Harrington on Hold'em Vol. 1 discussion: Part 3

ChuckTs

ChuckTs

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Reading the Table

Introduction
: What is it about poker that makes it different from the other games mentioned in this paragraph?

Physical Tells: What are the three categories of physical tells that the authors stress the most importance on? What are the two big points mentioned about tells? What are the two ways of hiding physical tells the authors mention?

Betting Patterns: What players, specifically, should you pay most attention to at a table? What are the four main aspects of a bettor's patterns should you watch for?

Observing yourself: Why should you 'observe' yourself? What are the three questions you should frequently ask yourself in relation to your play and your table image? How should these questions/factors affect your play?

Some solid points and advice in this section; sorry it took so long to post.
One thing I found very helpful and important was that you not only have to look to others for physical tells and observe their table images, but you have to also keep in mind what your image is, because hands can take a completely different direction based solely on how you've played (see the AA example, which I really liked).

NOTE: Please do not quote the book. This thread is to help broaden the understanding of the book, not rip off the copyright of it. Feel free to discuss, but try doing so without infringing on Dan Harrington's, Bill Robertie's or 2+2 publishing's intellectual property rights. Thank you.
 
medeiros13

medeiros13

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Observing yourself. This was probably the most eye opening portion of the book for me. The example that was used in the book really hammered home the point for me so I'll try to come up with something similar. (if I do infringe in error, please delete or change my example slightly)

Lets say you're a TAG player and you get a nice run of cards; a few pocket pairs, AK suited, etc in about a 10 hand span. You are (correctly) raising the pots and are getting into heads up situations. The flops are hitting your hands so you are correctly betting into the pot but your opponents are folding. In your mind, you are playing tight aggressive poker and your big hands are rightfully winning you hands.

From your opponents perspective, you are starting to become a bully. This tight aggressive player (we'll assume the table agrees with your TAG image) is raising a ton of pots lately and is winning hands without showing what they have.

What should you take from this?? Now is probably not the time to be running a bluff because the table could be tired of being bullied by you. Also, you should probably be tightening up your hand selection because you're more likely to be called down based on what the table's recent history is on you.

The real message (at least from my reading eyes) is that your table image isn't what you think/want your image to be; it's what your play dictates!!
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

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Nice post, medeiros - this point in the book has struck a nerve with me too.
I've found myself in very similar situations in MTTs recently - I'm a TAG player for the first hour or so, and sometimes I'll get a rush of cards and people will give me way less respect for a hand after. When I get a rush of cards like that, I sometimes show a bunch of them to show that I'm not bullying, but actually have premium hands. I do this because I try to maintain my TAG image so that I can still steal with ease later.

This actually happened to me in yesterday's $5 buyin; I was getting hands everytime a certain player limped in front of me, and I had to raise them. I could tell the player was feeling bullied, so I showed some of my hands to make sure they knew I was still playing TAG, and to make sure steals were still available to me later.
 
medeiros13

medeiros13

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Be careful of showing your cards Chuck. I've actually seen that work against me. The table has shown/spoken an attitude of "pfft, he shows us ONE good hand so we don't think he's stealing"

So while I think you're intentions are good, keep in mind they may not help as much as you'd hope
 
withawedge

withawedge

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Chuck,

Great idea this to have a discussion on this. The main point I would like to make about HoH is that you must read, read and read again.

On one of your earlier threads someone said I have read 200 pages and do not remember a word of it.

To fully get a grasp you must continually re-read it

Maybe I am just a thicko lol

:withstupi
 
t1riel

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Reading the Table

Introduction
: Reading players are a huge key in winning. As explained by Harrington, not only do you have to pat attention to other players actions, you also have to conceal yours by mixing up your gameplay. This is something I think most players don't realize. They are so busy studying other playersthat they donlt think of studying themselves and use it to your advantage.

Physical Tells: What I find interesting here that the hand motions are the most reliable, according to Mr. Harrington. Well, to each his own because I think he is half right. I think you should pay attention to how they hold their cards and not how they throw or place chips. I always make sure that when i bet, I always use the same hand motion to place chips no matter what the situation.
There is that quote about tells, "Weak is strong and strong is weak." In my experience, that's not necessarly the case. I think it depends on the person. Experience with the players you play against is the best tool, in my opinion, when it comes to reading the player's tells.

Betting Patterns: I have trouble in reading players so Harrington's Beginners guide to reading players, if you will, was very helpful. Try studying only two players on your left and the one player on your right. Then, as you get the handg of that, you try to expand to one or more players until you reach around the table.
Anyway, betting patterns is something I've been horrible at. I tend to bet the same amount in certain situations. One time I raised to 150 when the blinds were 20/40 when I had pocket Aces. One guy called me and everyone saw how much I bet with Pocket Aces. Then, I was dealt A, K suited a few hands later. I raised it to 150 again and everyone folded. They thought I had Pocket Aces again because of the same amount I bet. That's a good thing to work in your advantage.

Observing yourself: As mentioned before, I need to work on this. Basically, it comes down to creating a certain table image for yourself then play the opposite to get some chips until someone catches you. One good thign to do is raise big on a certain hand and just call the next time on the same hand. How much you bet and what cards you play are the meat of how you observe yourself.
 
ChuckTs

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t1riel said:
There is that quote about tells, "Weak is strong and strong is weak." In my experience, that's not necessarly the case. I think it depends on the person. Experience with the players you play against is the best tool, in my opinion, when it comes to reading the player's tells.

Good point, but the point that Harrington makes is that is a general rule for people you have no information about. Of course if you know a player to do something Nguyen-ish and say "call this and it's all over baby" and actually hold the nuts, then you have to adjust accordingly. This is a general rule which applies best to newbies who don't know how to conceal their hand strength.

t1riel said:
How much you bet and what cards you play are the meat of how you observe yourself.

'What cards you play' and 'what cards you show' are two completely different things. This was a point that definitely had an impact on me while reading - say you get AK, AA and AQ five hands in a row, and win them all without a showdown. People won't know what you held, and will peg you as a super-aggressive player (assuming you bet the hands as hard as you should have), instead of the TAG style that you're actually playing.


Good stuff, Tim
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

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My answers (while trying not to repeat anything that was already answered in Tim's and Medeiros' posts):

Introduction: What is it about poker that makes it different from the other games mentioned in this paragraph?

The thing is that with other games (like Chess and Backgammon, as was mentioned in the book), all the information you need to beat most players, and compete well with advanced players is already available to you. With poker, you not only have to observe your opponents for information, and have to make plays which reveal more information about your opponent's hands, but you also have to conceal your own hand strength and strategies while doing so.

Physical Tells: What are the three categories of physical tells that the authors stress the most importance on? What are the two big points mentioned about tells? What are the two ways of hiding physical tells the authors mention?

Facial expressions, hand motions, and body language were the three mentioned.
The two points I was looking for were: 1) If you think an opponent is weak or new to the game, then more stress should be put on physical tells, as they don't know how to conceal them yet like a more experienced player would. 2) Strength means weakness, and weakness means strength. I think this holds true for alot of the time with newbies, and also holds true with advanced players, even if they know it themselves, they still tend to 'disguise' their true strength by doing just the opposite.

Betting Patterns: What players, specifically, should you pay most attention to at a table? What are the four main aspects of a bettor's patterns should you watch for?

(For the newbie: ) Start out by observing the 2 players to the left of you, and one to your right. Then as you get comfortable with reading them, expand to another on the left and the right until you have reads on the whole table.
The four aspects I was asking about were:
Number of hands they play - you get an idea about their table image, aswell as their hand strength
Hands they've shown down - again will give you an idea of the hands they play
Whether they're more prone to call or raise - will give you an idea of their style
How do they respond to aggression - someone folding every time they raise and someone comes over the top of them is likely a loose aggressive player who likes to steal; this factor gives you an impression to the strength of his hands and his raises, aswell as how easy they are to steal from.

Observing yourself: Why should you 'observe' yourself? What are the three questions you should frequently ask yourself in relation to your play and your table image? How should these questions/factors affect your play?

I think Medeiros put this pretty well; 'tells' aren't just about reading your opponents - they also will be trying to read you, and how they react to your actions will depend heavily on how you've been playing and what cards you've shown.
 
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