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Poker Tells/Behavior, hosted by: Zachary Elwood Discussions about poker tells, behavior, and psychology, with a focus on live poker.

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Old 09-03-2015, 05:10 PM   #1
sirin
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What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

I am preparing for a live tournament, and have decided that I need to prioritize being as impassive as possible in my actions. In the past I would sometimes feel like I should try to act a certain way, eg when I 3bet with AA I would try to look worried, but I realize that this is very likely to backfire given that I am terrible actor and have only just started to pay attention to body language.

The other thing is that I am quite confident that my game is technically good, so its in my interests to let the cards speak for themselves. If I make good decisions with my hands I would hate for something in my demeanour to influence my opponents decision.

So the conclusion I came to is that I should just announce my action and then sit quietly, try to regulate my breathing, and look at the flop with a soft focus. (Is this a good approach by the way?)

But the one problem is what to do facing a direct question. Say I've just bet the river, and villain leans forwards and starts asking me questions. I think I would find it difficult to completely ignore that, and in trying to do so I might become more stressed and give something away. In the past I usually respond by saying something like "Well its your job to figure that out so I won't say any more", which I do regardless of what I have, but obviously the worry is that I give something away by doing that.

So I'm interested to see how people approach this spot. Any more ideas on how to avoid giving off tells myself after I've acted would be appreciated.
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Old 09-03-2015, 06:33 PM   #2
apokerplayer
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

When in doubt, just be quiet and stoic in all situations. If you respond the same way each time, they can get nothing from you.

I would suggest if you are worried, also be aware of your eye contact with the opponent, as you might accidentally give away your relaxation/anxiety level by how much eye contact you make with him, or the quality of your eye contact. So I'd just ignore the questions basically, and keep looking at the table, or wherever you are looking, and stay stoic.

If you were more comfortable, you might think about scripted responses to certain common questions. Something like, "I can't help you." But, as you say, the problem with making any sort of response is you never know how they may affect people. Which is why, when in doubt, silence is golden. You can't go wrong by giving away no information.
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Old 09-04-2015, 02:45 PM   #3
dickwiggle
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

I usually tell total strangers my hand if I want them to call. If they call and the sitch comes up again at the same table I do the same. The third time (hopefully a huge pot) I'll tell a lie based on how I want the action to turn out.

If I don't want a call, I will usually try to appear like I'm goading them into calling with stuff like "it's not that much money call and I'll show you" or "if you have to ask you aren't calling/know I have it. Stop wasting everyone's time and give me your money."

I do believe that I pull this off better than others because I am naturally quick on my feet in conversation but I think with practice you can quickly get good at pushing buttons.
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Old 09-05-2015, 02:02 PM   #4
SpewingIsMyMove
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

Because of ingrained social norms, a lot of people get nervous ignoring a direct question, and that stress can sometimes manifest a tell. Some people are also ingrained agianst lying, so answering a question with a less rthan truthful response can manifest a tell.

If I feel that I cannot sit in silence without giving away a tell, what I will do is use a generic, ambiguous comment that can be interpreted many ways, usually the phrase 'I like my hand'. This seems to be something I can say that doesn't trigger any deep rooted reactions in my mind.

You can also practice lying or ignoring your opponent so that it comes naturally. By natural inclination and societal conditioning, neither act is really natural, which is why it can yield a tell. I got comfortable doing this by lying about what I had after the hand.
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Old 09-05-2015, 05:24 PM   #5
Doc T River
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

Ignore them or say, "You want answers? Buy an encylopedia."
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Old 09-05-2015, 06:13 PM   #6
Queen of No
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

Q: "Why did you raise so much"
A: "Because I want more money"

~~~

Q: "Do you have XXXXX"?
A: "Do you?" or "I hope you don't" (I use the latter when I have the case card(s) for quads or I have a boat)
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:16 PM   #7
Flopdanuts
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

I respond to questions with "clock"
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Old 09-06-2015, 11:58 PM   #8
esspoker
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

As in all instances when I am asked a direct question, I babble incoherently and then run for the nearest exit
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Old 09-08-2015, 03:43 AM   #9
Allen Degeneret
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

Preferrably fart really loud. Or barf if you can't let one go.
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Old 09-10-2015, 06:14 PM   #10
namisgr11
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

Villain: Do you want me to call?

Me: So you want me to start playing your hands as well as mine?
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Old 09-10-2015, 11:48 PM   #11
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

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Old 09-13-2015, 12:15 PM   #12
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

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Originally Posted by foatie View Post
lol, hadn't seen that interview. I'm just going to say "thanks for asking" today if somebody tries to get a read on me by asking a question.
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Old 09-14-2015, 10:53 PM   #13
sirin
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

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Originally Posted by apokerplayer View Post
When in doubt, just be quiet and stoic in all situations. If you respond the same way each time, they can get nothing from you.

I would suggest if you are worried, also be aware of your eye contact with the opponent, as you might accidentally give away your relaxation/anxiety level by how much eye contact you make with him, or the quality of your eye contact. So I'd just ignore the questions basically, and keep looking at the table, or wherever you are looking, and stay stoic.

If you were more comfortable, you might think about scripted responses to certain common questions. Something like, "I can't help you." But, as you say, the problem with making any sort of response is you never know how they may affect people. Which is why, when in doubt, silence is golden. You can't go wrong by giving away no information.
Thanks, I basically just decided to try to say nothing. Its interesting that you mention the eye relaxation thing, I've noticed that often when I'm playing poker my eyes are kind of popping out a little, but that if I'm aware of it I can sort of relax them, although that's under normal circumstances, if I'm bluffing the river in a big pot that's something else entirely!
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:21 AM   #14
TheMurderShow
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

lol the response, buy an encyclopedia is great imo. and yes silence is golden ,don't give the live pros anything, anything at all that could aid them in a decision.
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Old 09-16-2015, 04:53 PM   #15
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

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Originally Posted by Flopdanuts View Post
I respond to questions with "clock"
If I say anything its this. Usually I just ignore any questions and be quiet.
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Old 09-25-2015, 04:59 PM   #16
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

picking a spot at the table and staring at it is best if your like you say.
but its worth while to practice these things.
I could walk into a crowded bar and stay for hours without uttering a word.
At a poker table you can't shut me up.
I have been playing for 20+ yrs in casino's around the country and people notice the out of towner.
I'll talk non stop about anything and everything my goal is to get folks relaxed, entertained and willing to happily give me all there money.
how I address a question is based on what I want them to do and my read on them.
Watch Helmuth thru all the BS is info gathering at its best.
You get nervous and don't want to try things at the table,
try this
get on a crowded elevator near the door, turn and face everyone then just randomly speak to whoever makes eye contact.
at first you stammer== studder== blush etc... but after a while feels natural you are relaxed and normal no big deal, just like at the table when asked a direct question.
not in a hand talk; to the player either side of you or across about whatever
the weather, the football game, the big traffic jam the hot waitress whatever.

fish like to lose to a kind friendly soul ;not the know it all A-hole and there's always one of these at any table.....
to the know it alls my go to is "you been telling everyone all nite how to play there hands what do you need my help for" always gets a laugh from everyone else
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Old 09-25-2015, 09:14 PM   #17
Nozsr
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

""you been telling everyone all nite how to play there hands what do you need my help for" always gets a laugh from everyone else"

Good one, I will use it for sure.
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Old 09-25-2015, 09:55 PM   #18
volcano41
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

I have no problem being silent. It does get annoying when someone tanks forever. Im not nervous about my hand but im thinking "cmon already"
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Old 10-01-2015, 07:51 AM   #19
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

Don't be afraid to answer? This is ridiculous. I find these questions are catered to the introverts out there. Conversation never hurt anyone and may help with dynamics in your favor.
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Old 10-01-2015, 11:46 PM   #20
SpewingIsMyMove
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

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Originally Posted by tdotrocket View Post
Don't be afraid to answer? This is ridiculous. I find these questions are catered to the introverts out there. Conversation never hurt anyone and may help with dynamics in your favor.
Unless you are pretty sure that you can control your voice (stress makes your voice crack) and that you can think on your feet to avoid giving away hand strength, this is not good advice. It has nothing to do with introvert versus extrovert, but the ability to hide your tells.
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Old 10-03-2015, 05:58 AM   #21
volcano41
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

I talk constantly at the table. But never about my hand. I shut up whether its a bluff or the nuts. The funniest thing I see is people fishing for info without even looking at the villain during the questioning.
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:06 PM   #22
bradha26
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

I was in a live tournament yesterday and pushed over another players raise pre-flop. It was folded around to the original raiser and he went into the tank for a while. I was trying to not show anything and was looking away from him. Eventually he asked me what my name was. I thought this was a probably a pretty good way to try and get a read on how nervous I was. I answered, but didn't say anything more. After a little longer, he said "Well, I think you have a good hand." and folded. I was very relieved...
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:15 PM   #23
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

Later
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Old 10-05-2015, 02:12 AM   #24
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

I'm pretty chatty when I'm not in a hand, but don't really talk when I'm in a hand.. Some people have taken silence as I got caught bluffing and wanna shut up, others have taken it as me being so strong I don't wanna give anything more away. Im a fish.
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Old 10-05-2015, 09:09 AM   #25
IOnlyPlayTheNuts
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Re: What to do when someone asks you a direct question.

Cause...$1/2 is sooooooooooooooooo serious...Lighten up, Francis. Poker is a social game.
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