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Example of a bluff tell that Bart's talked about before

CruelUltimatum Posts: 160Subscriber
edited November -1 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
The nuts change on the river and guy snap bets. This is usually a sign of weakness because when the nuts change and if he had a value hand, the player would at least take time to consider what's going on, how much he should bet, should he bet, etc..

I've seen this happen a few times in live play, and it's a pretty reliable tell.

Comments

  • deadinaditchdeadinaditch Posts: 207Subscriber
    Amazing call. So Koskas calls a raise HU vs. Jason Mercier who he knows doesn't have to have a premium hand. Unless the flop hits him he should be easy to dispatch, or so he thinks. Mercier must be well aware of his own image and that he might be a target to a good player like Eric Koskas and when Koskas just calls (from the sb?) he is giving a bit away. After all, he does appear to be getting short and if he had a premium hand why not raise or even shove all in vs. a player he thinks is running over the table? Koskas might try to trap with AA-KK but he certainly would not check in the dark with any high pair that stands to be good after the flop. There are just too many boards he would not want to risk giving a free card should it check back. Mercier can safely eliminate all high pairs from his range and probably AK, AQ as he would certainly have raised PF with those. That said, no way he could put him on a hand as weak as T3o; maybe a speculative hand like a small pair or suited connectors and gappers.

    So why do people check in the dark? This is hard to say for certain and I think that most often it's done to look cool at the table, but what purpose does it actually serve when done correctly? Well, it disguises the strength of your hand. When you call a raise with a non made hand that needs to connect in some way to be good, checking the flop every time you miss is just burning money. Checking in the dark is a sort of way to gain position and thus information over the PF raiser. Your check means nothing, but you can still tell alot about him by how he reacts to the flop.

    And in fact, Koskos does gain some info on Mercier. Under normal conditions the PF raiser is going to bet this flop every time but without something to go on Mercier is a little apprehensive so he checks back hoping that the he can gain some info on the turn. The check back told Koskas that Mercier most likely does not have a strong hand which should mean that the pot is his for the taking. Now it's time to follow through and reap the rewards.

    Not so fast Moriarty. Koskas continues his sinister plan with a gross overbet, tc220k into tc180k. this bet is totally disproportionate to the dynamics of the hand. The only time you'd bet like this is A) You think you have the best hand and your opponent has shown enough interest to call or B) You have a weak or non existent hand and want the other guy to go away. The former certainly doesn't fit. Jason raised pf and checked back the flop. But I gotta hand it to the kid. I would have let it go here. Sure your bottom pair might be good now but there are just too many scare cards that can come on the river to make this call profitable. He could shove over the top but he will NEVER get called by worse. But he smells a rat and decides to grab the tiger by the tail hold on for dear life.

    So the river card is another Eight, Koskas moves All-in. As the OP and apparently Bart says, the insta shove looks really bluffy. Mercier tanks for a good bit and eventually calls. I can see an Ace or a King slowing him down a bit but the eight changed nothing so I'm a little surprised it took him so long. Also, when he called the turn he must have known that the all-in shove by Koskas was the only logical conclusion to the story. But this was a huge pot and it's hard to fault anyone for having second thoughts.

    I think they both made some mistakes but all-in-all this was a great hand hand that could only go down between two great players. Jason Mercier made an amazing call but Koskas played his side of it it just as well. This should have worked and 99 times out of 100 it would have. His only fault was underestimating Jason Mercier's courage and hand reading skill. You don't become king of the mountain just by playing the cards in front of you.
  • CruelUltimatum Posts: 160Subscriber
    deadinaditch said

    So why do people check in the dark? This is hard to say for certain and I think that most often it's done to look cool at the table, but what purpose does it actually serve when done correctly? Well, it disguises the strength of your hand. When you call a raise with a non made hand that needs to connect in some way to be good, checking the flop every time you miss is just burning money. Checking in the dark is a sort of way to gain position and thus information over the PF raiser. Your check means nothing, but you can still tell alot about him by how he reacts to the flop.
    Good post, but I have some pretty big quibbles with this part.

    When you check dark, you're not gaining position from the preflop raiser. Checking dark is the same as deciding to check all flops regardless of what the flop is. You don't get position. You've acted, now the player in position has seen that you haven't bet, he's seen the flop, and now can decide to see a free card or to bet the flop. How have you gained position? You've acted and the opponent's seen the cards and he still gets to decide if he wants to put more money into the pot or not. That's not position!

    How does dark checking disguise the strength of your hand while checking normally doesn't? If you see the flop and check an overpair or a set or TPTK, is your opponent going to somehow pick up on that because you saw three cards before making the same action?

    The only way I see it being different is if you think the opponent is going to react differently to a dark check than a normal check on the flop (if you've decided to check your entire range on the flop for some reason). But now you're delving pretty far into FPS land if you think "oh, okay, I'm going to psychologically trick him into making a bad decision because I've checked dark and I'm going to psyche him out." But I don't think that's being very realistic.

    And is it even good to have ZERO donk leading range? Wet boards with two pair? Are you dark checking with big pairs? And if your dark checking range isn't balanced, then you're giving away information to an observant opponent. Now you have to worry about balancing your range here for...what advantage are you gaining? And it's another thing to think about - poker's hard, there's a ton going on, you have a lot of brainpower being used, and you're adding just another thing on top of this by having to balance your dark checking range. And you're gaining no real advantage that I can see. This part is a minor consideration overall.

    To recap:
    * Checking dark does not give you position any more than checking normally with your entire range (which is to say, it doesn't)
    * Checking dark does not disguise your hand any more than checking normally with your entire range
    * Checking dark takes away your ability to lead the flop.
    * Checking dark does expose information about the strength of your hand unless you're always checking all flops in HU pots OOP or are balancing your dark checking range. I believe this is mentally taxing for little to no gain.

    To recap the recap:
    I think dark checking is a FPSy move that costs you more than you gain.
  • deadinaditchdeadinaditch Posts: 207Subscriber
    Hey CruelUltimatum. I love the handle.

    You also make some good points or quibbles and I'd like to address a few of them. But not all 'cause it's late and I gotta be up early to milk the cows.

    Checking dark is in fact a way of gaining a sort of temporary position in that the one checking actually does get to be the first one to act with information on the other player. Yes it's true that a check to the preflop raiser is not a totally reliable tell, but it is something. Whenever you check a flop the preflop raiser knows that you saw the flop and made you're decision with some deliberation based on it's content. It might be a bad flop for you or you might be planning to check call or check raise but the action still has meaning and it's up to the raiser to tease it out. True that checking your entire range is very similar to checking dark, but who does that? I sure wouldn't and I doubt you would either. So yes, the preflop raiser does gain information by your none dark checks. You might be tricky and feed him false info, but it's still info.

    Checking dark only exposes the strength of you're hand in the sense that there are some hands which you would never do this with, really any hands which become difficult to play the deeper the hand goes, specifically big pairs and big aces. For that reason I too think checking dark is a bad idea, why on earth would I want to announce that AA-JJ is out of my range. But I suppose it might have it's merits when you're up against players who haven't figured that out yet.

    All that said, I have never done this in my life and for many of the reasons you gave above. It might confuse your opponent a bit but I just don't think think you get enough bang for the buck out of it. Also I don't want to limit my options on the flop and I certainly don't want to give a free card when I pair up on a drawy board.

    But still, for whatever reason many players do check dark and my previous post was merely an attempt to explain the thought process. If you still disagree I'd be very interested in hearing your take on what makes them tick.
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