Wednesday, July 1, 2009


My Poker Academy ex-running mate* Bastin has a great blog post today, about table observation. For me, observing people at the table is a skill in its absolute infancy. Sometimes I catch something that helps me, but it's almost accidental in nature.

I need to learn to observe people better. I mentioned this once to my wife, who laughed it off and said "that's going to be hard for you. You don't like people". As with many jokes, this one was partially rooted in the truth.

A poker coach or book (DVD maybe?) that could teach how to observe people at a table would be worth its weight in gold. I know, I know, if you want to learn how to watch people, you have to, uh, watch people. But it's the desire to watch, and not be distracted by the TV, music, the conversation about someone's job or kid's upcoming birthday. It's knowing what to look for. Not just physical tells, but betting patterns and bet sizes. It's the ability to put a mental note on a possible tell (bets big when weak?), and then following that up with more concrete evidence later.

Yup, I've just decided - someone needs to do this on a DVD. They need to put a camera on their hat, or over their shoulder, and take a first person view of a 6 hour poker session, without telling the people at the table. Then, afterwards, the camera operator can get them all to sign a release, and then annotate the crap out of the tape, describing every observation he made both during the live session, and perhaps afterwards as well.

I would buy this in a heatbeat.

*= ex running mate is probably too strong - Bastin's Poker Academy bankroll was in the stratosphere compared to mine, so we never sat at a table together. We did converse through forum posts, however.


Memphis MOJO said...

That's an area of poker that has not been explored well -- great idea!

bastinptc said...

Hey, we're mates. Thanks for the link.

Actually, Matt, you can get a lot of information about HOW people play by what they say, how they say it, and online, their chat. These tells are just as, if not more important, for they can suggest trends. Trends are more reliable as we are generally creatures of habit.

Memphis MOJO said...

When I play live, it's amazing to listen to players talk about hands after they are over.

When they as you "did you have XXX" they are often saying how they play@!

You can get a quick estimate of what level they play at by listening the chatter. I guess as bastin says, they do the same thing online.