Robbi Jade Lew shares her secrets to success | PokerDeals Podcast Episode 13

1 year ago

Over a year after the infamous hand that thrust Robbi into the poker limelight, she is still widely known in the industry and has become somewhat of an icon amongst recreational players who want to battle against the best. Our own Ryan Dreyer spoke with her about how she got into poker, the hand itself, and life after the controversy.

Getting Into Poker

After starting poker as a hobby with her family during the pandemic, Robbi found herself on the Hustler Casino livestream after the lockdown ended – a decision that would completely transform her life. In the aftermath of the infamous hand against Garrett Adelstein, Robbi Jade Lew was the name on everyone’s lips; who was she? How did she get into the game? Is she a cheater? Is she a genius?

The reality, as it often is, is much simpler than that; she’s just a woman who loves the game and wants to see the game grow. Robbi’s main game was tournament poker, as that was the format she had been coached in, and had relatively decent success at the 2022 WSOP. The buzz of a successful female player who’s up and coming in the game quickly found its way to the Hustler Casino Live stream, and she was naturally invited on.

Playing High Stakes

As someone who had plenty of experience working in a male-dominated environment, Robbi felt that she was well-placed to feature on the live stream and give it her best shot. Even with superstar pros like Phil Ivey on the table, Robbi was unphased; she admitted that she did not grow up watching poker and wasn’t star-struck in the way that many of us would be if we saw Phil Ivey sit opposite us.

She jumped in head first, playing the highest stakes she could find – she wanted to play against the best and become the best, no matter what. Her success in her previous life gave her the flexibility to pursue poker at levels that would far exceed those of the average beginner. That’s what allowed her to play $10K WSOP tournaments with Phil Ivey, and what eventually led her to the J4 hand.

Intro To Hustler Casino Live

After initially being wary of playing on a live stream as she didn’t want to expose her playing style, Robbi was invited to play after winning a tournament at the Bicycle Casino in L.A. In her first appearance, she performed moderately well, making around $1,000, but her second appearance was incredibly profitable for her, as she made over $100,000. That performance prompted Ryan Feldman to ask if she’d like to play in the big game, to which Robbi agreed.

While she was being partially bankrolled by Rip, Robbi still had her huge profit from the week before, and split her total stake into two buy-ins; the initial amount she sat with, and the ~$130,000 she had behind her. Robbi went on to say one of the reasons she called Garrett in that hand was because she knew she had plenty of money left behind her, and would be able to just buy back in if her read was incorrect.

The Infamous J4 Hand

When guiding us through the decision-making in the J4 hand, Robbi could look back and laugh at the looseness of her call but went on to say that she thinks J4/J3 would be the bottom of her defending range on that flop. On the TT9 flop, Robbi explains that she has a backdoor flush draw and backdoor straight draw so she wasn’t going to go anywhere against a c-bet from the aggressive Garrett.

While it’s loose, many people have said that the flop play is understandable; it’s the turn play where things get crazy. Robbi does clarify that she thought she had J3 rather than J4, so when the offsuit 3 hit the turn, she thought she had a bluff catcher against hands like ace high, and raised the turn to see if he had anything better than that. When she faced the shove, Robbi had noticed that she had been making good calls against Garrett when she felt like she should fold, so she looked him down and decided that he just didn’t have it and that her pair of threes might be good – so she made the call.

When the cards were turned over, she saw the good news that her read was correct! Garrett was on a draw, and she had the best hand. However, when she turned her own hand over, she saw the bad news that she misread her hand, and that’s when the shock really set in for her. However, the poker gods rewarded her gutsy call, and even though they ran it twice, Robbi scooped.

Aftermath Of The Hand

Despite not being happy with how Garrett handled things, Robbi understood the shock that he must have felt at the time, particularly as she felt that not many people made big calls against Garrett in those games. When speaking on the altercation that happened after, Robbi explained that she didn’t even anticipate the cheating allegations that were about to be levelled at her, she just thought that Garrett was being a big baby for losing a hand!

She details how she was taken to a secluded room away from the rest of the poker area and was confronted with the image of Ryan Feldman stressing out and Garrett furious about the situation. After learning that the game was still in progress and worried about production, Robbi asked what she could do to make things right, which was the point that Garrett asked for his money back.

Robbi then agreed to give him half the pot, on the condition that he would come back and finish the stream. When she was in the process of giving Garrett his refund, that’s when Rip noticed what was happening, and given he was partially staking her in the game, that’s when the drama ensued. Looking back on the hand, Robbi said that she wished she immediately said that she thought she had J3, but admits she was too embarrassed to do it at the time.

Dealing With Life After J4

Despite it being over a year since the hand took place, Robbi still has to deal with accusations of cheating from random players, but she’s not letting it get her down. While the level of celebrity that she has in the poker world is still strange, she was touched by the overwhelming amount of love and support she received from people who are on her side.

After hearing stories of how she inspired other women to play, Robbi has really embraced the role of poker celebrity and has been using it to try and grow the game and increase the number of women who take part. While it’s far from what she wanted or expected from poker, she’s taken the responsibility she’s been given and is trying to use it as a tool for good, and for that, you have to applaud her.

Robbi teased a documentary on the J4 hand as well as a book in the works, so look out for those in the future!

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