Shirley Rosario
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Shut Up and Listen

Poker Table Talk

by Shirley Rosario

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Poker Table TalkWhile sitting at a poker table, conversation is inevitable. The thing to remember is that most of the time it is more important to listen than it is to talk.

Information about players in your game surrounds you. You might notice a specific player throws his chips in softly if he has a strong hand. You might notice if a certain player raises preflop, he will always bet on the flop. You might also notice that there is one player who will only play large pocket pairs. Although you might gain a lot of information from observing what the players at the table are doing, sometimes you have the potential to gain a lot more if you shut up and listen to what they are saying.

I was sitting in a No Limit game the other day as the players were discussing what kind of hands were playable and what kinds were not. "Suited connectors are the type of hands that just get you into trouble". "I donít like to play suited aces unless I have a big kicker." I couldnít believe some of the things I was hearing. The first instinct I had was to engage in the conversation. I wanted them to understand why some of their thoughts were not sound, but I realized it was much more important for me to shut up. I had tons of information at my fingertips if I just listened to what they had to say. I was able to use a lot of information throughout the day at the table. One of the players who said he didnít like suited connectors was in for a shock when I took all of his chips.

The game had been going on for awhile and both of us had big stacks in front of his. The player made a sizeable raise from middle position and I called one off the button with 64. The flop was Q64 with two clubs and he made a bet slightly larger than the size of the pot. I knew there was no way he could have me beat on the flop and very unlikely he had a huge draw. It was easy for me to rule out some possible starting hands because of his betting pattern. Considering he made a large bet on the flop, I ruled out that he flopped a set. From his conversations, I knew that he didnít like suited connectors so he wasnít holding 75 of clubs or any other dangerous draw. There were only three hands that he could possible have. He could have pocket aces, pocket kings, or AQ. All three of these hands could not give him the flush unless he hit runner, runner (the queen of clubs was on the board). The turn was a ten and I knew I was going to get all of his chips. He made another large bet and I moved in behind him. He ended up having pocket kings and I ended up having all of his chips. If I hadnít listened and remembered all of the details of his conversation, I would not have been able to rule out some of his possible hands and I might not have been able to make such an easy call on the flop.

It is easy to get swept into a conversation without realizing what kind of information you could be divulging. If there are a bunch of idiots at the table it is even more difficult to keep your mouth shut. I love to make a know-it-all person look like a fool by proving to them that their approach to the game is wrong. There is no better way to prove to them than by taking all of their chips. The way to do this is by listening to everything they say and using it against them. The bottom line is... Shut up.