Data d'unió: 21 d’abr. de 2022

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Probing Techniques

There are many ways to probe, and the more you use them well, the more information you will get. Some techniques are directly contradictory because different situations create varied demands. So learn when and how to use each one.

Check, Call, Bet, and Raise

These are the standard probes, but most players don’t use them well. They bet or raise because they like their hand and check or call because they don’t like it. To get more information from betting, and so on, decide in advance which inferences you will make from various reactions, then do whatever will teach you the most.

Barry Tanenbaum suggested an example: you raise with ace-king suited, one player calls, another three-bets and someone four-bets (in the Bellagio that has a five-bet cap). If you cap, you learn nothing. By calling, you learn whether the three-bettor caps. Note that the passive action (calling) provides more information than the aggressive one (capping).

Ask Many Questions

Most players rarely ask questions, but top pros do it frequently: “Did you make a flush?” “Are you bluffing?” “Why didn’t you bet the flop?” They don’t expect honest answers, but hope to learn from the opponents’ reactions.

When I suggested copying them, a friend angrily disagreed, “That’s unprofessional! I don’t like people who ask questions, and I won’t do it!” She reversed the usual pattern. Normally, we copy top pros’ actions. They are the role models who define “professionalism” (even though a few act outrageously for the television cameras). She unconsciously implied that she was more professional than the top pros.

Nonsense! She is rationalizing her fear of looking “unprofessional.” We all rationalize our fears, but we must resist all emotionally based reactions and do whatever improves our results. I share her discomfort about asking questions, but recognize that not asking them (politely) is unprofessional and—from a profit-maximizing perspective—“irrational.”

You may not ask enough questions because you are afraid of looking ignorant or offending people. Admitting your ignorance may be embarrassing, but not asking enough questions reduces your information, which will cause mistakes, cost you money, and make you look even more foolish. Fear of offending is natural, but harmful. Never forget that poker is a predatory, power-oriented game, and information is power. If your discomfort prevents you from getting information, you give away both power and chips.

Resist your fears and discomfort, and apply this book’s central theme: The critical difference between winners and losers is that winners do whatever works, while losers do whatever makes them comfortable.



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