The following is an email from Thomas Hutchinson, a reader of my books, interspersed with my responses:
“Firstly I just want to say thank you very much for writing both Verbal Poker Tells and Reading Poker Tells, I have read both books cover to cover many times and would consider them the best poker tell books out on the market at the moment. So thanks again :)
I have a couple of questions which would be amazing if you could find the time to answer. Firstly in your Verbal Poker Tells book you talk about a hand with Jamie Gold on HSP where he bluffs Eli Elezra. After Jamie bets the river he shows Eli a card and does alot of talking and one of the things he says is “You don’t want to be shown a bluff twice”.
Eli folds and Jamie shows the bluff, Daniel Negreanu and Jen Harman both say that Jamie 100% said something in the hand which gave it away he was bluffing, Daniel whispers in Jens ear and you hear him say “Don’t want to be shown a bluff twice” which Jen confirms is also the thing she picked up on. I’ve watched this hand a number of times over the years and even after reading your books still can’t figure out why Jamie saying this 100% gives it away he’s bluffing. Is this just something someone with a good hand wouldn’t say? I don’t get it? Do you think you could explain?”
Here’s a link to that hand; the river bet starts at 7:00. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xlgwqk_high-stakes-poker-season-4-episode-6_videogames This hand was in a chapter in my Verbal Poker Tells book titled “Last Second Statements to Discourage A Call.” The important thing in this hand isn’t so much the content of Gold’s speech as it is the fact that Gold seemed to say this in response to what looked like an impending call from Elezra. Elezra moves his hand forward like he’s going to plop the chips down. But Elezra was in fact just moving his chips around. If Gold had a strong hand and saw Elezra looking like what could be a call, he doesn’t have an incentive to speak up. But a lot of bluffers, when faced with an impending call, will say something out of desperation.
It is true that most players won’t weaken their hand range when bluffing but Gold is definitely verbally strange. He’s known for implying he’s bluffing a lot when he’s actually bluffing. He’s kind of known for this truthful verbal behavior (which could be considered 2nd level deception; implying strong-when-strong and weak-when-weak, as compared with most players’ first-level deception: implying strong-when-weak and weak-when-strong.) I believe it was the timing/desperation of Gold’s statement here that clued in Harman and Negreanu to the situation, as opposed to the pure content, though.
“My other question was on this hand: EPT Monte Carlo: Glen Chorney Calls a Clock on Esfandiari | PokerTube , not sure if you’ve ever seen it but I think it’s a little interesting hand and after reading your books I’d say on the river Glen Chorney does/says maybe 3 or 4 things that give it away to me that he has the nuts (obviously alot easier when you can see the cards) and I’m not sure what history these two players have but I’m still very surprised Esfandiari calls after Chorney looks pretty comfortable, weakens his own hand range and calls the clock. What do you think about this hand? If you could give me some analysis that’d be amazing!
Thanks again for all the help, please keep up the good work!”
Here’s the link to that hand: http://www.pokertube.com/videos/ept-monte-carlo-glen-chorney-calls-a-clock-on-esfandiari. I’d never seen it before but I agree he does a lot of things that I mention in the Verbal Poker Tells book that generally signify strength. (When it comes to non-verbal stuff, there’s even the large amount of eye contact from a bettor, which will generally indicate strength. But I have no way of knowing if this is a consistent behavior from Chorney.) As you say, though, we aren’t aware of past dynamics and history between these two, which is undoubtedly a factor.
I will say that I agree with you in thinking it looks as if Chorney’s quite relaxed. If Esfandiari is really quite sure that Chorney is polarized, which he seems to genuinely be, then Chorney’s behavior seems very relaxed and maybe Esfandiari could have found a fold. So I think this hand must be affected by some history between them and maybe Chorney being cagey in the past. Maybe Esfandiari’s seen Chorney act in such ways with bluffs. Maybe he knows Chorney is savvy enough to put on general tells of relaxation and strength when he’s bluffing. When you’re playing good, aware players, you have to factor in that they know the general signs, so this could have been a factor.
For example, calling the clock is such a well-known tell of someone who’s got a strong hand. But if Esfandiari thinks that Chorney knows this, he’s liable to second-guess himself into thinking that Chorney is attempting to fool him. Again, I have no clue how skillful Chorney is supposed to be or what their history is, but these kinds of leveling wars play a role when you’ve got two players with history.
So, basically, it’s complicated, as behavior usually is. Hope that helps though!