Live Poker Tells 4 – Lie to Me

One of the most well known hands in poker history, was the final hand of the 1998 WSOP when Scotty Nguyen famously said ‘you call & it’s going to be all over baby’. His opponent, Kevin McBride, did call, & it indeed was all over. Scotty Nguyen was the 1998 WSOP Main Event Winner.

Players talking at the table is part of the live poker experience. Here at Dusk Till Dawn our rules allow players to chat away, even in multi way pots (as long as they are not revealing their hand), & the verbal sparring that punctuates a poker hand adds to the enjoyment of being at the table. Those exchanges can also be a mine of useful information to help us make good decisions.

Scotty Nguyen is one of poker’s great talkers, emitting a consistent flow of words, whether he has the hand locked up, or is all in holding two napkins. Fortunately for us, the players in the Wednesday £10k at Dusk Till Dawn, for the most part, have not got the verbal dexterity of Mr Nguyen.

I have two default rules for your regular poker player, when it comes to talking :

  • If they talk before they make a significant bet, & then are quiet whilst waiting for your action, they are mostly weak – almost as if they are trying to convince themselves to make a bet.
  • If they are quiet before they make a significant bet, & are talking easily after, they are mostly strong – it’s much more difficult to talk confidently when you are bluffing. You are very concerned about giving something away, & usually concentrate harder on the words you are using.

One other thing to look out for is the how a player responds to questions that you ask.

I was watching a hand a few weeks ago, where one player had made a large bet on a TQJ6 board. Their opponent was probing for information – ‘have you got a big hand?’, ‘have you got 2 pair beat’ etc… with no response. They then asked ‘have you got ace-king?’, to which they got the instant reply, ‘no, I definitely haven’t got ace-king!’.

The opponent eventually calls, & the player turns over a set of Jacks to be way ahead of AQ.

Players often don’t want to lie outright, particularly when they are strong. When they are bluffing, no problem. They are already trying to deceive, one extra untruth doesn’t seem so bad.

The person in the hand clearly didn’t want to say anything – until he got a question he was happy to tell the truth to.

It’s good to talk – but it can be quite expensive.

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