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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 04-06-2019, 02:57 PM   #1
NuklearWinter
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Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

Last night at a $1/2/5 game a hand came up where the villain gave some clear verbal tells. I was able to exploit these to get away from AA with minimal damage. I really think Zachary's Verbal Poker Tells book is worth it's weight in gold. The hand below has several verbal tells including preflop and postflop which perfectly matched up with Zachary's advice from his book.

Hand history ($400 effective):

UTG straddles (very loose preflop, but mostly passive postflop 30 yr old guy)
3 limpers
Hero looks at AA in the SB and raises to $37.
UTG calls saying "I'll call you light". Everyone else folds

Flop ($90) QJ9

Not my favorite flop, but because this guy is playing a huge range I want to get some value and control the pot size. I also have backdoor spades so I can check call some turns or keep betting.

Hero downbets to $30
UTG says "I'll call you light again"

Turn ($150) QJ9Q

Hero checks
UTG says "Well I can't let you draw for free", then bets $100.

I think for a bit and say to him, "Is that why you bet, because you didn't want me to draw?".

UTG makes a joke about an earlier hand where he beat my JJ saying "If you have Jacks here you're good". He's chuckling a bit and very loose with his body as well when he's been more stoic in other pots.

I tell him "I don't have jacks... I have Aces" then fold face down.

He flips over the T only and half mucks the other card but we're in the 7 and 9 seats and I can see the other card half on top of the muck. I ask to see the other card, and the player turns it over, a Q.

----

I thought this was interesting because of how useful these small verbal comments were from the villain.

Preflop, his comment doesn't mean much but I felt it was a truthful statement. UTG had a medium strength hand and was in fact calling me light (he knew I was playing tight).

On the flop, he seemed to be making a misdirection with the comment "I'll call you light again", which was implying his hand was still weak. This lead me to believe he had significantly improved.

On the turn, before betting he made the classic misdirection statement for why he needed to bet, explaining he didn't want me to draw. His joke about Jacks was a bit of a goading statement as well. Lastly, with the $100 size that I frequently see as a "value bet" size, I felt like this was a fairly easy exploitative fold.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:50 PM   #2
Whitemarbles
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

This is an example of the beef I have with tells - if you focused on math and your opponents playing tendencies you could easily make the same fold with headphones on hearing nothing and just playing strategically smart poker.

Take this from me who often used and to some degree still do use tells to justify making risk adverse and risk seeking plays based on my current emotional state.

I can’t emphasize the importance of learning poker on paper first and understanding smart range construction and making smart range assumptions.

By no means am I downplaying the importance of tells to increase our winrate but it should definitely come after some competence.
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Old 05-08-2019, 10:37 AM   #3
c0rnBr34d
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

I haven't read Zachary's advice, can you please elaborate how to interpret the bolded phrases given this advice. It seems like the first time he says he's calling light it's true. The second time he says the same thing he's very strong with top pair an open ender and back door spades getting a million to one vs your down bet, but to your credit he's never folding here so you lost the minimum (but why give him the correct price to draw when spades, Tx, and Qx are all in his range?). The last statement is pretty straight forward as V likely knows you don't have much Tx here and flush combos are also likely limited to AKs, AJs (mabye KJs?). He clearly likes his hand here and wants a call.

But if the same statement can mean both weakness pre and strength OTF I must be missing something.
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:00 PM   #4
hyperknit
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

I read the book and I believe Zachary says that statements made on early streets: pre and flop, are usually made with weak hands/draws in an attempt to deter the opponent from betting too much, while those same statements made on the turn and river are often goading and strength tells.

Now the other tell here is that our opponent states the reason why he is betting: to not let u draw for free. This is misdirection, he wants u to believe that he is betting for this reason instead of simply for the reason that he has trip queens.

So I think OP did a great job of interpreting the verbal tells and I agree the book is great although itís not very useful because not many people talk so much in poker about the hand in action these days
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Old 05-18-2019, 02:28 AM   #5
zica
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

How is his turn comment a misdirection? He's is ahead and indicates that with his comment. Hero has 2 outs each with AA and KK but no outs with AK and only chop outs w TT. Villain was betting for protection but didn't need much. Did he understand how much of a monster he had so he's trying to seem more worried than he is? I doubt it.

Probably any comments on later street when the bets get bigger suggest strength because as the bet sizes go up so does stress(typically) and so people shut up not wanting to give away their stress level.
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Old 05-19-2019, 03:04 AM   #6
NuklearWinter
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

Quote:
Originally Posted by zica View Post
How is his turn comment a misdirection?
He's claiming he's betting because he thinks I'm on a draw, not because his hand is strong.
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:37 AM   #7
ShellPoker
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

I don't like your bet sizes. You basically doomed your hand preflop. Sounds like you are scared to lose money. Man up, prepare to play for stacks when you have the advantage. The way you play you want to see your equity, and you are winning small pots and losing big ones.

If there is $18 dead money in the pot with 3 limpers, I'm probably raising at least $60 but closer to $80. This is live poker, no one has a calculator, they just see a big stack of chips. Some see it as being serious, others may see it as weakness since why woud aces discourage action? But set miners don't have the price so I'm ignoring them from my decision making post-flop. And yes I will get many folds and risk wasting my aces and that is why I have bluffs in my 3-bet range. On the flop there will be ~$130 in the pot and if he has $400 behind I'm overbetting $200. With a 14 outer he has 51% equity, the over bet makes it unprofitable even for him to draw.
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:39 PM   #8
apokerplayer
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperknit View Post
I read the book and I believe Zachary says that statements made on early streets: pre and flop, are usually made with weak hands/draws in an attempt to deter the opponent from betting too much, while those same statements made on the turn and river are often goading and strength tells.

Now the other tell here is that our opponent states the reason why he is betting: to not let u draw for free. This is misdirection, he wants u to believe that he is betting for this reason instead of simply for the reason that he has trip queens.
This sums it up perfectly I think. The biggest thing I realized in verbal stuff (which I later applied to non-verbal stuff) was that early-hand/small-pot behavior was so much different than later-hand big-bet behavior when the pots (and bets/bluffs) are large. So in many ways, the behavior can flip. This is how we can understand early-hand/small-pot talking/laughing (and ostentatious behavior in general) to be tied to weak/medium-strength hands (due to lack of focus that is more present w/ strong hands) but when accompanying a large bet it'll be tied to strength. And this is mainly a function of the size of the pot/bets.
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Old 09-04-2019, 09:12 PM   #9
AceHighIsGood
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

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Originally Posted by ShellPoker View Post
With a 14 outer he has 51% equity, the over bet makes it unprofitable even for him to draw.
???
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Old 09-05-2019, 01:48 PM   #10
AALegend
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

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Originally Posted by ShellPoker View Post
I don't like your bet sizes. You basically doomed your hand preflop.

If there is $18 dead money in the pot with 3 limpers, I'm probably raising at least $60 but closer to $80.
Does not sound like you play much live poker. Its a 1 2 game, even though there's a $5 straddle. How often do you have limpers in a 1 2 game call $80, straddle pot or not. $37 sounds about right, unless people have shown propensity to call larger raises. The fact it went hands up confirms the sizing was about right.

4xbb initial raise + 1bb for every limper sounds good.
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Old 03-09-2020, 04:43 AM   #11
GreatBigRedOne
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

OP is pulling uncalled mucked hands out of the muck?
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Old 03-13-2020, 12:58 PM   #12
NuklearWinter
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

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Originally Posted by GreatBigRedOne View Post
OP is pulling uncalled mucked hands out of the muck?
No, I pointed at the face down card and said "show me the other one" or something similar and the other player laughed and turned it up himself.
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:27 PM   #13
reyogold
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

Well...

you ARE actually on a draw - drawing to an ace.

Did you answer the question of why you downshifted on the flop rather than pricing him out of his draws?

Thanks and GL
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:34 PM   #14
reyogold
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

If he bets 50 what do you do?
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:32 PM   #15
NuklearWinter
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

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Originally Posted by reyogold View Post
Well...

you ARE actually on a draw - drawing to an ace.

Did you answer the question of why you downshifted on the flop rather than pricing him out of his draws?

Thanks and GL
I explained my thought process for the flop downbet in the original post. V's range was ultra wide and being out of position I don't want to bet so large that it narrows his range to only hands with strong equity. If I bet huge, he will fold gutshots and call with hands I'm basically flipping with which isn't ideal.

If he bets $50 on the turn, that's a tougher decision obviously. And we can make up scenarios where I'm obviously calling such as if he bets $5. I'd rather not entertain various hypothetical scenarios here, but getting 4:1 would be tough to pass up on the turn and I probably reluctantly call knowing I'm often behind.

The point of posting the hand wasn't to get into the strategy of playing the hand. It was to provide an example of some verbal tells that align with Zach's book, which I have found to be very accurate and common in the live games I play.
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Old 08-05-2020, 09:39 AM   #16
nucleardonkey
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

Quote:
Originally Posted by NuklearWinter View Post
He's claiming he's betting because he thinks I'm on a draw, not because his hand is strong.
But he may think he's betting to stop your draw, rather than because his hand is strong. And he might even be right.
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Old 08-31-2020, 05:17 PM   #17
BobOjedaFan
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Re: Verbal misdirection tells at $1/2

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShellPoker View Post
I don't like your bet sizes. You basically doomed your hand preflop. Sounds like you are scared to lose money. Man up, prepare to play for stacks when you have the advantage. The way you play you want to see your equity, and you are winning small pots and losing big ones.

If there is $18 dead money in the pot with 3 limpers, I'm probably raising at least $60 but closer to $80. This is live poker, no one has a calculator, they just see a big stack of chips. Some see it as being serious, others may see it as weakness since why woud aces discourage action? But set miners don't have the price so I'm ignoring them from my decision making post-flop. And yes I will get many folds and risk wasting my aces and that is why I have bluffs in my 3-bet range. On the flop there will be ~$130 in the pot and if he has $400 behind I'm overbetting $200. With a 14 outer he has 51% equity, the over bet makes it unprofitable even for him to draw.

There are 1-2 games I play in where you can make it $80 (stack depth), but c'mon against a normal range of typical 1-2 players, $80 is way to large. The hero made a pot raise. Out of position to everyone I'd have made it a little larger, but not $80
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