This is an excerpt from my upcoming book Exploiting Poker Tells
, which should be published and publicly available about two weeks from now.
Hand #118: Snap bet from decent aggro player
$5-10 NLHE cash game
An experienced and very aggressive player in late position raises to $35. I call in the BB with A♠ T♣.
The flop is T♥ 9♠ 5♣. I check and he bets $50. I call.
The turn is another 5: the 5♠. I check and he bets $140 into $175. I call.
The river is the 2♣.
After a few seconds I check and he immediately, super quickly, throws chips into the pot: $370 into $455.
Based on my knowledge of this player, this is very unlikely to be a bluff, for a few reasons:
- This player and I have history. He knows that I know that he’s very aggressive and capable of making big and frequent bluffs. For this reason, he’d be unlikely to do something like this because it might make it seem like he’s just desperately bombing as a bluff.
- This player is generally balanced with his bet-timing. He’s fully capable of betting quickly when bluffing, but even his quick bets are typically after a second or two. This strangely quick bet here is a sign that he’s relaxed and not really concerned with how his behavior is interpreted. (This boils down to the general rule of: strange behavior from players making big bets tends to indicate strength.)
- This player is experienced. He’s not the type to feel “painted into a corner” and pressured to bluff, which will sometimes be a factor when trying to interpret immediate bets from recreational players.
- This was unusual behavior for him. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen him bet this quickly. Because it was strange for him, he was less likely to be balanced with it.
For all of these reasons, I was confident he had a very strong hand. Even if I thought this was only a weakly reliable strong-hand tell, this would be helpful in deciding a borderline call/fold decision. I folded and he showed 5♦ 5♥ for quads.
Note that I'm not saying that all immediate bets generally mean strength. Immediate large bets are usually polarizing, meaning indicating either a very weak or very strong hand, and you generally need other clues and reasons to feel confident about whether it means weakness or strength in any situation.