Let's throw it to the always-stellar Dr. Pauly for the hand coverage:
Moon opened from UTG for 1.3M. Begleiter thee-bet to 3.9M. Moon smooth called. The flop was 4s-3s-2d. Moon checked. Begleiter bet 5.35M. Moon went for the double-fisted check-raise and pulled out 15M in chips. Begleiter tanked for a minute before he announced "All in" for 21M total or 6M more.In the 24 hours or so following that fateful fold, the buzz has reached fever pitch. What was Moon thinking? What could have kept him from calling with nearly 9:1 pot odds? And, most of all, what had he been holding?
Moon mouthed, "Wow."
Then the worst fold in the history of tournament poker ensued. Moon folded.
Well, now I know. Darvin told me.
He was holding 5s6s for the nut straight and a shot at a flush or even a straight flush. But before you think that this laydown was some nefarious chip-dump or one of the worst cases of hand-misreading in history, be aware: The fold was a part of Moon's strategy. His strategy to win.
"I had to fold there, man," he told me in a hasty phone conversation this afternoon. "If I had called, I'd have been getting it in way, way, WAY ahead. And that just went against my general strategy."
Moon calls it his "Get it in behind" strategy, and he held to it religiously throughout the grueling seventeen-hour final table.
"I mean, look, man," Moon confided, "I've been playing a lot of online poker these days, and those dudes just seem to win a LOT getting it all in ahead of time, as long as they got the worst hand of the fellow calling him. It just seemed like a foolproof strategy. So I'm going to the deck mainly with Ace Queen, sometimes King Nine or something to mix it up, but I wanna be sure I'm always a substantial underdog, so that I am 90% sure to win the hand."
Moon denies misplaying the hand in question, or displaying a lack of understanding of pot odds. "Look, you have to understand, I had the nut straight," he said. "I mean, it was a lock hand with other cards still comin' that might put me in jeopardy of an even stronger hand. I just can't put any extra money in the pot under those circumstances, no matter how compelling the pot odds. I mean, I was trying to win the hand there by forcing a fold. I figured it was my only way to possibly win was by betting, because obviously holding the nuts I can't continue. It's just not good poker to give your opponent a chance to kick your junk when you can save your chips for a better spot, like when he's got Ace King and you've got Ace Six or something, and you can just wind up and junk-kick him without mercy. Just ask that Cada kid. He's figured out how to get his chips in even worse than I've been able to, and he's got even more chips than I do."
Joe Cada was unavailable for comment.
Image courtesy of Poker From The Rail.