10 MAR 07
I always had the feeling when reading some poker books that pros instruct us on some tells they’ve seen, but keep the best ones to themselves. I’ve never been great about reading tells. Yesterday I encountered two that became very profitable.
Mike Caro, in his section of Super/System 2 said that most poker players are actors. Seeming weakness means strength and visa versa. A young Asian business major from USC was three seats to my left, and he had the whole Hiro Nakamura look going. He was a fairly good player, but he had a screaming tell. It was so unbelievable that I forced myself not to act on it until I could confirm it at least three times. Sure enough, it happened all three.
When he had a hand, he would place his bet across the line on the felt. When he was drawing, he would stack his chips in front of him (behind the line) and then push his chips across the line with the tips of his finger nails. What made this a profitable tell was that he was good enough to fold when my raise priced him out of an obvious draw.
The other tell was different. I’m not sure if I can call it an actual tell. Sir Robert is a legend at the Muckleshoot. He must have tons of money because there is absolutely no way he can be a profitable poker player, yet I always see him in the biggest games they run. Strangely, the few times I’ve played with him, I’ve seen him come away a winner every time. His strategy is this – Play Every Hand and Suck Out.
The tell is foreknowledge that you cannot bluff him out of a pot. He’s completely predictable. If he has bottom pair, he will call you to the river - an ultimate high-stakes calling station. The trick is, if you can isolate him, don’t bet if there is a chance he has you beat. You simply cannot put him on a hand. The other tell is, if he has been calling all the way and then bets into you on the river, you are beat. I don’t care if you flopped a set. I don’t care how non-scary the river card looks. You are beat – fold.
These two tells lead to yet another very profitable session. I’m ready for Vegas. Two weeks!