General live question

plusRCLplusRCL Red Chipper Posts: 9 ✭✭
Hey all, love the course, only posted a couple of times but would be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

I'm fairly new to the game, not played much live and probably played 6k hands online over a year or two. Very much a rec player.

I've played live at a casino in the UK very infrequently over the last few years, and since I've mostly played online I have to focus a lot to keep the action in mind - stack sizes, who did what, betting, even my position, etc.

Other players seem to play the game whilst paying almost no attention to it - most wear earphones and some are even watching movies on ipads whilst they play, only looking up when the action is on them.

What should I make of this? My gut feeling is that even after playing LOOOTS of live poker, this can't be something which is indicative of a good - thinking player.

You're simply splitting your attention and not focusing very much on the game, and that can't be good, right?

Should I pin these players as recs (like myself) who've just been around a while - developed a system, and just play that system? So they don't need to concentrate that much on the game.

What do you guys think?

Comments

  • plusRCLplusRCL Red Chipper Posts: 9 ✭✭
    P.S - This was a £35 buy in MTT, approx 45 dolllars - so low stakes, but still.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 1,422 -
    This is a great general question, but let's get the specific spot out the way first. At 35 quid you're not gonna find a lot of pros. However...

    One of the best players I know in Vegas will often be seen at the Venetian wearing headphones and staring at a tablet as he plays 2/5 NLHE or 1/2/5 PLO. He's usually multitabling online. Does this mean his full focus is on the live game? Obviously not. Does this make him exploitable? Quite likely so. Do I make an effort to play at his table? Hell no, he's better than me.

    Equally, I know plenty of low-limit grinders who are also wearing headphones staring at a tablet and they're sweating an NBA bet or watching a Korean soap opera. A different ball of wax entirely. Most of them are small winners or break-even promo chasers and are not focusing on the game because playing 40 hours/week of live poker is really boring. They are typically non-threatening, but equally you very rarely see such behavior from newbies. They have to pay explicit attention.

    When I was putting in a lot of live tournament volume, I typically wore headphones. I have tinnitus from playing bass for decades and noise-canceling headphones make it easier for me to hear the table conversation since they filter out casino buzz. Many serious tournament pros who wear headphones are not listening to anything on them.
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  • plusRCLplusRCL Red Chipper Posts: 9 ✭✭
    That's so interesting.

    I can't imagine choosing to watch a film whilst playing at basically any stakes above the one and two cent tables online. Perhaps that's because I don't play lots.

    So with that in mind, particularly at the lower stakes I play - Should I make any kind of read off of this? - Presumably at the stakes I play, balance isn't super important (as long as I'm not being blatant), I guess I can push this a bit more versus this kind of player who isn't going to spot the difference between bet-sizes and stuff as readily as someone paying lots of attention?

    Maybe I'm reading into it too much and I should just ignore it as a factor.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 1,422 -
    I think the main thing to avoid, and this is generally true in poker, is spotting a potential edge and then over-correcting. To give a concrete example, suppose the player 3 to your left is apparently engrossed in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and you decide that whenever it's folded to you in CO you're going to raise their blind. They'll notice. In fact whenever you up your frequency of an aggressive action against an opponent it'll be a big blip on their radar.

    Your suggestion of exploitatively altering bet sizes has a much better chance of paying dividends and staying under the radar, provided of course it's theoretically sound in the first place.
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  • plusRCLplusRCL Red Chipper Posts: 9 ✭✭
    Cool, thanks.

    It comes off a little intimidating when you're a new player trying to take everything in and there are other people at the table who can play whilst watching a film with headphones in - I guess feeling more relaxed will have to come with time.

    Thanks for your time.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 1,422 -
    plusRCL wrote: »
    Cool, thanks.

    It comes off a little intimidating when you're a new player trying to take everything in and there are other people at the table who can play whilst watching a film with headphones in - I guess feeling more relaxed will have to come with time.

    Thanks for your time.

    Yup, best analogy I've heard is driving an automobile. Once the mechanics of it become second nature you'll effortlessly absorb what's going on around you.
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  • Jordan PowerJordan Power Red Chipper Posts: 266 ✭✭✭
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    Many serious tournament pros who wear headphones are not listening to anything on them.

    While not a tournament player, I generally have headphones in and nothing on. I also click the button on the side of my headphones to mute it once I get in a hand. Gotta sell it ;)

    I used to think the same thing: any player who was able to watch his iPad while playing was clearly #good and I should give them a wide berth. But it's not true; it's also not true that they're just playing their cards and not thinking at all. I think a big trap for players studying the game is assuming that those who do not appear to take it seriously are lost in the woods.

    But on a comfort level, I guarantee you'll feel more comfortable is you just nail the poker math and spend a few more hours on the felt. I didn't feel comfortable in my 1/3 game until I had the math down pat. It freed up so much mental energy to focus on other things that were going on. I wouldn't worry about stuff like this; study up and put in some more time, you'll be fine.
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,239 ✭✭✭✭✭
    it seems to me that we're mixing up cash games with tournies situations.

    it's not unusual for bad, loose players to pre-occupy their mind with something else in the early levels of a tournament - so they'll have chips for later.
    i totally disagree with Kat that this dude is good, great or even paying attention.
    guys in tournies that I see doing this are typically ONLY playing their hands.
    they're not pretending to watch and listen to a movie or HBO series, they really are! They don't want to lose chips early and have to push/fold in the mid rounds.

    that said: what do you make of this?
    typically you can steal their blinds with weaker holdings.
    they're giving up EV by not studying the player pool or reading them for possible tells. these types of players are typically guys that do this a lot and are bored with the game - but see it as "easy" money.

    as a student of the game, avoid doing this.
    instead, pay attention to everything.
    occupy your mind by calling the action (in your head) as if you were Norman Chad or Mike Sexton. by doing this, you'll start to pick up bet-sizing tells and what hands players show up with will make more sense by the river.
    point out things to yourself like the commentators do such as stack sizes, pot sizes, propensity to check/raise, how often a player is in a hand, etc.
    try to get ahead of the action if you can: "if he's got AK, he'll probably bet ⅔ pot here so he can shove on the river..."
    try to put players on ranges... hands, even.

    the more you play, the more you'll see a big difference in daily MTT players and live cash game players.
    I'm not going to call daily MTT players "bad"... but when you consider that most of them play tournies because they want to minimize their losses (it's capped at their buy-in) and most of them have a goal to make that small buy-in last as long as they can.... you can see that they're in a different league to serious poker players who play both or mainly cash.

    when you see a player do something that's out of the ordinary or seems counterproductive to what others are doing, ask yourself "why?"
    when you can figure that out, you'll have a glimpse into how your opponent is thinking and therefore, how he might play.

    since poker is a social game - try to engage anyone with headphones... ask what they're listening to, or if the movie they're watching is any good. figure out if they're really engrossed in their entertainment, or if it's just background and they're really paying attention to the game. (you can even ask them about the last hand... "what did he show?" to see if they were paying attention.)

    don't be intimidated by playing live.
    you're just using different muscles than what you require for online.
    and when you get into tough spots, do yourself a favor... don't rush yourself to make a decision. take your time to go back over the action (ala Mike Sexton) and let the rest of the table wait for you. it's cool.
  • TravisTravis Red Chipper Posts: 442 ✭✭✭
    The driving analogy is a good one,,, Yes quite often these players are just clicking cards, but it doesnt take too long before you notice subtle things without giving it your full attention, Like when driving and talking to a passenger you still notice the car in the distance that just pulled up to a stop sign s you are still making sure he doesnt run it and cause an accident with you though not focusing intently on it
  • BartholomewBartholomew Red Chipper Posts: 10 ✭✭
    I don't normally listen to anything when I have my headphones on. I put them on when I sit down because I have anxiety issues, and I don't want anyone talking to me until I start to feel okay.

    I do like having them for when I feel like I'm starting to tilt because I've found that listening to some of my favorite songs (Bohemian Rhapsody, anyone?) help center me.

    I also like having them for when the entire table is talking about football because I know practically nothing about the sport and can't contribute, but I try to keep the volume low enough that I can still hear, and I try to pick instrumental music so that I don't focus on the lyrics.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 1,422 -
    @kagey I think my point was that in this particular low buy-in tournament none of the field were likely to be superstars, but that headphones in themselves are not necessarily the sign of a distracted player.
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  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,239 ✭✭✭✭✭
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    @kagey I think my point was that in this particular low buy-in tournament none of the field were likely to be superstars, but that headphones in themselves are not necessarily the sign of a distracted player.

    actually @TheGameKat your advice was all over the place - making it confusing for a newbie to know what to think. On one hand you said:
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    At 35 quid you're not gonna find a lot of pros.

    but then you say
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    One of the best players I know in Vegas will often be seen at the Venetian wearing headphones and staring at a tablet as he plays 2/5 NLHE or 1/2/5 PLO.

    here, you're mixing MTT players with low limit Vegas grinders... a VERY different crowd.

    you also stated:
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    suppose the player 3 to your left is apparently engrossed in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and you decide that whenever it's folded to you in CO you're going to raise their blind. They'll notice.

    my experience is that if they're watching a movie, their watching a movie.
    and if their blinds are raised, they react based on their hand strength... having no clue who raised the last last or even what the action was.

    nobody goes to a local poker room armed with headphones and tablet, and plays the crappy daily tournament under the guise of pretending to watch a movie so when someone raises their blinds with trash they can counter with a 3-bet. It's a crappy strategy and would only work once if it worked at all.
    Plus, if you're going to give off reverse tells, you're not going to waste your time on a $45 MTT.

    in addition... if you're REALLY one of the BEST poker players, you're not going to be grinding 2/5 at the Venetian wearing headphones. Pah-lease... the cream rises to the top. If your friend was one of the best, he'd be playing in the higher stakes since Vegas offer games much, much higher than 2/5.

    Sometimes, things are exactly as they appear.
    A bad player watching a video is most likely a distracted bad player that's watching a video.
    So, can OP make a move? sure, why not?
    but as with everything in poker, you don't want to make continually make the same moves as the table will adjust...
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 1,422 -
    The "low-limit Vegas grinder" I was thinking about is also a successful MTT player with Hendon Mob live winnings over $640k, and considerable online success. I described him as one of the best "I know" which obviously doesn't include anyone in Bobby's room. That said, if you lived here you'd be aware that there are WSOP bracelet winners who regularly play $2/$5.

    As to the blind raising thing, clearly nobody is setting up some bizarre trap. However, weak players tend to take things personally and they do notice constant raising of their blinds. I'm confident of this because of the glares and comments I get when I'm doing the raising.

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  • jfarrow13jfarrow13 Red Chipper Posts: 1,215 ✭✭✭✭
    @kagey lol, I know right. Nobody with a tablet has a "fake" movie on, they are 100% waiting for a hand while watching a movie. That doesn't mean they don't pay attention to the game, they just aren't paying 100% attention. Same thing with headphones. When I had headphones, I 100% had music on, at least most of the time. The only "fake" tell I give off is the fact that I drink and am gambly. Which I am. But tight players will raise and I'll say "man, i wish I had cards to pay with you!" as I fold AJo, cause they only raise good broadways and I dont' wanna play a dominated ace.
  • jfarrow13jfarrow13 Red Chipper Posts: 1,215 ✭✭✭✭
    if you lived here you'd be aware that there are WSOP bracelet winners who regularly play $2/$5.

    Lol, the only time I've every played against a "pro" that I knew was Brian Hastings, playing $2/5 (I have a HH were he got me with AA). Only reason I knew it was him because when he was away from the table other people were like "this guy won a couple mil in a day and he's back playing $2/5?" and I had to google "poker player who won millions in a day" when I got home to figure out who he was. And why not? Even if you are a big pro, I doubt $70+ an hour isn't appealing to you.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 1,422 -
    jfarrow13 wrote: »
    if you lived here you'd be aware that there are WSOP bracelet winners who regularly play $2/$5.

    Lol, the only time I've every played against a "pro" that I knew was Brian Hastings, playing $2/5 (I have a HH were he got me with AA). Only reason I knew it was him because when he was away from the table other people were like "this guy won a couple mil in a day and he's back playing $2/5?" and I had to google "poker player who won millions in a day" when I got home to figure out who he was. And why not? Even if you are a big pro, I doubt $70+ an hour isn't appealing to you.

    I think a lot of players' views of higher limit action in Vegas is skewed because they come out during the series. I realize this isn't quite peak time, although it is a NFL play-off weekend, and besides I learned from Tommy Angelo to live in the moment. Plus my Bravo only works for "now."

    Anyway, point being there are currently 6 tables in Vegas playing above 2/5. 5/10 at the Aria and Wynn, and at the B 3x5/10 and a 20/40. Most of the week it'll be less than that.
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  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,239 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 14
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    ... my Bravo only works for "now."
    ... there are currently 6 tables in Vegas playing above 2/5. 5/10 at the Aria and Wynn, and at the B 3x5/10 and a 20/40. Most of the week it'll be less than that.

    thank you for making my point, Jim Acosta!

    at 3am - one of the BEST players you know has the option of playing in any of the SIX 5/10 games running on a Monday morning! that's a really good selection!

    the idea that your friend can't find or play in a bigger game because the series only runs once a year is ridiculous! A pro poker player is like a prostitute or a thief... he schedules his work hours around the most profitable times. period.

    one of the "best" players I know actually takes out of town trips to compete in big games. He only plays on weekends. He flies to towns where big tournaments or events happen - he pays for flight and hotel - and he still shows a massive profit. he plays 5/10 & 10/20 NLHE and PLO. And he also doesn't wear headphones or carry around a tablet.

    All the "best" poker players all have similar habits and game discipline:
    they all seek the biggest games to maximize their profits.
    and they don't watch TV or videos on a portable device while in game.
    to suggest that such statement is incorrect demonstrates how the low limit Vegas bubble is really out of touch with the rest of the real world.
    it might also suggest that even though this guy is better than you, he's really not an example of the "best" poker players playing today.

    poker is a visual game. to preoccupy your mind with anything other than following the action hurts your game. the "best" poker players avoid doing anything to hurt their game.

    btw: I know of several bracelet winners who play in my room - and play ⅓. bracelets do not mean you know how to play deep stack cash games. nor does it mean you're one of the "best" players.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 1,422 -
    Kagey you seem determined to miss my point. First, 1 a.m. on a Sunday night after NFL play-offs is not a quiet time in Vegas. More importantly, I used in an example someone I happen to know personally. I described him as one of the best players I know and what games he played. Yes, there are better poker players in Vegas.

    As to the real crushers never allowing themselves to be distracted, apparently you haven't watched much LATB. (And don't tell me they're all checking the tape-delay, one 25/50 game featured two guys playing OFC.)

    If you want to define the "best" poker players as those who seek the biggest games to maximize their profits, that's entirely up to you. There are, however, some very talented individuals who choose a different path for life reasons.
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  • jfarrow13jfarrow13 Red Chipper Posts: 1,215 ✭✭✭✭
    I think if you're a very solid pro, you can put a B- effort into a game and still beat it pretty bad. Watch a few orbits, profile players, maybe look up at during big show-downs, and autopilot. After all, if you're really confident in your strategy work, adjustments maximize profits, but there will be profits none the less. Maybe they just wanna sit in at $1/3 or $2/5, and mindlessly clock $30-$50 an hour while watching a movie. Not too shabby.
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,239 ✭✭✭✭✭
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    As to the real crushers never allowing themselves to be distracted, apparently you haven't watched much LATB. (And don't tell me they're all checking the tape-delay, one 25/50 game featured two guys playing OFC.)

    LOL!
    now you think clowns like Gil the Plumber and Dennis the Menace are the "best" players in LA? I like to call that show: Dine at the Bike - as players often seem more interested in ordering food (and sometimes for their dog) than playing optimally.
    anyone who watches LatB to learn how to properly play poker is going to be in for a rude awakening... unless you've got out of towners like Berkey and Spirit Rock playing with the locals.
    when players insist you play Q2 because Isreali Ron likes it, you KNOW the live game of poker isn't dead!

    You're right @TheGameKat - we're going to agree to disagree.

    as to what should OP make of somebody watching a movie while playing a low limit MTT, you can assume that he's not one of the "best" players. And when he raises, he's probably playing his hand... not his position, not to re-steal and not because you raised his blind or button more than once.
    in a cash game, you can probably assume the dude is a less-than-amazing "grinder" who should probably spend more time studying the game than playing it.

  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 1,422 -
    Actually, we agree on 95% of the above, that's the main reason I'm finding this amusing.

    Thank you for pointing out my initial response to the OP was unclear. Hopefully it has now been clarified.
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  • AZMattAZMatt Red Chipper Posts: 47 ✭✭
    I almost always have my airpods or big bose noise cancelation headphones on - 95% of the time, I'm not listening to anything. I'm 27, and typically am one of the younger players in our casinos and kind of play off that image.

    Definitely pay attention to who is actively watching sports/netflix etc, but keep in mind people on their phone can be taking table notes, etc so I wouldn't completely discount them as a serious player

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