Thursday, May 23, 2013
Live from the Desert, It's Wednesday Night Live (Tells)
I played in a new local tourney last night, and I'm probably not going back, as they allowed (actually encouraged) cigar smoking, and after two hours of heavy clouds of smoke obscuring the table, my lungs and throat were shutting down and my eyes watering. And, while half of the players were a mix of good-guy regulars that I know from another tourney I play in, the other half was almost exclusively pompous, self-important rich country club types, who all seemed more focused on showing each other pictures of their Bentleys and Cobras, explaining how they cheat their friends and fleece charities on the golf course, and what nutty aftertaste and hint-of-old-pine-forest aromas the stogies they were chuffing on had, then even keeping track of whether it was their turn to act or not. I felt like a nanny: "Hey, post your small blind," and "The action is on you, sir," and "Yes, the blinds went up five minutes ago. You have to bet at least 300..." I'm not usually one to get worked up about inattentive players, but this was, well, not super fun to sit through.
Anyway, one of the bright spots of the evening centered around a handful of dead-on reads I made on a couple of players. One guy in particular that I've played with before was, upon careful examination, playing like an open book. Two huge things jumped out about his play. First, he had a serious bet sizing tell. Min-raises preflop meant huge strength (KK and QQ), limps were drawing hands (and this included any suited broadways), and 4x bets were small and medium pairs that he didn't want action with. A half dozen times I knew almost precisely what he held in his hand based on his bet size and the board texture.
The second tell I spotted was the classic eye shift back to your own stack when you flop a monster. In one particular hand, this particular player limped in (read: drawing hand) and the board came out with two spades. He checked and insta-called a small bet, which felt even more to me like he had a draw. I watched him carefully when fourth street was dealt, and when the turn was a third spade, his eyes immediately dropped to his own stack for a brief second, and then he looked away from the table. Per Caro, the look-at-your-own stack is a classic how-much-can-I-win-with-this-monster tell, and the look away is another big show of strength. Anyway, said player check-raised the turn and got a muck for his trouble. Before he had a chance to fold his own cards, I blurted out, "Show us the Ace-small of spades." He sheepishly grinned and turned over As7s.
No, this is not particularly advanced tell reading, but it felt good to be on at least this part of my game last night. Now if I can just get the leftover cigar stench I somehow transferred into my truck seat out, I'll be even happier.
All-in for now...