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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

January 5, 2004

The Stone-Cold Bluff

by Luckbox

Bluffing is overrated.

Perhaps thats overstating it a bit. When the limits are low, bluffing is often useless. The higher the limits, the more essential bluffing becomes for a winning session.

The 2003 World Series of Poker featured one of the best stone-cold bluffs of all-time. And it helped Chris Moneymaker become a millionaire.

There's no question that Moneymaker was extremely lucky in his run to the title. After all, you have to get lucky to win. Robert Varkonyi had a tremendous run of luck the year before.

Two hands really demonstrate how lucky Moneymaker really was. First, post-flop all-in with a pair of 8's against a pair of aces. The 8 came on the turn and Moneymaker won the hand. Second, post-turn all-in with three Q's against a full house. The ace on the river filled Moneymaker's boat knocking out Phil Ivey.

However, when it came to heads up play, it wasn't luck, but skill, that made the difference.

Moneymaker is dealt 4-7, both spades. Sam Farha gets K-9. The flop comes 2-9-6, with the 6 being a spade. Moneymaker's got nothing while Farha has top pair. Farha bets and Moneymaker calls.

The turn is the 8 of spades. That gives Moneymaker a flush draw and an open ended straight draw. Farha bets and Moneymaker makes a huge raise. Farha calls.

The river is a harmless 3 of hearts. Moneymaker's got nothing. Farha checks and Moneymaker goes all-in.

That's a stone-cold bluff. I'm not talking about buying a pot. Any of us can do that. I'm talking about putting everything on the line when you absolutely, positively know that you can not win the hand.

Sam Farha knew in his gut that Moneymaker was bluffing. He even said something like, "Missed your flush, huh?" However, Farha's head overruled his gut and that was the turning point of the championship.

Farha folded and Moneymaker collected about $3 million after the next showdown.

Could I push that many chips into the middle of the table knowing I have a loser? I'm not sure I could.

Moneymaker got ripped by all the poker (wanabee) experts for all of his terrible plays. I give him a little more credit. He's got the bracelet, and the cajones to make the stone-cold bluff.

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