Originally Posted by D'wilius
I guess you get alot of practice at this while dealing Oz. Must have to work on your own poker face too...I don't think I could keep a straight face watching the bad plays and meltdowns you must see.
Occasionally I get a chance to observe this stuff, but a lot of the games I deal (especially the corporate functions) there's barely any point trying. When the people playing have little if any idea what they're doing, trying to read the strength of their hand through nonverbal tells is almost pointless:
"OK - she's bet every street, she's leaning into the table, her hand hasn't left her cards, she's smiling genuinely... gotta be a decent hand... oh. She seems to have shown down nine high."
On the Negreanu approach that Zach's brought up... definitely something to think about. I've never really thought about tell concealment per se as a big part of his game. Where I suspect he's effective though is directing the attention of his opponents elsewhere - when they're in a hand with Daniel and he's chatting away the whole time, he's giving them a dozen different things to think about. "Why did he say that, what cards could he have, does he really know what I'm holding?"
Give them something else to think about, and they might not notice that you've been blinking furiously for the past minute.
Probably a risky strategy unless you're really good at it though. You could make it all go horribly wrong by giving up too much information in what you're saying and
giving off nonverbal cues.
One of the other ones I thought might be easier to apply is Scott Fischman.
He probably hasn't had as much TV time as someone like Ferguson or the others we've discussed so far, but at the same time his style is pretty easy to pick up. He doesn't adopt any particular tell-concealing pose, but he does everything with pretty much the same robotic motions - checks his cards the same way, folds them same way, puts his chips in the pot the same way, doesn't talk and keeps a blank expression the entire time.
It's not failsafe, and I've seen the routine start to falter a little when he's on, say, the third barrell of a really big bluff. But for the most part he seems successful in doing everything the same way and giving up fairly little information.
Interesting to note to that definitely a conscious thing on his part too - there's a hand early in the Event 2 final table at the 2005 WSOP where David Ulliott shoves over the top of him preflop and everyone else folds. The only thing that can change in the hand is what Fischman decides to do, and the silent blank routine disappears: he starts talking, making faces and moving about, because he knows it can't affect the action.
It probably won't make you the most popular player at the table, but I think it's probably an easy style from which to borrow a few ideas.