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Pokerstars Adventure Series: Kevin Hart Versus Usain Bolt

Earlier this year, Kevin Hart and Usain Bolt went head-to-head in Texas Hold'em poker. The fun and enthusiastic banter between these two provide a tonne of value to poker community. Not to mention that having these two at your table would be a blast.Their vibrant and competitive personalities really had great chemistry here and provide the poker community exactly what it needs - entertainment.

It's also educational to show beginners what how to have fun when learning poker from the ground up. Kevin brings a personality to the poker table that works magically. Although he is not competing a professional level yet, he has natural rhythm that make him unstoppable once he improves his skills.

There is more to learn from these two other than just their entertainment value. The poker they play and the challenges that they participate in together has many valuable lessons. Watching them shows you how the to handle poker related challenges from, an athlete’s perspective, as well as a comedian's perspective. There is a specific way that each of them go about the solving problems; this inevitably leads to one of them dominating the challenge and coming out on top.

Challenge 1: Ice Bath

Unfortunately the first challenge was a little anti-climatic. Kevin did not even manage to get in the bath. Probably the most disappointing challenge in the whole Pokerstars adventure series. Maybe this is because Kevin isn't used to the physical discomfort type of challenges to the same level as Usian.

Also it is tough to say whether this is a real indication of being able to learn poker to a high level. Maybe it could be compared to folding poor hands while you painfully pay all the blinds. What do you guys think?

Challenge 2: Truth Or Bluff

Their opponent has to call truth or bluff on what they claim is on the plate, suggesting an analogy for can you would read other people’s poker hand. When your opponent peeks at their cards, and you try to get a read off what they they have, based off their reaction; e.g. seeing if the other person likes their hand or not.

It was great to see Kevin get under Usain’s skin, with constantly giving the correct reads. It was clear that Kevin dominated this round; with three out of three correct reads by Kevin, and zero out of three correct reads by Usain. Kevin’s strong history in improvisational comedy may have somewhat contributed to his victory. It was easy for Kevin to outperform Usain when it comes to making something up on the spot. It looked as though Usain was on the back-foot for this entire challenge.

Challenge 3: Shock Challenge

Unlike the truth or bluff game, Kevin did not go so well. This time he was the one in back-foot. He said himself that he “answering out of fear”, and clearly did not display the confidence he had in the truth or bluff challenge And, unlike checking what was under a cloche and receiving a surprise, this challenge does not require any improvisation. There are no realtime surprises (other than the shocks, LOL).

They each came in prepared with their stories. Each story contains two true statements about their life, and their one made-up statement. They took turns in reading out their stories, and their opponent has to guess which one is false. A wrong guess will lead to a shock. A right guess will lead to them getting to shock their opponent. Usain took back the momentum here, clearly winning.

Challenge 4: Hot Chicken

Unsurprisingly, the Jamaican takes the victory here, seeming to handle the hot food a heck of a lot more than Kevin. You can see how deeply Usain is bluffing Kevin. He is doing a double bluff, which is what Daneil Negreanu calls a “reverse reverse”. When you keep changing up your reaction every single time, the other player is going to be so confused they will probably need to guess, removing any reading edges they have on you.

Challenge 5: Beach Race

They gave the movie star a 30 meter head start against the world’s fastest man. The justification for this was that Kevin is about 30 perfect shorter, or they could have just came straight out and said because Usain Bolt is the fastest man to ever live. Even with the 30 meter head start, I have to say that my money was still on Bolt. But somehow Kevin is faster than he looks, and with much surprise, watched him take the victory. I guess his regular jogs and workouts must have paid off.

It’s a great reminder of how little separation there is between the fastest runner in the world, and a regular adult. At the end of the 100 metres, there is only a few seconds time difference between them. However, these few seconds are the difference between a world champion and an everyday human. This principle can also be applied with poker.

There may only be a few subtle differences between recreation poker players and the best poker players in the world. But these subtle differences are the separation between a losing poker player, and the best poker players in the world (that win millions of dollars across their career).

Challenge 6: Heads-Up Poker

The Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) was held in the Bahamas. The two met with up with the host, Daniel Negreanu on the beach before heading to their heads up challenge. Before the game started, Usain had already earned the help from Pokerstars pro Fatima de Melo, as a prize for winning the previous challenges.

It’s questionable to say how much the Pokerstars professional really helped Usain in the decision making process for the short-term. Any casual poker player knows that poker is a long-term game, and you can never guarantee a win in the short term, no matter how skilled you are. They were also give challenge cards that they could use against each other in the hand, the loser of the pot does the challenge.

Usain got unlucky on the first few hands and his challenge was to eat 9.58 chicken nuggets in 9.58 seconds (a reference to his world record for the 100 meters in 9.58 seconds). It actually looked like he nearly finished them in time too without Kevin's interference, but Usain started laughing and failed.

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