Negreanu and Matusow argue over Mariano’s river bet on Hustler

Terrance Reid
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Posted on: August 20, 2023 6:03 pm EDT

Popular YouTuber and poker player Mariano has had some big wins on Hustler Casino Live in recent history. Just this summer, he coolered Andy “Stacks” Tsai with a straight flush over the nut flush for a $610,000 pot.

Most would say that Mariano has run well and played well to cash in on some epic wins on the high-stakes, LA-based poker stream. At least one of those things ended yesterday when he booked a $226k loss on the show. One hand in particular has some legends of the game in disagreement.

Pocket aces: To bet river or not to bet river?

Playing blinds of $400/$800 with an $800 big blind ante, Dan “Jungleman” Cates opened to $2,600 in the hijack with KhQh. Mariano three-bet to $8,600 in the cutoff with AhAc. Jungleman made the call as the effective stack with $138k behind.

“Alright, Mariano,” said Jungleman. I have to give you some trash talk, this is the reverse of the pep talk. You’re going down.”

The flop was an action one as the 4hQcJh hit the board. Jungleman checked, and Mariano continued for $13,000. With top pair and a flush draw, Jungleman made the call.

Dan “Jungleman” Cates

The turn 2s was the brickiest of bricks; Jungleman checked again. Mariano sized up to $40,000, about a 90% pot bet. Going nowhere, Jungleman called again, leaving about a 0.7:1 stack-to-pot ratio behind.

The river brought the 8h, completing Jungleman’s flush. Still, he quickly checked in flow, leading to the key decision on which this entire article is focused. Should Mariano bet or check behind on the river?

“Does Mariano think that he can get value from worse here?” asked the commentator.

Mariano decided to move all in for the $84,400 in Jungleman’s stack, and Jungleman called immediately.

“You win, I have aces,” said Mariano. You can watch the full hand yourself here thanks to the Hustler YouTube channel, though I’m sure they’ll have a highlight reel featuring the hand soon.

Matusow and Negreanu disagree

It didn’t take long for opinions about the hand to begin swirling, one of which was from long-time player Mike Matusow.

Matusow thinks the river bet was atrocious
Mike Matusow
Mike Matusow

However, plenty of big names disagreed with “The Mouth,” including “Kid Poker” himself.

Negreanu breaks down why he thinks the bet is good; it’s all about image and combos

Hey, it’s not the first time Negreanu and Matusow disagree on something, and it won’t be the last. Apparently, there’s a history of prop betting between the two, and Matusow’s record on prop bets isn’t exactly stellar.

That’s why it was interesting, after some arguing back and forth, when Negreanu was willing to put his money where his mouth is.

Negreanu seemed eager to put some money on the line against Matusow

Negreanu suggested polling the “wizards” for their opinion, even dropping five names: Jason Koon, Andrew Lichtengerger, Doug Polk, FindingEQ, and Daniel Cates himself.

Matusow still wouldn’t back down. “Theirs [sic] zero chance more wizards will say bet over check, this is bet we’re making correct? I’m betting more will say check we’ll agree on 5 players and I’m betting 3 of the 5 will say it’s check. Bet?”

Negreanu agreed to those terms confidently. “I’ll bet whatever you want to lose. Not only will 3 of them say AA with a heart bets… all 5 will.”

Daniel Negreanu

Will a bet between the two legends happen? I doubt it, but it certainly got people talking.

It’s a beautiful thing. Even in the modern, solver-heavy poker world, so many can have a different opinion about a single hand that’s there for all of us to witness. Negreanu says to bet; Matusow says to check. What would you do?

Feature photo courtesy Hustler Casino Live