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Observations from the Bike: No lessons at the table

PokerLivinPokerLivin Posts: 20Subscriber
edited November -1 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
I came down to LA for a few days last weekend and thought I would offer some ideas. The most striking thing I noticed during most of my play at the Bike (in the 200-500 and 300-1000 games) was that the regs were incessantly talking strategy to the entire table during hands. They were talking ranges, justifying every move, discussing situations, etc. They were giving full-length strategy lessons at the table. They also made it loud and clear that they all new each other and were even playing games with each other on their phones in between (and during) hands. There were times that as many as six people at the table were screwing with their phones.

I was reminded of my early days as a (bigger) fish. I was a huge donator and when I got the sense that the entire table was full of career players with mystical knowledge of the game I would just get up and leave. I can also credit much of my advancement to those "regs" back then who couldn't keep their mouths shut and let kernels of knowledge and truth slip so often that ideas started to stick in my ignorant poker brain.

I remember clearly one time where one reg was justifying his bet on some street to another reg. He said "you have to make bets while they still have outs". At the time all I knew was slowplaying and this enormous light bulb exploded in my brain. YOU HAVE TO BET WHILE THEY STILL HAVE OUTS! Of course! From that INSTANT forward I was determined to understand the game. Immediately after this reg spouted his idea, another reg at the table said "don't give lessons at the table". I think he saw the flash in my brain. I immediately understood that there were intricacies to the game and knew that I could become a contender if I figured out how to study the game. I suddenly understood that there were basic ideas I was lacking. The curtain was peeled back. I saw OZ.

Until that point I had spent months just almost blindly donating basically thousands to the game. I loved the game and knew I could learn the game but I didn't know where to start or how to learn. The regs indirectly taught me. I took the lessons they gave at the table and investigated. Instead of just running back to the table with my next 2k I sought out strategy help.

The point is obvious, people. The money comes from the fish. Smarter and more aware fish give up less money. Uncomfortable fish give up less or leave or worse, learn the game. I always knew I was the fish but i liked the challenge and sometimes I won. Once I realized that a little bit of strategy knowledge would help stop my bleeding and make the game more fun and profitable I became determined to actually become a winner. I realized that the deck was stacked against me and that the regs were laughing their way to the bank using some core knowledge that I lacked.

Maybe this process would have happened naturally but it was DEFINITELY accelerated by the big mouthed regs who for whatever reason just could not keep their mouths shut. I would have probably donated for another year and then eventually given up and not become another tougher recreational player. But thanks to whatever the problem is (boredom? ego? ignorance? imperviousness?) I started listening very carefully to the regs and picked up enough info to hold tighter to my money and start studying the game.

Most fish will remain fish longer if you guys will keep it quiet and provide a comfortable place to play. Be nice to the fish. Don't make them feel like the only sucker at the table. And don't teach them how to beat you. You may always be one step ahead of them but why not be seven steps ahead? And if you're gonna play your super TAG styles and get bored at the table, play games in your head not on your phone. You are missing so much information while you play your stupid games with the other regs. Watch Rambo VII at home after your session. You will have the time to do so because your sessions will be shorter when you pay attention to the game and pick up some extra spots.

It is so satisfying to me to go back to my original casinos and play regs that haven't played me for years and just pick them apart. They get that deer in the headlights look when they see the moves I've learned. Now most of them are afraid of me. Thanks for handing my money back boys.

Don't hand your money back.



  • Good post! I wish all the regs at my casino would read this.
  • floppedawheel Posts: 1,063Subscriber
    absolutely fantastic post. this strat talk is almost like a dare to other players who haven't taken the time really study the game, or discovered that there are ways to do so. and i am a number-one culprit. i find it irresistible to discuss interesting spots about hands that have just happened if i happen to be sitting next to players who i know understand and respect the game. it's not like i'm going on and on about way ahead/way behind or ranges or merging or polarization (wait, that one actually did come up recently. oh, wait, so did ranging) but any talk is basically a leak. part of my problem is that none of my circle of friends really plays poker -- except one, who plays 2/4 limit, who i should just be telling -- hey, man, like don't play that game.

    i think there's the expectation that the players who aren't as good just will have no interest in spending any time away from the table improving their game, no matter how much we dangle the information in front of them. and that's a mistake. every one of us probably used to suck. somehow, we got better. and part of that were the little tidbits that slipped out at the table. we underestimate our opponents/donators in this way, to a very large degree, i feel.

    one thing i have never done is utter the words "seat open poker," "bart hanson," or "twoplustwo" at the table. i can't even imagine the suicide of wearing a "Seat Open Poker" T shirt at my local casino.

    EDIT: for the most part, whenever i slip up and talk strat at the table, it's very quietly. but hell, we're at a poker table, so it can't be hard for others to hear, if they want to.
  • Hurtsogood Posts: 18Subscriber
    Great post!

    Its really annoys me to a great deal when i here players talking strategy at the table. even more so about, the why, and the way they played a certain hand. "you didnt bet enough" "why you bet so small"..."why you check the turn? you have to bet there" etc etc.

    With this said, i have been guilty of it from time to time. usually when a friend is sitting right next to me. and i never comment on how someone else played their hand....it really takes a lot of decipline (for me) to play "mum poker" about discussing strategy at the table 100% of the time..

    Recognizing how -ev this was in the long run (talking strategy at the table) me and my buddy came up with an idea....

    We play a lot together at the same casino and if one person EVER heres the other person talking strategy at the table?....its 5$ paid right on the spot!!!!...its not a lot but we are both very competive and hate to lose.

    I think im down about 40$ in the last 3mo.

    But....i havent given him a dime in the last 3wks.

    Be Well All!
  • PokerIsFrustrating Posts: 657Member
    2 types of guys IMO strat talk at the table.

    1) Guys who suck at poker but think they're good - they love to give awful advice
    2) Guys who are insecure about either their game or themselves in general - they want everyone to know how great their plays were

    You don't really see the best players doing this - even when they tilt they don't give a whole strategy lesson.

    I know guys who are like #2 IMO. Good players but they think everyone sucks (even guys who I know are legit) and want to make sure the fish know they made a bad play. I really think they're insecure and they want to tell everyone how great they are. It's not cool and doesn't make them look good.

    I purposely say absolutely stupid stuff when those guys make comments - like "All draws are 50/50, you win or you lose." They either get it that they should stop talking or I'll be even more annoying and eventually they'll argue with me about how dumb I am or they'll just get annoyed and stop.
  • JCW Posts: 591Subscriber
    If you read some of the books on being a salesman some of them will talk about the natural need people have to be recognize for their intelligence. Lots of poker pro have this need as well (as do nits, regs, fish, and well everyone... I don't care about them as much). This need to show off our knowledge is a great source of many problems in our lives. Problems in relationship, communication, socializing and yes making a sale.

    It also is a huge leak in poker.

    IMO you got to beat that $&@! out of you. If you don't want to appear stupid then at least shut up. Mike Caro was the first to extensively talk about this early in poker. His work is as relevant today as it was in the 80's. Don't talk poker at the table!

    Yes I too have this leak from time to time. But I am working all the time to stop myself.

    As for the other stuff about the regs at the Bike...
  • SpewArtist Posts: 68Subscriber
    Excellent Post thumb
  • chilidog Posts: 2,427Subscriber
    This thread sorta reminds of a thread I once read on another forum:
  • Seanpeter Posts: 12Subscriber
    After recently returning to poker after 4-5 years (previously played full time for 19 years), this post exposes the greatest risk to the continuing profitability
    of live poker at the mid stakes levels. The fools that are guilty should shut the hell up..and phones should only be allowed use near the table when you are not dealt into the current hand at all..some tables it is like seeing a bunch of cloned robots!

  • PokerIsFrustrating Posts: 657Member
    One thing I have seen is a lot of guys who talk strategy are absolutely horrible.

    A guy told me the other day that someone overshoved on him and showed him a flush draw face up, and he had to tank for a while to make the call. The guy was running hot, he said, and you don't want to make that call and lose $700 to some fish on a heater.

    Stuff like that. Another guy folded a set getting >3-1 on the flop because he was sure the guy had a straight and when you're beat you need to fold.

    Just don't correct them and needle the obnoxious pros when they try to give advice and you should be ok.

    Now the other day I heard a rec player talking about stuff he read on this "Seat Open" site. That sucked hehe.
  • floppedawheel Posts: 1,063Subscriber
    another thing on this is, on one of the days when i was an unforgivable blabbermouth, going into a lot of detail about a pretty interesting hand i played with another guy who knew what he was doing, some of the other, older players asked us to shut the hell up about it. like, 'that damn hand was 15 minutes ago, for chrissake!' not because they didn't want secrets coming out, but because they found it annoying, and, dare i say, boring.... so if we're not letting things slip out to people who might find it interesting and eventually use it against us, we're bothering others who don't like nerdy things like analysis being talked about, so it takes the fun away, and that, too, is bad for the game....
  • chilidog Posts: 2,427Subscriber
    DGAF set a new standard for pros / serious regs when he learned to continue crushing live NL when sloppy drunk. And he is good at getting other people to join in the fun too (partially cuz he buys the drinks a lot). Shout outs to live pros/regs who get it.

    Edit: and by the way, i can't remember ever hearing him utter a word of strat talk at the tables. Even when he wins the $10k pot with K3 vs J8.
  • floppedawheel Posts: 1,063Subscriber
    chilidog said

    DGAF set a new standard for pros / serious regs when he learned to continue crushing live NL when sloppy drunk. And he is good at getting other people to join in the fun too (partially cuz he buys the drinks a lot). Shout outs to live pros/regs who get it.

    Edit: and by the way, i can't remember ever hearing him utter a word of strat talk at the tables. Even when he wins the $10k pot with K3 vs J8.

    attempt at your own risk
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