How to win, the Chino way
July 21, 2011, Posted by Pokerfarm
Poker is a game of edges. In any given situation, your profit or loss is determined by a combination of chance and your edge over your opposition. Your edge could be your cards, your position, your skill or your reads. It could be huge or it could be razor-thin. Many dedicated students devote hundred of hours to poring over hand histories, reading books, watching videos and engaging in strategy discussions, all to increase their edge by a small degree. Even a modest advantage over ones opponents, when taken over a large sample, results in a steady win rate.
And then, once in a while, a player of real vision and ingenuity comes along and discovers a new and hitherto unsuspected way of beating the game. Such a player is David “Chino” Rheem. He realised that by taking on debts or other obligations, and then not paying them, he could essentially freeroll in poker games, proposition bets, and a host of other gambling activities.
For example, WSOP 2011 November Nine-member Ben Lamb recently made a number of prop bets with Rheem over the outcome of a heads-up match they were both watching. In anticipation of Chino’s formidable gambling tactics, Lamb made sure Rheem was carrying enough money to pay for the bets. Rheem lost both wagers, but, brilliantly, decided not to pay Lamb the money he was owed. Instead, upon losing, Rheem immediately spent $2.5k entering a poker tournament that was about to commence. He offered to pay the $3.5k he had left on the spot and the remaining money at a later date. Lamb agreed, Rheem began to count out the money, and then, as Lamb was distracted by a big pot in a PLO game he was involved in, Rheem left the casino.
Where did Chino go?
That was not an isolated moment of inspiration - there are literally hundreds of stories from respected players all over the internet on the topic of being fooled by Chino’s infamous “repayment bluff”. He often leverages friendships or recent, large tournament wins to make the deception more convincing. While many poker players may think that someone who has won over four million dollars in live tournaments would be a safe person to lend money to, they underestimate Rheem’s devious tactical skills, and inexhaustible capacity for going busto.
While Chino’s strategy is novel, it’s hopefully obvious how profitable it is to collect winnings and renege on losses. However, while very +EV, this technique is not without its critics. Chino has fast acquired a fearsome reputation for his habit of not repaying debts, and some players feel that it is somehow unfair or runs contrary to the spirit of the game.
Such sentiments are exemplified by the video below in which Chino is confronted over his controversial behaviour, which demonstrates the power of Rheem’s strategy to not only increase EV, but also to tilt and distract other players, giving Chino an even greater advantage.
It’s not unusual for a new strategy to be unpopular with the established player base. When internet poker first became popular and led to a more aggressive dynamic in Texas hold’em than had existed in the past, many live game regulars felt that “internet kids” did not embody the true spirit of the game. Chino’s strategy of being a degenerate has prompted similar sentiments, but regardless, it could revolutionise online poker and the wider gambling world. Imagine playing on an online poker site where you collected winnings but didn’t honour losses - everyone would be rich in no time!