This year, during the World Series of Poker Main Event broadcast, my book Reading Poker Tells got a shout-out from Norman Chad. Here’s the clip; go to the 1hr1m point if it doesn’t automatically take you there.
I’d sent a copy of Reading Poker Tells to Norman a few months ago, but I’ve sent out so many books over the past year to people (roughly $4,000 worth!) and haven’t heard back from many people, so I honestly wasn’t expecting a shout-out, so that was nice. Norman DMed me on Twitter and let me know he was going to mention it in the WSOP broadcast, but I didn’t know what episode it would be.
As to what Norman says here; I would have rather he said that my book says that SOME bluffers have the tendency to avoid eye contact, not all. I think it’s an important distinction; my point in the book was to study someone’s past behavior in post-bet spots (after they’ve made a significant bet) and see if you can spot any pattern with regards to how much eye contact they give an opponent. Some people will look at their opponents more when they’re relaxed and have a big hand, and they’ll avoid eye contact when bluffing, whereas some people are the opposite. And of course many people are very consistent and stoic with what they do after they bet and you won’t be able to get anything from them. It all depends on past correlation of behavior.
In this case, I have no idea whether Kaplan was exhibiting an actual poker tell. It’s impossible to tell from one hand; I don’t recommend doing “cold-reads” of players unless you are very experienced and have a good sense for those kinds of things. I glanced through this episode and didn’t see another significant hand to compare Kaplan’s behavior here with. To do this right, you’d want to get a few hands of Kaplan value-betting and a few hands of him bluffing and then look at them side by side to see if you spot a pattern.
I sent Norman Chad a follow-up email with some other poker tells observations I’d made. I’ve been watching so many WSOP episodes in the past few weeks, mostly old ones, and I had a few observations I thought he’d find interesting. I’ve been watching so much televised poker because I’ve been working on a new poker tells book and so I’ve been taking notes on a lot of actual hands from televised events.