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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 04-10-2019, 03:27 PM   #1
pOpzvegaz88
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Tells in Low Stakes Casino/Live Games

Guys,

Sorry if this just seems like a humble brag but I can't tell all my buddies I'm crushing at the home games so I wanted to share it with all of you. This is a completely new step for me in my poker journey and I hope there are others out there like me that have not yet fully appreciated the power of tells.

I've been a solid TAG player for a while now, but I have always focused on the math/stats side of poker, keeping a solid range, and adjusting to my opponents depending on their range.

However, I read Caro's Book of Poker Tells and Navarro's Read Em' and Reap two weeks ago.

I have since won $3,319 over 6 sessions (25hrs) playing 1/2 & 1/3NL. I understand that a very big part of this is the friendlier upside of variance but honest to goodness my best plays came from tells and simply paying more attention to what was going on regardless of if I was in the hand.

The books alone I don’t think got me there. Another large part of my success (I believe) comes from journaling and keeping notes on the tendencies and experiences I see with other players… ESPECIALLY in home games. My goal at every game is to pick up 4 tells (2 strong, 2 weak) on every player and write those down after playing.

This preparation, regardless of my monetary results, has paid dividends in the form of the intense focus I have during my sessions.

Below are a few quick cliff note/summaries of some things I have seen lately after being more tell-aware:

1. A certain villain at my local home games shuffles his hole cards a certain way when he is on a draw. He also may do this with his chips… as if a nervous anticipation to see the next card. However, when he has a made pair on the flop, instead of shuffling the cards on the table he picks them up and folds them one over the other. Sounds silly but I’ve seen him exhibit this behavior several times where it truly freaks me out when I can call out his exact two cards before showdown.

2. Reg-Villian at the Casino would start moving his leg up/down over and over when he had a made hand. Also, carefully sliding his chips into the pot when strong. When weak, he tosses them in freely as if to broadcast to the world he is loose. Also, I exhibited him putting one hand across his shoulder and sometimes touching his neck (consoling himself) when he was weak. I won a $400 pot snapping his river bet with 2nd best pair because he exhibited the two weak tells above and his betting tendencies led me to believe he missed his draw. Hero was right and the chips were tasty.

3. Another Reg at the casino would purse his lips like making a kissing face when he did not like what he saw. This was straight out of Navarros book (he even looked like the guy in the books illustration!!!) He also exhibited the same chip chunking behavior as the previous villain. This gave me the courage to fire a 3-barrel bluff to the river when the flop was A-A-3. He folded, at since I was at the end of my session, I showed my absolute bluff to the rest of the table as they looked on in disgust. Then, hero exploited this concession of information by nittin’ it up and punishing the table one last time before cash-out with KK.

4. Last, I noticed another villain was carefully studying his opponents at the casino. He was also a bit of a calling station. I believe he had a middle pair or top pair/weak kicker when we got to the river and I was holding top two pair. I fired my last bet and he looked as if he was about to toss his cards in (lifting them and holding them in the air over the pot). Since I had my hoodie up I figured it was time to be like Obi-Won and go for a Jedi mind trick. I exhibited some of the fidgety behavior I saw from villain in example two and glanced away touching my neck. Hell, I truly felt like Bill Dance jigging a craw across the lake bottom because I could see I got his attention. He put his cards back on his side of the table and called my river and I couldn’t help but smile when I turned over my 2 pair.

So, these are definitely some success stories while on the high side of variance but there is no doubt in my mind that intense focus, and taking an interdisciplinary approach to the game of poker (math/psychology) will help sharpen ones skill at the game.

Last thing I want to part with is something that has helped me keep this focus and really notice some of these behaviors at the table while preventing them from being notice by the villians. It is the “How Many Games Can I Play While Playing Poker” Game. Here are the ones I play when I sit down at the table:

1. The actual game of hold-em… duh.

2. The verbal intel game – I make a goal for every hour to make an innocuous (non-offensive) comment, observation, or inquiry about someone’s play during a hand to gain information about what that person had OR EVEN BETTER their intentions or poker framework for why they did what they did. Sometimes saying things like “I am surprised you did xyz on the flop with that hand” will get them spilling their guts about the rationalizations regarding what they did. This is extremely valuable. Remember, STAY POLITE or keep comments innocuous! They are more apt to engage that way (IME).

3. The non-verbal intel game – Another goal I have is for every session pick up two strong tells and two weak tells on every person at the table. I then write each person’s name in my journal in the correct 9 ring circle and write as many observations as I can remember. You’ll be amazed at how much information you pick up, how your insights will improve with more writing, and how consistent info can be when you monitor the same player session after session.

4. One of my personal favorites… (credit to Navarro).. The Robot Claw Game! I hoodie out, wear shades, and keep my hands in front of my face when it is time for me to engage in a hand. I do not move at all throughout the hand except to grab my chips. I pretend like I am the robot claw you see at the supermarket or local arcade and grab my chips in the same fashion every time… just like the claw grabbing a teddy bear. I try to make it as consistent as possible, as if to appear pneumatic. This makes me a far less interesting person to observe at the table to discover tells.

Anywho, I hope some of this helped y’all or at least got your gears turning about approaching the game multi-faceted framework.

I’d love to hear some of y’alls feedback, tips for concentration at the table, success stories of tells, or other rituals you go through that bring you success at the tables.

Happy Hunting, Heroes
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Old 04-10-2019, 03:36 PM   #2
cmc0605
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Re: Tells in Low Stakes Casino/Live Games

Cool, I never got into live reads of things like how people play with their chips, etc.., but I should pay more attention.

IMO the biggest tell in small stakes live (and even online) is simply the speed and size of their bets. People tell you when they have an overpair or nutted hands.
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Old 04-10-2019, 04:17 PM   #3
DannyAIC
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 165
Re: Tells in Low Stakes Casino/Live Games

I folded a set to a really deceptive runner runner straight 3 nights ago because of a tell that's 100% accurate. The problem with tells is that they don't work at higher stakes. Lower stakes though? Money printer/saver
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:56 AM   #4
pOpzvegaz88
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Re: Tells in Low Stakes Casino/Live Games

Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyAIC View Post
The problem with tells is that they don't work at higher stakes. Lower stakes though? Money printer/saver
Interesting, Navarro asserts in his book that when the stakes are higher and more pressure is there that the fight or flight responses of the limbic brain are harder to combat so it is seen at all levels of play. I'm ignorant to this because I only have experience playing lower stakes. What do y'all think?

p.s. Shout out to Zach lol Haven't started his books yet but Reading & Exploiting Poker tells came in the mail Monday. Has anyone read Caro's & Navarro's books as well as Elwoods? Would be interesting to hear how the concepts of tells have and have not changed in modern poker.
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Old 04-11-2019, 01:35 PM   #5
DannyAIC
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Join Date: Oct 2017
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Re: Tells in Low Stakes Casino/Live Games

Quote:
Originally Posted by pOpzvegaz88 View Post
Interesting, Navarro asserts in his book that when the stakes are higher and more pressure is there that the fight or flight responses of the limbic brain are harder to combat so it is seen at all levels of play. I'm ignorant to this because I only have experience playing lower stakes. What do y'all think?

p.s. Shout out to Zach lol Haven't started his books yet but Reading & Exploiting Poker tells came in the mail Monday. Has anyone read Caro's & Navarro's books as well as Elwoods? Would be interesting to hear how the concepts of tells have and have not changed in modern poker.
What I meant to say is better players. I'll clarify. Obviously the higher up in stakes you go, you'll get a larger field of better players and less of your fish who still think that looking tough is a good way to get you to fold, I've run into them at a much lower frequency at 5/10, than say 1/2 or even 2/5. Guys who have been playing for years are much calmer also, because they've been in this position many many times before. I've never played higher than 5/10, but I have lost money because the tell I thought I was getting happened to be very wrong.

Basically the higher up you go, get less married to them. Against weaker players thoguh, a tell is a tell
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:32 AM   #6
pOpzvegaz88
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Re: Tells in Low Stakes Casino/Live Games

Ah very good. My goal is to make it to 5/10 one day... one day.. lol there is a guy at our home games that plays 5/10 when he can find a game and he is definitely hard to read.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:38 PM   #7
Whitemarbles
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Re: Tells in Low Stakes Casino/Live Games

I’m sure you make a lot of rational sense in your post but I can’t get over the constant gloating about your sick reads.
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