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27/10/2010 No. 95
he Guardian Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Wed 27 Oct 2010
When Gus played Phil ...

A conversation between Gus Hansen and Phil Ivey provides a fascinating insight into how poker should be played

This week's column is a dialogue. It's a conversation I found fascinating, between four-times WPT champion Gus Hansen and international genius Phil Ivey, when they got heads up in our Late Night Poker heat.

At this point, Hansen has about 33k in chips, Ivey about 27k. Blinds are 250-500. Ivey raises to 1500 with QQ, Hansen reraises to 5000 with KJ, and Ivey moves all in. Hansen laughs. Mathematically, he should call against an underpair or a medium/weak ace (or, of course, a bluff), and fold against the hand Ivey actually has.

PI He's gonna think for ever, then call.

GH No, I'm actually contemplating a fold.

PI Oh. Really?

GH Even though that's not really my MO.

[Ivey laughs and goes quiet.]

GH You know what, just for fun I'll fold one hand.

PI Strong play.

GH I don't know if it is or not. It's probably bad. You should turn those over, just to tilt me.

PI It's big. It wouldn't tilt you.

GH Oh, it might. I'm making a pretty big laydown here. [He folds. They laugh.]

And what's interesting? The conversation is completely honest on both sides – right down to the silence from Ivey when Hansen says he's considering the fold.

Take heed, you who pull anguished faces when holding a strong hand; who ask, "Will you show me if I pass?" when you have no intention of passing; who perform "fake tells" you've read about in books.

These great players simply don't mess around with any of that. They respect each other and the cards. Table talk, active tilting and physical fakery is not "all part of the game" – it's a pointless pantomime, to be sloughed off when you take it seriously.
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