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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 10-19-2019, 04:14 PM   #1
BDHarrison
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Meta-tells: when players give away their strategy

Most of the discussion on tells focuses on putting a player on strength or weakness in a specific hand. My focus in poker has been on creating models of my opponents' strategies and developing exploitative lines to take advantage of their predictable tendencies.

I have chosen to refer to tells that give away strategy rather than specific hand strength as meta-tells. Let me know if someone has already assigned another name to this concept.

One blatant example of a meta-tell is a player I know who responded "because the board was paired" when asked why he didn't raise with the nut flush on the river. (I didn't ask because I already knew the answer.) The obvious strategic counter is to bet thinner for value because you are less afraid of being raised.

A less direct example of a meta-tell comes from a recent tournament, where an amateur player told me that I was a good player and that he was afraid of me. This allowed me to more easily get away from a good hand when I was three-bet preflop and he confidently bet the flop. I would have called against an unknown, but this player had telegraphed that he respects my raises and doesn't want to play big pots with vulnerable hands, so he was telling me that he had a strong range that was willing to play a big pot.
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Old 10-21-2019, 09:34 AM   #2
buggzilla
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Re: Meta-tells: when players give away their strategy

I'm interested in this topic, too. The term "meta-tells" seems to fit, so I vote we keep it.

In an interview, Daniel Negreanu once said that this is the primary reason he chats so much with players at his table. He gleans all kinds of strategy tells from things people say about specific hands, why the folded, didn't raise, etc. He also gets a lot of information when they talk about their poker background, how they got started playing, what their local games are like, etc.
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Old 10-21-2019, 07:10 PM   #3
AceHighIsGood
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Re: Meta-tells: when players give away their strategy

I'd be extremely careful about putting too much stock in any of this.

Asking someone why they did something gets you extremely unreliable answers. People tend to rationalize after they act rather than think logically before they act. Add Caro's Law of Loose Wiring into the mix (which is accurate for most people) and the conclusion is that most people do random **** and then make excuses for it later.
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Old 10-21-2019, 07:22 PM   #4
BDHarrison
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Re: Meta-tells: when players give away their strategy

I'm not enthusiastic about talking politics at the table, but I've noticed that certain people who want to talk about politics and seem to value to idea of appearing strong tend to bluff more than is warranted if they are aggressive players. You can usually tell this just by watching them play, but it is extra confirmation, if you need it, and may help you make your read sooner.

I create models of betting patterns and try to match players to a particular model. Getting inside their head and figuring out how they think about other stuff can sometimes let me figure out how they think about poker, how much risk they are willing to take, how prone they are to over- or under-valuing things.

Sometimes, when you talk sports, it becomes clear that your opponent is bad at math and you can dump any model of their behavior that requires mathematical skill on their part. Sometimes, it becomes clear that their memory is porous and you can use a tricky play a few more times before they catch on and adjust.
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Old 10-21-2019, 07:36 PM   #5
AceHighIsGood
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Re: Meta-tells: when players give away their strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by BDHarrison View Post
I'm not enthusiastic about talking politics at the table, but I've noticed that certain people who want to talk about politics and seem to value to idea of appearing strong tend to bluff more than is warranted if they are aggressive players. You can usually tell this just by watching them play, but it is extra confirmation, if you need it, and may help you make your read sooner.

I create models of betting patterns and try to match players to a particular model. Getting inside their head and figuring out how they think about other stuff can sometimes let me figure out how they think about poker, how much risk they are willing to take, how prone they are to over- or under-valuing things.

Sometimes, when you talk sports, it becomes clear that your opponent is bad at math and you can dump any model of their behavior that requires mathematical skill on their part. Sometimes, it becomes clear that their memory is porous and you can use a tricky play a few more times before they catch on and adjust.
IMO this makes sense. I was referring specifically to asking someone why they did something. Their answer is usually wrong, and they may not even realize it.
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Old 10-22-2019, 11:55 AM   #6
AALegend
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Re: Meta-tells: when players give away their strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by BDHarrison View Post
I'm not enthusiastic about talking politics at the table, but I've noticed that certain people who want to talk about politics and seem to value to idea of appearing strong tend to bluff more than is warranted if they are aggressive players.
My observation is actually different. OMC's in my player pools generally like to talk about politics (most are on the GOP side) and value strength in their lives/political views, but play very tight and overfold at the poker table.

On the other hand, SJW young kid types whine when the politics discussions that sometimes offend them ensue, while at the same time they oftentimes are extremely aggro and oftentimes go berserk in the way they play their hands...
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Old 11-03-2019, 09:27 AM   #7
reyeonnubeee
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Re: Meta-tells: when players give away their strategy

I would say you can get extremely good reads just by making little comments here and there about the result of a hand.

Let me give an example: I was playing with an older guy who had multiple times gone way too far with draws, sometimes calling wide, sometimes aggressively bluffing when he didn't need to.

I started chatting him up about how "he had so many outs" and got confirmation that this is how he thinks about the game.

So in a hand where I had AQ and flopped QJ8 with two diamonds, I was comfortable going to showdown vs. his aggressive play after the turn and river bricked out. He showed down Q9 of diamonds, where he could have easily called my flop bet, but bad to raise because he had "the straight flush draw".

Aggressive interrogation might not work, but I think some sly comments here and there can accomplish more than you'd think

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