APPT Cebu: Talk the talk

It takes a certain kind of personality to be a talker at the poker table. Most people, when placed in stressful situations where a single decision could be the different in hundreds of thousands of dollars, clam up tight as a snare drum. You put the withering gaze of Phil Ivey on me and I'd probably close my eyes, never mind my mouth.

But there are others, like Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu, who retain their natural talkativeness at the poker table and use it as a weapon to extract information. Three disciples of the Negreanu School of Poker Chatter are seated together on Table 2.

Vietnamese player Hoang Anh Do's English is rudimentary, though he doesn't let that stand in the way of a constant stream of speech. American Carter Gill's English is often unintelligible, as if his brain is thinking at light speed and it's all his tongue can do to keep up. Australian Jacky Wang's English is often hidden behind a smile and a laugh. Combined, the three are more than making up for the silence of the other 11 players left in the tournament.


Jacky, Do and Carter played a recent pot that Jacky opened from under the gun for 15,000. Do called from the small blind, then let out a noise of exasperation as Carter announced a re-raise. After thirty seconds he settled on 41,000 as the appropriate amount. Jacky thought a long time before folding. Do did likewise.

"No no. It's ok, you can play," pleaded Carter. "You know I only play one hand." He showed the black aces.

"Whew!" said Jacky, wiping his hand over his face for dramatic effect. "I was so close to jamming on you so hard..."

"You go all in, I call!" Do told Carter.

"I wish I'd known," replied Carter. "You have to tell me that next time!"

"What if I'd gone all in?" Jacky asked Do.

"No. You always kill me."

"I always kill you? No way. You always kill me!"

A short while later they were at it again, with Do opening for the minimum 16,000, Carter three-bet shoving for 100,000 and Jacky re-shoving for 200,000.

"Bye bye bye!" Do said to Carter, laughin maniacally as he pitched his cards into the muck. But it wasn't as bad as all that - Carter was flipping with A♣T♣ against 8♠8♦. Jacky flopped a set, 8♥4♥9♦.

"Well I've still got a 7 draw, right?" said Carter, always optimistic. He did pick up an open-ended straight draw with the J♥ turn but bricked out the river. He turned to Jacky, shook Jacky's hand, and said, "See ya later buddy."

That's one talker down, but the other are two are still in, competing hard against each other, jockeying for chips and for position in a tournament where the top prize isn't chump change ($141,000). They're having fun, with the game and with each other, while doing it. And who can argue with their success? They're both still sitting at the table with 12 players left in the tournament. 232 less talkative players have already hit the rail.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in Day 3