Bill Chen: I chose math because it doesn’t need memory at all

We have already translated several previous episodes of The Grid podcast, Jennifer Shahade, in which guests talk about handouts. The hero of the 33rd issue was Bill Chen, author of The Mathematics of Poker. He complained of the memory, but tried to remember the distribution against Phil Ivey 10 years ago.

Shahade posted the screen of the distribution played in the heads-up of the $ 3,000 HORSE tournament in the 2010 World Series.

Limit Hold’em:

Bill opened from the button, Ivy on the BB supported.

On the flop, AsTh2h Ivy checked, Bill paid.

Turn 9c, Phil bet again, Chen rearranged, Ivy called.

River 7h, Ivy check-raised and took the pot without a showdown.

“Magnus [Carlsen] and I once met Bill in Monaco during the Melody Amber tournament,” Peter Heine Nielsen, the coach of the strongest modern chess player, suddenly wedged into the conversation. – A very nice guy. And I wrote an excellent book!

“Thanks, Peter,” Bill thanked. – It was during the EPT Monte Carlo more than 10 years ago? I recall something. Wow, that guy eventually became the world champion!

“I know the cards of both,” Bill Gavrilenko, a close friend of Bill and long-time online rival Ivy, returned the discussion to poker tracks. “But the problem is that Phil asked Bill not to tell the cards.” If you get his permission, I’ll gladly tell you. This is even better than you think!

“Matt, I certainly appreciate your ethics,” Matt Limros, another specialist in Limit Hold’em, entered into the conversation, “but that was 10 years ago.” Just tell us!

As a result, coercion and a good memory Gavrilenko helped Jennifer, and the podcast took place.

– At my place, Bill Chen is a two-time WSOP bracelet winner, author of the famous book Mathematics of Poker, and he played high stakes for many years. Together with friends – Terrence Chen and Matt Gavrilenko – they organized the so-called “House of Mathematicians”. And thanks to Matt, this podcast took place.

In the past few years, the poker community has not heard anything about Bill, he was too busy in other projects. Now he works at the investment company Susquehanna International Group [we have a separate article about it]. Bill leads the department responsible for analyzing sporting events.

He also plays go, bridge and chess. Thanks to the latter, we met when Bill turned to me to give him a few lessons. Thanks for coming!

In that hand, you threw on the river and stayed with a short stack. Phil beat you and won his 8th bracelet, and you received a consolation prize of $ 200,000.

– I remember the 3-hour heads-up with Phil. The wedding of my close friends was scheduled for the same day, and I had to help them with the organization. But in the end I spent the whole day at the poker table.

– You were the organizer of the whole wedding?

– It will be an exaggeration. They invited only the closest relatives and friends, there were a total of 12 people. The ceremony was held at Venetian casino, and I managed to help a little before the start of the tournament.

– But missed the wedding itself?

– They deliberately delayed the start and spent it during the lunch break, a car was waiting for me, and I managed to get to Venetian.

– Was the marriage successful?

– Yes, they are still together, expecting a second child.

– Let’s get to your hand.

– Lead Phil on the flop surprised me, especially after my raise pre-flop. He understands that I play aggressively, so he will often have the opportunity to play a check-raise. [Patrick Leonard on Twitter also called Phil’s flop play a big mistake, Jake Abdullah agreed with him.]

There is still a possibility that he believed that he had an advantage over me in the remaining 4 games, so he did not want to play Hold’em too aggressively.

– When I turned to you for the first time, you could not remember what you had.

– Haha, but that was 10 years ago. I have a terrible memory, I always forget where I put the keys. I have had this problem since childhood, I even tried to play a development game … What is it called? And, exactly – “Memory”. I learned to play it very well, but this did not solve the problem with the keys. I would surely recall the distribution in a day, a year or even two, but ten years is too long.

– We are lucky that your close friend Matt Gavrilenko watched your game, he told me what both of you had. When you and I were preparing, you still could remember your cards – you had QJo. Tell me about your actions in the distribution.

– I repeat that the lead BB after calling preflop is a rather unusual action. As a rule, in this situation, I just call. I can imagine that I bet and the opponent made a call – a purely psychological device to simplify the distribution. But in this situation, in my opinion, the player on the BB should check. I will bet very often, especially on the A-high flop. There are very few hands with which I will check. Lead will almost always call, I will throw it out only if there is absolutely nothing.

– Is a raise possible?

– Need to think. If I catch a very strong combination, such as a set, it is better to postpone a raise to the turn.

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