If you’ve been living under a very big, soundproofed rock for the last several weeks, you’ve probably heard about the uproar sparked by a single hand between Garrett Adelstein and Robbi Jade Lew on the Hustler Casino Live broadcast.

While the minutiae has been thoroughly scrutinized and is purely subjective, are there any lessons that we as an industry should seek to learn? We believe we have located five.

There are no unplayable hands
This is an opinion piece. We’re not looking for hand strategies from the best, nor are we excluding someone who has never seen a hand rating chart before. At the poker table, any hand is legal, but hearing the comments of hundreds of players who say the jack-four “can’t be played” was disheartening.

How about we all agree that from now on, any hand, absolutely any hand, may call any other hand and not be suspicious? Allow the jack-high call to soar. Let’s take it down to ten-high. Why not? Plenty of fantastic sketching hands contain a 10. We’re even open to the thought of someone calling a massive bluff with nine-high and then revealing to the group their boss-like personality. No, wait… it’s already done.

Cameras may be found anywhere
One of the most surprising aspects of watching police programs on TV is how stupid individuals can be on camera in front of a live audience. Going inside a convenience shop and doing anything other than purchasing lottery tickets or packaged water is risky. You’re doing it on camera, which has a strong possibility of winding up on television, where many meme-worthy moments may be repeated indefinitely.

Poker is becoming more similar. We’d say that unless you want to appear like a total fool in front of thousands of paying spectators, you shouldn’t bother picking up your wallet and playing a $20 sit ‘n’ go, but we don’t want to discourage anybody. In summary, no poker player should be embarrassed to be themselves, nor should anybody who is themselves be too concerned with how they seem on television.

Whether you’re making Action Manä eyes like Garret Adelstein or acting like a nodding puppy with your phone in your lap – this isn’t even a Mike Postle line, since everyone does it – if you’re camera, you’ve probably signed away your image rights. They may also become viral in an instant.

Balloons Are Like Reputations
A balloon takes a long time to inflate, then one prick from a pinhead and bam! It is just heated air escaping into the sky. Building a good poker reputation may seem insignificant in comparison to winning as much as possible from players weaker than you. But, unless you’re playing the largest cash games ever, the value of a superb poker reputation may go far further than the wins from any particular hand.

Fans suffer from poor game selection.
Poker players often complain about a lack of visibility, branding, marketing, or advertising starring them if they’make it’ into a sponsored position, so if you’re still out on the streets grinding, refusing to game select and taking on all comers could be worth it. The public can warm to any player once they see you’re not just in it for the money. Of course, the inverse is also true.

Kindness reigns supreme.
It may be simple to say from a distance, but treating each player with respect may have gone a long way toward defusing the situation and avoiding the second, potentially more severe crime from happening. Let’s reconstruct what occurred at Hustler Casino Live when Garret met Robbi as a Hollywood rom-com.


Do you have a jack-four?


(Embarrassed) You know what I mean, buddy!


It’s only a game, after all. Do you want to run it twice?


Yes, why not? It should be entertaining for the audience.


My parents should like it. I don’t mind either way since I have enough money.


You know what, I’m with you. Do you want to give this pot to charity?


That’s a fantastic concept. Do you want a protein shake?


I assumed you’d never ask.

We’re disappointed if you can’t hear a Hollywood soundtrack fade in over that makeover.

After a fortnight of controversy, biting back, and possibly severe charges that may be leveled on Bryan Sigbasal, who may never try to steal a chip from Lew’s stack in less dramatic circumstances, perhaps the enduring legacy of the ‘jack-four’ saga is what it takes us toward.

Hellmuth had a queen-four, whereas Lew had a jack-four. “Ten-four, Marty!” says the next logical hand in that sequence, referencing Back to the Future. How poker, and even the players involved, would wish they could go back in time.


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