Some players seem to think the only real poker tactic is deception. Their whole game is built around that one tactical ploy. You can save yourself a lot of money by early identification of players whose entire arsenal of poker tactics is built on that singular idea of deception.
I was playing some 1/2 blind no limit
last night. The game had a capped buy in
I'm on the big blind with a Kd
8d, there are 3 limpers
and the small blind in the pot and I check preflop
The flop is a 346, with 2 hearts and a diamond.
The turn is 8c. The small blind checks.
I bet $10. One caller. Then the mid-position limper makes it $30. The late position limper folds, as does the small blind.
It's my turn.
What does he have? Is my hand any good? If I'm not best how many outs do I have.
I thought I was drawing dead. What hand could he possibly have that he would've played from mid-position, checked that flop, then raised the turn?
In answering those questions we need to start with what I know about the player. I didn't really know much. I'd just recently arrived at the table and hadn't seen anything noticeable
occur in any of the hands I'd watched so far. But this is a live game. I could look at the guy. Stereotypes
can be helpful, and this guy fit one poker player stereotype
that you don't often see discussed. He looked like a farmer.
He was in his 50's or 60's, wearing a feed store ball cap, tanned, weathered face, and large, rough hands. Casual clothes, neat but not pressed. I've seen that type in cardrooms
around Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, and even Reno. They generally fall into one of two categories, a wild gambler type or a steady but loose and tricky type.
The first type often gets out of line and overvalues his hand and situation. The second type seldom overvalues his hand and seldom gets out of line for more than a minimum bet.
I'm not able to tell which type of farmer I'm looking at by just looking, but the way this hand played out gave a strong clue as to what kind of player he is. If he'd have hit any part of that flop at all you would not have checked the flop, with something like an 86 or even 84 or just a flush draw he'd have bet the flop, pushing the boundaries of his marginal hand. Neither type is likely to raise me on the turn unless they can beat top pair or have a strong draw to beat it.
With a player left behind him the steady but tricky type of farmer would be very likely to have checked that flop with a 75 however.
That's what I put him on. Exactly a 75. I thought I was drawing dead with my top pair. I folded. That early position limper called his raise then called another $40 when a blank face card hit the river. The farmer had flopped the nuts, just as I'd concluded after his turn raise.
I don't think my laydown
was particularly special, it's almost never a good idea to call a turn raise with just a pair, but I decided to blog about it because I think my read of that player is a good example of how to combine thoughts about stereotypes and the particular beating pattern of a hand.
This sort of thing is one way that poker math relates to poker psychology. There are separate things but the complementary aspect of the two is more important than either individual view. Poker math and poker psychology serve each other, and you can't really meaningfully apply either of the two approaches without incorporation of the other. The psychology comes in when identifying the stereotype. The mathematics comes in when comparing the betting pattern two the two different possible interpretation of player stereotype of the middle-aged, tractor driving, farmer.
Update: I corrected a minor typo
Labels: player stereotype, top pair, when to fold