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When I Was A Donk -- Chad Brown

Top Pros Share Their Early Mistakes

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Chad BrownIn this new series, Card Player asks top pros to rewind back to their humble beginnings and provide insights regarding the mistakes, leaks, and deficiencies that they had to overcome in order to improve their games.

Chad Brown is considered to be one of the most consistent players on the tournament circuit today. The 50-year-old former actor broke out in 2005, making final tables of televised World Series of Poker Circuit events in both Atlantic City and San Diego.

In 2007, he finished second in the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, and he has made eight World Series of Poker final tables. In 2009, he won the Gulf Coast Poker Championship in Biloxi, Mississippi. All in all, he has earned more than $3.7 million in his tournament career.

Here, Brown talks about one of his earliest mistakes, and how it cost him at a televised final table.

“I was very inexperienced at no-limit hold’em around the poker boom. In fact, it wasn’t until 2004 that I had ever played a no-limit hold’em tournament. I had always been a limit player. The only reason I even made the switch was because I realized early on that those tournaments were providing players television exposure, and, of course, being a former actor, that appealed to me. Ironically, one of my early leaks was actually caught on ESPN at the 2005 World Series of Poker Circuit event in Atlantic City.

“I was at the final table and decided to limp in from under the gun, and nearly everyone else at the table did the same. I had played a lot with the guy in the big blind, an amateur who was pretty much playing his hands faceup.

“Whenever he had a really big hand, he’d raise big. When he had a marginal hand, like any two paint cards, he’d make just a small raise, which is what he did. I guess today, it would be considered a really weak squeeze attempt.

“Looking back, I should have reraised big to isolate him in position, especially since I knew what he was holding. Instead, I decided to just call his raise, making it correct for a few others to do the same. The way the hand worked out, I ended up losing a pretty big pot and the chip lead.

“In hindsight, it didn’t even matter that I had the best hand preflop. The point is that I knew what he held and I should have pounced on that weakness. If I had reraised, not only could I have taken it down right there, but even if I was called, I at least would have been able to play the rest of the hand in position against an amateur who was basically playing faceup.

“It’s a hand that has always stuck with me, and it’s safe to say that I’ve learned my lesson. I’m not going to say that it’s always incorrect to limp in from under the gun, because sometimes I do that to set people up when I have a big pocket pair. But it is incorrect when you don’t take advantage of certain situations, mainly position and the weaker players at the table.” Spade Suit