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/Jun/2013

One step ahead - The psychology of poker part 2

By: TommyGun369 @ 13:11 (EDT) / 370 / Comment ( 2 )

In this part I am going to finish writing about how to use the chat box to our advantage and then briefly go through 2 very interesting topics: betsizing and timing tells.

Call of fold? Interestingly enough, just like in our previous example if we ask this question we will get an honest answer more times than not. Same logic still applies: If a villain is comfortable enough to engage in a conversation with you he most likely thinks that the best way to deceive you is to tell the truth. Therefore the only answer we expect is that a villain wants us to call. That would mean that he is being consistent in the signals he gives away. 1) he is willing to use the chat box = strong 2) he says he wants us to call = strong. If we get the opposite answer it becomes really unclear because we would expect someone who is bluffing to not type anything in the chat box. So it can mean only 2 things: 1) a villain is making a very thin value bet so he would not actually mind a fold once he sees we clearly have something worth asking about in the chat box 2) he is actually trying to deceive you by telling lies in which case it is probably best to just disregard the chat box entirely.

Now we should know the basics of extracting information from our villains so its time for us to look on how to manipulate them to do exactly what we what we want them to do

When bluffing tell villains what cards they are holding. Works surprisingly well against some regulars. Whenever I make a big bluff OTR and do not get snap called I ask villains in the chat if they have a specific card combination/s. Before I make a bet I think about the hands I want them to fold and when they look like they have a decision I just ask them if they have exactly those cards. If you get it right they are much more likely to let go off their hand. How comfortable would you feel calling when somebody tells you exactly what cards you have in your hand? The same logic can be used in reverse. If you make a value bet and a villain goes in the tank you can just ask him if he has something a lot weaker than what you really think he has. This way he might be a bit more encouraged to look you up.

Obviously there are many more ways of exploiting the lack of knowledge about psychology in microstake games so feel free to experiment and find your own ways of making a few more big blinds every now and then. It is well worth your time.

BET SIZING TELLS

Here I am not going to write about the technical aspects of bets, their size relative to the pot or anything like that. I am going to write about a very interesting observation I have made in the few months of playing poker. If you are one of those guys typing a random betsize rather than just moving the slider I have bad news for you. You might potentially be giving away unnecessary information about your hand strength to your opponents. How come? Well, the random numbers you type in that little box are not as random as you might think. Our subconscious mind can be very funny sometimes and even if we do not think consciously about it we use the numbers which have a "special" meaning to us. Just like a computer our brain does not know the meaning of "random". We do not work or think in random patterns. If I ask you to give me a random number the chances are you will say 12. Why? Maybe your birthday is on the 12th next month, you are worried about the finals which start on 12th or you are just thinking about christmas so you think about december which is the 12th month of the year. Whatever the reason might be the number is never random. Let me show you how this can be used un poker on 2 examples I found while watching the SCOOP 2013 commentary:

Example 1: http://www.pokerstars.tv/poker-video-21444-scoop-2013-main-event.html?channel_id=670

If you watch the whole video you will notice that Isildur always chooses nice round numbers for his bet sizing. However, exactly at 36:10 he makes a weird bet of 266,666. Too many sixes for my taste.. could he be... valuebetting a 6? Yes of course he is value betting a 6!

Example 2: http://www.pokerstars.tv/poker-video-21276-scoop-2013-event-10-2100-nl-holdem-super-knockout.html

Again a nice value bet with top 2 pair: 6s and 9s. What is the size of the bet again? 69k? Funny coincidence isn't it?

This is something that you will come across very rarely and from my experience never works preflop or on the flop. Its like our brain needs some time to think about what we have before it is in our mind so deeply that when we think about a random bet size we come up with a not so random bet size at all. Please never make a decision based on just some numbers your opponent types in their bet size but if for example you are calling down someone because you think he can only have a set or a FD and he 1) Responds to you in the chat 2) Tells you to call 3) Makes a value bet of $4.44 when there is a set of 4s possible then you have a very good indication that your Top pair is not good and you should probably lean towards folding if your decision was very close.

Looks like there is no space left for timing tells.. :/ Nevermind, I am not expert on that area anyway I will try to write about it in the near future though if you are interested.

Remember that everything you can find here is just a small helping tool in your decision making process. You should never make a ridiculous call or fold just because you picked up some kind of a crazy tell, that's just not how it works. It is there for when you are faced with a tough and a very marginal decision where either of the options you have can be justified by common poker logic.

This was TommyGun. Over and out

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