The other day, I was playing some $.50/1 NL 6-max and was faced with a situation that had profound implications for my game. A regular, solid player raised UTG and I flat called him on the button with 55. The flop came Qc 8c 4d. The raiser checked first and since this seemed like a flop that he might fear giving a free card on, I bet 3/4 pot behind him and he quickly called. I had almost given up on the hand but then I spiked a 5 on the turn and bet about 2/3 pot behind him, as I had put him on either TT or JJ at this point. He called again and then checked the river when a complete brick fell. There was now about $50 in the pot and I fired for $40. There was a slight hesitation before this came out in the chat box from his end:
"God, I'm the worst player ever! I can't believe I am doing this..."
He then mucked and flashed AA for the entire table to see! It goes without saying that this was the last hand I expected to see here. Seeing as he was willing to part with this initial information, I went ahead and asked why he would do that, to which he replied, "I knew I was beat."
"So what did I have then?" I replied.
"A set probably."
So given the sequence of raise, check, call, check, call, check, fold, I had to know how he could possibly have put me on the correct hand. A question he errantly obliged for me.
"You bet too fast. If you were going to bluff, you would have a least thought about it for a few seconds." Now in this regard he was mostly inaccurate, but in hindsight I had been a little too eager to get my money in the pot...presumably because I would never expect anyone to make this kind of fold. But clearly I am in error here, but my error is not the focus of this blog entry.
In his eagerness to prove how quickly he could lay down AA and prove how much smarter he was than me, he gave me an incredible insight into my own game, as well as offering me and anyone who was paying attention a method to now effectively bluff him off strong hands with a very casual betting line.
The moral of the story is thus: I now count to at least three whenever I make any decision, even if I am planning on check-folding. I should have noticed myself that I was giving this information away, particularly now that I am beginning to make a very substantial amount of my decisions based on the click tells that many people are giving away, at LEAST at the lower levels.
I guess now would also be the perfect time to add this addition to my last post about multi-tabling negative effects. A particularly strong one is that people who are playing too many tables are subconsciously giving away too much information in the timing of their bets and checks. After all, if you were playing 12 tables, how much time do you really care to put into disguising the strength of a hand that you never intended to ever play?
To wrap it up, he asked me again right before he left what I had had. Did I tell him?
Not a fucking chance.