha bets \$10,000. Farha claims Jamie is 'not brave enough' to raise him back in the dark. Jamie chats for a while then raises to \$30,000. Farha goes into the tank, gives a speech, then raises to \$90,000. Jamie freaks out about Farha having aces, then calls.
Flop:

Both players have agreed to have the flop checked through and go to the turn.

Turn:

The players argue for a moment then Jamie checks. The players now argue for a long time about checking it down, but Farha concludes he's down too much money. Farha declares he needs to protect his hand then bets \$100,000, Jamie calls.

River:

Both players argue for a while about whether they should bet or check it through. Jamie threatens to insta-call if Sammy bets anything. He repeats "I'll call, I'll cal,l I'll call," over and over. Farha banters for a while, tells Jamie to fold if he bets. Finally, Farha elects to check back and the players show down their hands.

Tony: I've watched this hand over a few times. In the end, I think trying to discuss the strategy between these two players in this degree of set-up hand is almost irrelevant. Instead, I'll break down selected lines of their dialogue and translate it into what the players are really saying.

Pre-flop: The action begins with Gold limping in under the gun for \$1,200 with KK. It folds to Sammy who announces raise and makes it \$4,200. The action is back on Gold.

(as Tony sees it…)

Gold: Should we get it over with now or afterwards… should we get it all in now or later?

(Yes! I'll throw him off with some clever misdirection by telling him my hand is strong, making him think it's weak.)

Farha: It's too much money.

(I don't care about money. I've got enough as it is.)

Gold calls the raise. Farha claims he'll bet in the dark if Gold checks, and Gold checks. Farha fires out \$10,000. Gold insists the dealer wait and that perhaps he, too, will bet in the dark. Gold says that if he only calls, then they'll see a turn. He elects to raise instead and makes it \$30,000 to go.

Farha: And there's no flop yet?

(Did you really just four-bet my aces before we even got to a flop?)

Gold: Reraise me! Reraise me! Reraise me!

(I've got kings! Reraise me! Reraise me! Reraise me!)

Gold stands up from the table quickly, rubbing his hands together and giggling.

Farha: That is so sick.

(This is so sweet.)

After some bantering, Sammy announces raise and makes it \$90,000.

Gold: You're raising!? You got the aces!

Farha: Yea. Well, uh, no, it's not that. It's that you don't have a hand. I'm betting against you. Well, I have a hand. You told me you have a hand. I have a hand.

(Farha: I mean no. It's not the aces that I have, despite telling you that I have aces. Yep, I have a hand, of some kind, of some ranking and distinction. A hand I assure, that above all else, is not aces. Ahem. Um, yes, so in summation, it's not aces I'm holding. Right.)

Gold: You're doing all this with the aces to me. Do you have the aces? 'Cause I'm in deep, I'm in deep, I'm in deep, I'm in deep, I'm in deep shit if you have the aces.

Gold elects to call and continues to banter about how Sammy was playing him with the aces the whole time. Both players agree that the action is to be checked through to the turn.

Celina: Gold starts out by limping. I guess this okay if he thinks the game is really loose and someone will raise for him. It's folded to Farha, who makes a pretty standard raise here to \$4,200. With Farha's aggressive reputation, and being in position, he could be raising a lot of hands. Raising A-A here is obvious. It folds back to Gold and he decides to just call. With Gold's loose and crazy reputation, just raising or reraising Sammy before the flop would be good. Then both players start talking and decide to check, bet, raise, and three-bet all in the dark. When Gold checks dark and Farha bets, that's not surprising. When Gold check-raises without caring what the flop is, I think Farha starts to read Gold's strength. He puts on a bit of a show, then raises him back \$60,000 more. I don't think Farha should have put on so much of an act himself, as it looked suspicious and a little obvious. Gold now thinks Farha has the aces and just calls his reraise.

Flop:
Both players indeed checked the flop, as agreed.

Turn:

Gold: You're doing all this to me with aces?

(I know you've got those aces. I wish I could force myself to fold right now.)

Farha: I'm not doing it to you, you did it to yourself. I mean, I bet \$10,000, you raise me, \$20,000 Jamie. I didn't do nothing to you. You're blaming me and now you're gonna hate me.

(You did this to yourself, Mr. Bluffer.)

Gold: I check. Do you wanna just check it down?

(I'm screwed. Please check it down, Sammy.)

Farha: Hold on a minute, just let me count my money.

Doyle Brunson [commenting on the play]: If my daddy knew I was losing in this poker game he'd come outta the grave and beat the heck out of me.

Farha: That is sick, Jamie, I can't put you on a hand; you're such a sick player.

Gold: I'm putting you on aces!

Farha declares he needs to protect his hand, then bets \$100,000.

Gold: I have to, I have to call you… 'cause I have a monster hand. I'm sorry.

(I'm not folding these kings here no matter how hard you try to tell me you have aces.)

The players bicker a little while longer about more action but Gold tells Farha he can no longer bet since Gold has already called. The dealer burns and turns the river card.

Celina: Gold thinks he's beat so he checks again. The players argue for a while and Farha bets out \$100,000. Farha knows he has the best hand and is trying to get value out of what he must certainly think is Q-Q or K-K for Gold. Gold protests then says he "can't fold" so he has to call. It's hard to say whether he should call here given how strangely the hand played out, since he really seemed to think Sammy had A-A. Given both players' reputations for bluffing and aggressiveness, it doesn't surprise me that Gold thinks his hand might be good for a bet on just one street.

River:

Farha: If you've got a ten you've got me.

(You don't have a ten.)

Gold: I got you anyway, I check.

(You've got me crushed. I check. Please don't bet.)

Gold: I'm calling. Whatever you do, I'm calling! I call! Go! Call! I can't, I'm not, you think I'm laying down my hand after putting in 200,000 dollars? You think I'm laying down my hand, so whatever you bet.

(If I yell and whine will it convince you to check it down? Check!)

Farha: I have you beat, why would I check if I have you beat, genius? I know you're not calling.

(I have you absolutely destroyed here. Prepare to get taken to value town.)

Gold: Sammy, I call! You don't have enough to get me off the hand, I put in too much, I can't fold. So just bet, I call. I bet, you bet, I call. I already said call. I call! I call! I call! I call! I call! I call! I call!

(Please don't value-bet me! Perhaps verbally bullying you will work! I call, I call, I call, I call!)

Farha: I understand. I want to count my money and put it in. Can I do that or what?

(I wanna savor every last minute of this sweet moment.)

Gold: Alright, then bet me. You want more money, than take it. Take it.

(Please don't bet. I'm seriously running out of money here, people.)

Farha: I like you. Muck your hand.

(Reverse psychology for the win.)

Gold: I have the best hand. I gave you an opportunity, I'm sorry. Don't forget I was nice the whole way, Sammy. I was trying to check it down with you. I tried. I tried.

Farha: Alright, I check, I got you beat.

(Fine, whatever. I'll let you off just this once, Gold. This is all play money, anyway.)

Celina: It's hard to tell on the river whether Farha thought the ten could have hit Gold or whether he was just being nice. I think he probably knew Gold had a pair and not a ten, and since Gold already declared he'd call if Sammy bet, which given his insistence looked pretty dodgy, I think he should have bet. He only has about half the pot left in his stack, and I think Gold ends up calling him often on the river. Gold doesn't seem to make a lot of big folds.