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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 02-18-2018, 04:32 AM   #1
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Betting with multiple colors

What does it mean when someone uses multiple denominations when they only need 1 color?

For example betting $125 with 4 greens ($25) and 5 reds ($5), as opposed to just 5 greens.
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Old 02-18-2018, 11:41 AM   #2
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Re: Betting with multiple colors

In a vacuum, it could mean any number of things. What stakes and did he have a lot of other greens? And if he did, was it a nice evenly stacked number of them? Was there action in front of the player and if so, what was that action?
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Old 02-20-2018, 05:23 AM   #3
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Re: Betting with multiple colors

Originally Posted by michelle227 View Post
What stakes and did he have a lot of other greens?
It was at 5-10-20 PLO in a limped pot of around 125. He had plenty of both reds and greens.
Originally Posted by michelle227 View Post
Was it a nice evenly stacked number of them?
Originally Posted by michelle227 View Post
Was there action in front of the player?
2 checks in a 6 way pot.

He grabbed the 4 greens and quickly added the 5 reds.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:36 AM   #4
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Re: Betting with multiple colors

I have spent some brain cells thinking about this one .. and I believe Zach touches on it in at least one of his books a little bit. As with any 'tell' you need to establish a pattern in order to 'reliably' apply your perception of what it might mean.

When it comes to 'chip tells' I think you really need lots of information for anything to make sense other than 'how' they put the chips into the betting area. Some players may think that putting 'lots' of chips into the betting area may intimidate an opponent since it looks like a bigger bet than it actually adds up to. Other players use a single large denomination chip looking for the same affect.

Why would a player need a black chip to bet $30?
Why would your player need the reds when another green would've worked just fine?

I had a player who thought they 'had me' when it came to putting chips in the betting area. What he saw as a tell was just 'normal course of business' for me based on whether I was placing the initial bet or calling and how many chips were involved. He tried to tie it to the strength of my hand and actually let me kind of know what his thoughts were when he said something after a hand he wasn't even in when my opponent folded. I actually used the information to my benefit about an hour later to 'reverse tell' him in a pot.

In the case of PLO I might add that this player didn't want to ask what was in the pot and was still calculating a legal bet in his head when he picked up the greens. I rarely ask what's in the pot or even bet 'pot' in PLO. I'm sure it drives the Dealers nuts because it changes the 'easy' math for them going forward. When I actually say 'pot' I want my opponents to pay attention and see it as a sign of strength, giving them an opportunity for a 'no brainer' fold .. and also telling them I'm in this hand for the long haul. Does it cost me value? Yes, but save that for another thread.

You are wise to see chip handling as a source of information, but I think it's more of a complementary behavior than a primary behavior to work from. The fact that our chip stacks are constantly changing adds a bit of a dynamic to the equation. Back to my behavior .. I will use 'a lot' of red chips when betting or calling until I get down to around 3 stacks or less, then I start to use my larger chips. On the flip side there is a whale in a PLO game that will almost always flip in a single large chip for any Flop, Turn or River .. but almost never uses them Pre-Flop!

This is a long, probably limited post, but I will defer to the underlined statement. GL
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Old 06-04-2018, 09:16 PM   #5
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Re: Betting with multiple colors

I do this sometimes and it's never related to hand strength, but to how many of each denomination I have. For example I'm playing 2/5 and I have 250 in red, 600 in green, and 1000 in black for 1850 total. I make a 150 bet. The easiest way would be 1 black, 2 greens, right? But that drops my black stack to 900 and I typically use that stack to track my 1k buy-in. I could use 6 greens but then I just have 450 left in green. I could grab 30 red chips, but that's a lot to count out and leaves me with just 100 left in red. So the logical thing to do is take 4 green and 10 red, leaving me with 200 red, 500 green, 1000 black.

Of course I keep very neat chip stacks and always know my exact count down to each denomination. For less obsessive people this could mean something entirely different. In particular for players with messy, uneven stacks where it's hard to tell even how much they have, I imagine this behavior means *something*.

My wild guess is that 4 green + 5 red "looks" like a bigger bet from across the table and therefore the hand is probably not that strong. I would also guess that using very high denomination chips when not necessary means one of two things, depending on the type of person. Someone bets 500 into 750 on the river. If they have 5 black chips left, 20 green chips, and 100 red chips, then if it's a person with a neat stack I would tend to interpret throwing out 5 black chips as a sign of strength. The player is confident they're getting the chips back and this is just the easiest way to make the bet. If it's a player with messily stacked chips it could mean the opposite...I sometimes see people throwing out big denomination chips with weak hands to scare people and increase their fold equity. Then again, pushing out five stacks of reds when one could just throw out five black chips also looks like a show of strength.

I don't's an interesting question and I think there are definitely patterns, but the patterns can vary a lot from player type to player type so as usual be careful in concluding something like "big chips = strong" or "mixed denomination chips = weak".
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