Notes on the Garrett Adelstein - Robbi Jade Lew hand

  1. I've been saying for over a decade that poker cheating is more prevalent than most poker players say it is. So my priors for claims of the form "Is X cheating here?" are higher than most people's.
  2. Most of the not-cheating explanations of Lew's play don't address just how inconsistent with reasonable play Lew's hand is. There are many amateur archetypes: good amateur, try-harding amateur, legitimately good amateur, very casual amateur, drunk / drugged amateur, amateur hitting a breaking point against a perceived bully, and so on. Lew's turn play is not consistent with any of those. Different people play differently, and extremely unusual play is not proof of anything, but (again) it is often being mischaracterized.
  3. Specifically, many commentators are missing the fact that Adelstein's shove was for over $100k, which was roughly twice the pot. Both as a matter of fact as as a matter of what various player types would think, this just makes it very unlikely that jack-high nothing would find a reason to call.
  4. Relatedly, the fact that Lew was up over two previous streams is more important evidence than most analyses recognize. That is a very small sample, but it's a lot harder for bad players to put up those results than good ones. Suppose for simplicity that there are only two possibilities: Lew is a very competent amateur or a basically incompetent amateur. I'd guess that these results are about 2 to 4 times as likely for the former than the latter. If I were going to make a more serious study of this situation, I'd work to improve this estimate.
  5. Less concretely, I am with Doug Polk in thinking that a lot of the footage of Lew's tanking looks like "fake tanking" or something more like stalling. (More than anything it reminds me of people stalling in tournaments.)
  6. Again less concretely: the table talk and giving the money back seem more likely given scenarios where cheating is involved than given honest scenarios. I have literally never seen someone give money back in anything like this situation.
  7. This reminds me of POTRIPPER, the Absolute Poker superuser who (if memory serves) has roughly similar-looking hands.

So, cheating appears to be likely given the evidence I know of and my priors. I'd be grateful for information about the situation I might not know or be misjudging.


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