Did well again this week in the $100 multi-table tournament I play in occasionally. Split it 3 ways even between myself and two women who play pretty well. One specific read played a big part in one of the plays I made. The first important pot I got into was when the blinds were 200-400. I’ve got about 20,000, and I’m 2nd chip leader at our table. This young guy who introduces himself to people as Snowman (cause he says he freezes people, if that makes any sense) is chip leader at our table, with around 22,000.
A little bit about Snowman – he’s been very lucky at our table. He doubled up through the same horrible dude I doubled up through (who re-bought right after I busted him). At first I thought Snowman was just being aggressive, but he showed down very strong hands every time he was in a pot. He struck me as being pretty solid, and kind of cocky in his poker abilities. One thing about him – he’s very excitable and full of energy, and his legs shake when he’s got a strong hand. Or rather, I think they just don’t stop shaking, because I think they were pretty much shaking the whole time.
Looking at people’s legs is the one piece of decent advice I got from the otherwise useless ‘Read ‘Em and Reap’ book by Joe Navarro and Phil Hellmuth. It’s not something I looked at before reading the book, but I do look for it pretty regularly now. People’s legs basically follow the same general rule as the body as a whole – they freeze up when they’re afraid and if they’re moving loosely or shaking then the person’s probably not too worried about anything. [Note: I found out later on re-reading Caro’s Book of Tells that Caro actually mentioned it first in his book.]
So I’m in the cut-off with
and Snowman’s two seats to my right. There are 3 limpers before it gets to Snowman, who raises to 3,000. This is unusual for Snowman, as he hasn’t made this big a raise preflop before, and I don’t know whether he’s super strong, or else just feeling his oats from having a big stack and trying to run over the table. It is too soon to tell as he’s just gotten his big stack in the last round or so. If I had a belief about how he was playing, I might fold or raise, but without further knowledge I just call. One other weak player to Snowman’s right calls and it’s 3-way to the flop with about 10,000 in the pot.
[Ts] [Td] [Qh]
First dude just stares at the flop and checks after a couple of seconds and I do not believe that he has a ten. Snowman tosses out 5,000 quickly with a good amount of force. This is something I’ve seen him do before when he’s not very strong. I notice his legs have stopped shaking now and I feel very confident in the leg read. I think it’s entirely likely he has something like AK or maybe AJ like me, or maybe something like J’s or a lower pair. I do not think he has a ten. And I think he’d bet more with pocket K’s or A’s. It’s very possible he has a Queen, but I do not think he’ll call a raise with just a Q. And even with the off-chance he has K’s or A’s, there’s a good possibility he’d lay those down, too. Or so I’m thinking. I’m mainly just going with my read that says he’s weak.
I raise his bet 7,000 more and I’m 90% sure the hand’s gonna be over. The first guy folds, and Snowman thinks about it a while and does make the call. This perplexes me. I’ve only got about 5,000 behind at this point, so for him to just call is ridiculous. He should either ship it all in or fold – there’s nothing to be gained by just calling here except giving me a chance to make a draw when I might otherwise fold (although I’ve pretty much committed myself with my raise). I’m pretty surprised by his call – I don’t know what he’s doing. I even said to him “Call? I figured you’d just go all-in.” He doesn’t say anything, and I don’t know where I’m at. He’s either making a horrible call or else he’s got a monster.
The turn is a K:
[Ts] [Td] [Qh] [Kc]
giving me the straight. He goes all-in immediately, and now I’m thinking I seriously misjudged this hand and he has KK or else KT, and my tournament’s over. Of course I call, and it turns out he has KQ for top two. I tell him good call and try to console him as best I could to keep him friendly. He’s busted out a few hands later.
As it turned out, I seriously did mis-step in this hand, but the one mistake I made was in not taking into account his image of me. I had made a fairly small failed bluff against him a few hands before this pot took place, and apparently that was enough for him to make a really loose call against me with a paired board, which I did not think he would do. So I made a big mistake, but he made an even bigger mistake calling my raise, because it’s very unlikely I’m going to be raising in that spot, effectively committing all my chips, unless I have the Ten.
But I misjudged his abilities – I thought he was a better player than he was, and I did not think he’d be willing to put his tournament life on the line with a thin call. But I based my estimation of his abilities on his table talk, not from his actual play, and it should have cost me the tournament. As it turned out, I doubled up and went on to win. Such is the nature of tournament poker.