Rule What do good players see How do the pros read their opponents

Experienced players are observant. They notice things. They notice the things their opponents do, the things they don't do, and the things they do but suddenly stop doing. If you have a good hand, one that you feel pretty good about, and you get a cigarette out of your shirt-pocket, light it, and put your lighter down in front of your chips, then the next time you decide to smoke, when you don't have quite as good a hand, you'd better do all these things exactly the same way. Or if you're doing any talking, you'd better use the same tone of voice both times, and not be solid and confident one time and slightly quavering the next. Good players notice things. They notice something the opponent did an hour earlier, perhaps; some vague sense of his body language: the way he acted throughout a certain hand; the way he was slumping and bored for an hour and is now suddenly very alert; the way he was talking a minute earlier and suddenly stopped; a distant, nagging memory of the way he acted on one other occasion when he had a monster hand, and on and on. And remember, they can tie all this to the cards showing on the table, to other situational clues, to how the betting went earlier in the hand and so on. They notice all these things and file them away for future reference. So while some of us are staring off into space, or watching the television up on the wall and wondering why our favorite basketball team isn't rebounding on the offensive boards, they're paying attention to the game.

  • It's not enough just to have a poker face. You have to have poker shoulders and poker handsĀ».
  • John Vorhaus
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