Guy Laliberte’s poker tells, Part 3: bet timing and leaning back in the chair

Guy Laliberte poker tell

Laliberte quickly pushing chips forward & leaning back in his chair when bluffing

This is the third post in a series about Guy Laliberte’s poker tells. This one will include a short analysis of Laliberte’s bet timing tells. It’s admittedly a small sample size, but what stands out is that when Laliberte chooses to bluff in a significant spot, it seems he is more likely to bet or raise quickly, within a few seconds. When he has a big hand, he is more likely to take a long time. I’ll also look at a physical movement he exhibited a few times when bluffing.

Here are the bet timing results from all of the hands I’ve discussed in the past few posts about Guy. I’ve put a *** next to the hands that are obvious hands where he would like action or where he’d want a fold (at the time he makes the bet). This is to distinguish them a little more from some of the hands that are a bit ambiguous and where Laliberte probably feels neutral whether he wants a fold or a call.


Big Game – Laliberte and Loose Cannon, Laliberte goes all in on turn with K-high straight: 
Time to act: 53 seconds

HSP – Guy hits trip 9s with 9T on turn against Farha and Greenstein,
Time to act: 28 seconds

***High Stakes Poker – Guy hits full-house and raises huge against Farha:
Time to act: 25 seconds

***One Drop: Laliberte calls Trickett’s raise with KQ, hits top two pair, raises Trickett’s flop bet:
Time to act (raise): 20 seconds

Laliberte raises with JJ, Baldwin 3-bets, L goes all in:
Time to act (first raise): 17 seconds

Guy on HSP against Benyamine raising huge on flop with two pair:  
Time to act (after B’s raise): 11 seconds

One Drop: Laliberte 3-bets Trickett, Antonio 4-bets, Laliberte goes all in with QQ:
Time to act: 8 seconds

Big Game 2 – Laliberte hitting 2 pair on river and betting big:
Time to act: 4 seconds


***Guy bluffing Carlos Mortensen with 78 on 89T turn:
Time to act: 2 seconds

***Guy bluffing Tim Pham with AK on flop:
Time to act: 3 seconds

***One Drop: Laliberte bluffing Antonio on flop big:
time to act: 3 seconds

***One Drop: Laliberte raises with 45s:
Time to act: 8 seconds

***Big Game 2 – Laliberte bluffing river against Voulgaris –
Time to act (on river): 12 seconds

***Guy on HSP against Doyle, bluff?ing turn with A5 on AJ42 board:
Time to act: 15 seconds

***HSP – Laliberte “bluffs” Gold out when L has JJ on a four-straight board.
Time to act: 33 seconds

The length of time people take to bet is a result of many factors and it’s a very complicated subject. And bet-timing is one of the few areas of behavior that are consciously-controlled; people actively try to deceive other players with how long or how quickly they take to act.

But it still stands out that in this small sample, the average time taken to act for the weak hands is 11 seconds while the average time taken for the strong hands is 21 seconds. Laliberte’s tendency to act quickly when bluffing or semi-bluffing can best be exemplified with the first three hands listed under the Weak category. This includes the hand in the One Drop where he shipped all-in on the flop against Antonio’s flop bet. In those three hands, he bet all-in almost immediately.

Contrast this with the very strong hands, best compared in the first four hands under the Strong category. It is a pretty common tendency for a player with a strong hand to fake a tough decision by taking a while to act.

Laliberte is not super-obvious with this tendency (and I believe he’s gotten much better than he used to be) but I think you can see even from this small sample that he does some have an imbalance in his bet-timing. For one thing, I haven’t seen any evidence of him betting or raising immediately when he has a very strong hand. That alone is a very significant piece of information.

One more interesting thing I noticed. Compare the physical behavior of Laliberte when he does his immediate all-ins in these three hands:

Tournament: pushing all-in on flop to a bet with AK-high:

Tournament: pushing all-in on turn with low pair & four-straight:

Tournament: pushing all-in on flop with overcards & open-ended:

For the speed of his bet and the significance of the situation, these are all very unique situations of the hands I’ve studied. And they are very similar. They are all situations where Laliberte pushed all-in very quickly. They are also all situations where he has decent equity when he pushes all-in, although he definitely is wanting a fold.

One more similarity: notice how Guy does the same backward movement in his chair in every video. In the 2nd and 3rd examples, when he does his quick all-in, he moves backward in his chair quickly, and then fairly quickly comes to rest in a still position, his arms on the table. In the 1st video, his move backward in his chair is delayed a few seconds, but it is very similar to the other ones.

That backward movement in the chair is not something I’ve noticed in any of the videos where Guy had a strong hand. It was a relatively new pattern to me and something I need to start looking for with other players. If I notice one person doing it, you can rest assured there’s usually a good group of people out there doing something similar.

It kind of reminds me of the pattern I’ve become aware of when a player bluffs for a big bet and then looks away from the table (often at a TV), trying to look nonchalant, but then quickly brings his attention back to the table and becomes very still. I think Guy’s behavior is a similar one; trying to portray a very relaxed demeanor for those few seconds surrounding the big bet.

  • http://comcast lester petersen

    In your book on page 113 the last paragraph says this: Mike Caro pointed out that bluffers are more likely to bet with their arms straight out. Continue to the top of p.114
    you say you welcome any feedback.
    OK, while watching all the high stakes poker shows I almost lost it when I saw Sammy
    Farha push his stack in with his little arms as straight as he could get them. Sammy was on a stone cold bluff with nothing but air each time he did this. Maybe this is one reason
    Sammy quit playing HSP.
    Take care, Les

    • Zachary Elwood


      Interesting point. I’ve been watching a lot of those lately and will be sure to look for what you mention. Thanks!