Saturday, 22 March 2008

Body language, tells and a list of fish

I've been wanting to make a post about this topic for a long time and finally have some time to do it so here goes.

Since I got into playing poker live I have become a bit of a student of body language and trying to read people.

This is something that I find fascinating and have read a few books, some on body language, others on neurolinguistic programming and others more directly associated with poker like Hellmuth's Read 'em and reap and of course Caro's book of tells.

I find some of the techniques, even with my limited experience of reading people at the poker table, very helpful.

I have mentioned before that I have noticed some very specific tells on people that, given the right situation, could be very profitable.

A couple of the more significant tells I have picked up on include:

One player who used to blink whenever his cards hit on the flop

A few players (including one who played on the original series of late night poker) who have specific ways of putting their chips in when he is bluffing

Another couple of players who bet with one hand when strong and the other when bluffing

That very thin lipped smile when someone is bluffing

One tell that I even noticed myself doing once when holding a big pair pre flop that involved betting then immediately taking a drink.

What I find very surprising is that, of all the people I have played against live, I have only ever come across 3 or 4 people who have looked at me when the flop is being dealt.

There is a huge amount of information given off when the flop is being dealt that most people do not see.

I've lost count of the number of times I have seen someone visibly flinch or twitch when they have hit a set on the flop and I only play once a week live.

So there is a lot of information available for an astute reader of body language (which I am only scratching at the surface of)

I've been a fan of Derren Brown for a long time and one of the most interesting parts of his act centres on his ability to read body language and other unconscious behaviour.

So this Christmas I received a copy of Derren Brown's book "trick of the mind" which I have just read.

It has it's moments of uninteresting sections and at the same time there are some quite funny parts too including a very funny observation regarding the Braille signs he saw next to each fish tank describing the fish in the London Aquarium.

This made him wonder what blind people would get out of visiting an aquarium other than the opportunity to read a "list of fish".

However, he also has a very interesting section about body language.

In one of his shows a couple of years ago "Trick or Treat" that you can see here

he teaches a Granny about reading body language and, from what they show on the program, she makes some good reads - although they wouldn't show her making bad reads - and she actually cashes in a 6 player SNG that had Neil Channing, Paul Parker, Anthony Holden, and a couple of other players.

So it all confirms to me how important being able to read people's body language.

I think it is a very important part of the game that I intend to keep focussing on in order to try to improve.

I just wish I could have been a fly on the wall during that documentary to hear more about the techniques that he mentions in the book.

I do think that practice/experience is also very important and unfortunately they don't sell them on Amazon!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Catch Up

I've had this half written for over a week and just now getting around to finishing it so here goes.

Monday March 10th

I was planning on going out last night to play in Stockport but a last minute hitch meant I would have been last so I decided to leave it. So I ended up playing the $75 late night freezeout on ladbrokes that starts at midnight.

I've been having a good run in this tournament over the last 6 months and with a two double ups with sets early on I ended up winning the tournament for a much needed $1020 addition to my bankroll.

There was one hand of particular interest that I can't decide whether he played it incredibly well played or very badly.

The play involved a limper on the button, me completing the small blind with something like 6h7h and the big blind checking when the blinds were something like 150 300.

The flop came down Q74 rainbow or similar and I checked, the big blind then went all in for 3400 into a pot of 900 and the button folded.

To be honest, I had just over 3000 chips but if I only had 1000 chips I would have been seriously tempted to call.

Anyone care to take a guess at his hand and what your calling requirements would be?

Anyway, I eventually played in Manchester G on Thursday in a £35 freezeout. 60+ runners and it's been too long for m to remember anything significant so I am going to be more diligent in updating this a bit sooner.

I ended up going out when short stacked with KQ against kings and that was that.

I then played the Ladbrokes Cruise Reunion tournament on Tuesday.

The tournament was a bounty tournament with 15 bounties ranging from $12 satellites for the first few bounties up to a WSOP package for the 15th.

This went pretty well for the first half without any bounties being at my table and then I got involved in a 3 way pot after raising with AA with Skalie (John Kalmar) and A N other.

The flop came down T J 7 with 2 clubs which was checked by the other two and I bet out 2/3 of the pot and was raised by the first player who was reraised all in by Skalie.

To be honest I thought that there was more than a 50/50 chance I could be behind but since there was a lot in the pot and half of my stack was in there too I made a crying call and to my surprise I was way ahead of a Q high flush draw and Skalie's A high flush draw.

That put me on 15000 chips and into 5th place.

By this time the bounties were up to $1000 worth of satellite entries and one of them appeared at our table, 2 to my left which was a bonus.

She was playing pretty tight but had 5000 chips and the blinds were 400/800.

I was then on the big blind when Daddymac (one of the top Ladbrokes players sitting on 22000) raised to about 2500 in early position which was reraised to 5000 virtually all in by the bounty.

The small blind (with 10000 ish) called and I considered reraising all in with Qd9d, because the bounty was the majority of the prize pool and this was a chance to take her out. Obviously, in a normal tournament Daddymac would need a huge hand to call that but I felt that he would feel like me in this case and probably call along with the small blind and so I called, mistakenly thinking that the bounty's raise was an underraise - meaning daddymac couldn't reraise.

Unfortunately I either calculated wrongly or Ladbrokes' system allows someone to reraise an underraise (which I know it used to but I did think it had been fixed)

Anyway, Daddymac did reraise and after the small blind called I decided that I was going to call in the hope that I got lucky and had live cards and take my chance at the prize.

Also knowing that if I did win I would have 50000 chips and be in a very strong position to take the main prize.

For the record I was really in a bad spot as Daddymac had QQ and the bounty had JJ. Anyway no diamonds came and although a nine did hit the flop, despite my chanting, another didn't come to give me the win.

I've had a think about whether I should have just played it normally and let any bounties come my way naturally but I still think that playing for the bounty was the best course of action.

Comments welcome.

Wednesday March 19th

Won a lovely $1200 pot last night at $1/2 on Ladbrokes with A 10 in a 6 way minimum raised pot against an overplayed AK and 10 5 saw a lovely A 10 5 rainbow flop.

So with that $900 profit, along with another cash in the midnight tournament for $400 I'm going to play the GSNPL event in Manchester next week.

Hopefully see a couple of people there.

I'll also be more diligent in future with the postings.

Until then…

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Back to the grindstone

Thursday March 6th
£150 f/o
75 runners

After a couple of weeks off with the back problem I decided to try a game on Thursday.

I was told about the tournament by a mate an it really is good value with quite a number of players having qualified through satellites.

They have the tournament every month and it's one I plan on playing every month.

So, on to the tournament.

Plenty of limping and plenty of tells, particularly one player who had a habit of tapping his folded arms when he had a good hand which saved me a couple of times from tptk which would normally have cost me fair chunks of my stack. Even better was he was showing his hands, confirming what I already thought.

Didn't do me any good though because whilst it did save me from losing chips when I was behind it did help that I was always behind when I was involved in a pot with him.

I did last 4 hours and I eventually went out with a stack of 8500 when the blinds were 500/1000. I open raised all in with AK from mid position and was called by 77 in the next seat.

Don't mind the call as that is why there is value in the tournament.

Had a bit of trouble with the back and had to do plenty of stretching in between hands, as well as lying down during the break but it ws good to be back playing live since it has been quite frustrating.

Also still having trouble opening Mick McCool's blog. For the last couple of weeks it has been saying that I am not authorised to view it. This did happen a few weeks before so don't know whether he has taken it down or not. I hope not because it is one I really enjoy reading and since Snoopy has stopped updating every day and Amatay is away on holiday I'm not getting my daily read!

So if you read this Mick, hope you are still posting and if you have restricted access hope you'll add me.