I usually try to act friendly/devil-may-care when playing poker. Most of the time I’m just acting that way to give the impression I don’t care about the money and I’m there to have a good time. Also, it is often to my benefit to get friendly with people, since they’re more likely to give you credit for a hand when you bet against them – “He wouldn’t bluff me, we’re friends” kind of thoughts dancing through their minds. Also, being friendly gets people to open up to you and give you their thoughts on their decisions and how they’re playing. It’s just by far the best image to portray.
At the $100 tournament I sometimes play in, this guy Jimmy is playing; he’s a guy I chopped with about a month ago. And he’s much more horrible than I had thought before. He’s playing like a total fish, and I’m encouraging him as best I can. He calls an all-in with top pair within the first few hands, and has to buy back in. He keeps mentioning that he’s cashed in two tournaments recently, and basically seems to be reassuring himself that these losses don’t matter to him because he’s so far up on the game. I think he’s slightly drunk.
Jimmy and I actually dead-straddle a couple times in the first and second rounds, which I’ve never done in a tournament before (for obvious reasons). I get in a pot with him where I make a flush on the river against him and I go all in for a pretty big overbet, because I think there’s a chance he’ll call with top pair (he’s been doing it a lot), and plus because he knows I’m tricky.
He folds, though, and he asks what I have. I don’t want to appear unfriendly, but I’m not going to show my hand in that spot either, so it just occurs to me to say “If it was just you and me, I’d show you. I’ll tell you later.” Which goes over really well with him – like we’re comrades of sorts, but leaves me off the hook – I can of course tell him whatever I want later. This ploy seems really useful to me, and like something I’ll be using again.