Sunday, April 26, 2009

Showing Cards

I used to be a 7 card stud player for years. When NLHE became the choice of games a few years back I found the changeover from stud a bit of a tough one. The biggest change for me was trying not to become too predictable. You can play on the Internet everyday and you will always be playing different people from all over the globe. I play more live than I do electronically so I am constantly playing some of the same people over and over.

That means they can get a read on you if you do the same moves over and over. I have a reputation as a TAG. In other words if you tangle with me in a hand you better have the goods because I usually do if I am in a pot. I try to take down a pot as soon as a scary board hits. I always would rather win a small pot than lose a large one. In tournament play being too TAG usually means you will last awhile but unless the cards are flowing your way your chances of getting to the final table with sufficient chips can be tough. I was finding that if I did final table I was usually short stacked and basically committed to waiting to push and hoping to double. That's not a great way to play. You are committed to trying to win races and we all know that even going in as a favourite you are going to lose a lot. Playing too tight was not working.

I still try and cultivate that reputation as TAG and do so by showing cards occasionally when I have a great hand. I know that goes against a lot of expert opinion that you should never show your cards. That's a huge change for me as before I never showed unless I was called. This enables me to play less than great cards at times as I try in get in peoples minds that I am only playing good cards.

I remember about a month ago I was in a hand with a young guy who is a good player. This is someone who I have played with many times including once heads up at a tournament (which I won). Earlier in the night I had showed a couple winning hands but this time I had totally missed my hand but instead of betting big or checking I bet the minimum and he looked at the bet as if I had the nuts and folded. I even had another player comment that looked like a bet to get someone to contribute to the pot when I had a good hand. Yea well knowing how good a player he was that bet was to get him to think I had good cards as I never bet like that. I wouldn't try that with just anyone though or too often and of course if he had a great hand he would have raised or called. Just glad it worked that time.

To me HE is a constant learning curve. There are so many good players out there now that you constantly have to look at ways of improving. I love the AllVegas poker site as there is so much information there and if you ever need to someone's opinion on how to play a hand or how you should have played you will get lots of help.

The WPT event wrapped up yesterday and Yevgeniy Timoshenko (pictured above) won the first prize of 2.1 million. That's incredible money. Second place went to Ron Azor and he collected 1.4 million. Both will probably also get some sort of sponsorships from one of the poker sites. Looking through the list of people who cashed in this event you find the name Boris Becker. The same guy who entertained the tennis world and former Wimbledon winner. Its interesting to see some big names from the sports and entertainment world have latched on to the poker boom. People like Gabe Kaplan, Orel Hershiser,Don Cheadle to name a few. What they have that the average person doesn't have is the cash to enter these events. Its still great to see them there though and that's what makes poker special. Imagine sitting at poker tournament and having one of these guys next to you. It certainly would be fun.


  1. Thank you for your kind comments on my blog.

    I was fortunate enough to draw the same table as Gabe Kaplan in the WSOP O-8 event last summer. It was quite the entertaining experience.

    Hopefully we can catch up the next time you're in town.

  2. Love your blog BWOP. Gabe would be a laugh to play with. So much so it might be tough to concentrate. Will be in town for a week in Sept. Look forward to it

  3. know that goes against a lot of expert opinion that you should never show your cards.Players say stuff like this all the time. When you pin them down, they say I don't want the other to know how I play. In fact, this is superficial.

    Let's say you're in a tournament. The blinds and antes are big. It folds to you in the SB, and your raise. You pick up a nice pot, this is a good result for you, but. . . the third or so time you do this, you better show if you have anything. The BB will get tired of it. If you have 10-10 or something, make the same bet you've been making, then show him. This says, "See, I've got something when I raise." Not showing is a huge mistake.

    The excuse, I don't want them to know how I'm playing doesn't hold in the scenario above. You raised! Showing a good hand doesn't show him how you play. There's the two of you and you raised, what is there for him to find out?

  4. Gabe Kaplan isn't just a celebrity who plays poker. He's an expert at the game.

  5. Well, DB, it was hard to ignore him. He played about 80% of the hands and somehow managed to make it through level 6 or 7. The dead pan comments never stopped coming.


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