Shady? Hmmm....

Hmmm... You've heard of people called shady because they are well shady. You've heard of the dark-side too I imagine. Well, it turns out people in the dark make moral transgressions more readily than people in well lit places. That means stealing, lying, and cheating. Seems like if I were a casino I might want the joint more well lit. Though, I guess the other side of things is people might be willing to gamble money they shouldn't if they feel like they maintained the anonymity darkness offers.

And it is the anonymity that plays with people's psyche more than anything else. Turns out subsequent studies have shown people in hoods are more likely to steal, people in sunglasses are more likely to be greedy and lie, and people in masks are far more likely to do worse. What's that mean in relation for poker? Well if you play poker on a mac or on a pc you already have some degree of anonymity, but in live poker there are some considerations to be made.

I think the answer is obvious. If you are a player that has trouble stealing blinds or bluffing start wearing sunglasses and a hoodie. This probably doesn't apply to players that play poker online as you are as anonymous as they come. If your user name is easily traced to you, you might want to give yourself the psychological advantage of having a less identifiable username. Forget RobSnee go with Robber1901.

Now, on the other side of the coin if you normally play wrapped up in a hoodie or under Roy Orbison sunglasses and you bluff too much, steal too often, and spew chips from being underhanded, maybe disrobe a little bit, and make it morally tougher for you to lie (bluff). Can't hurt, at least. Also, if this is true for you online, maybe you need to change from an ambiguous name to your real name.

This study has other potential value to players. First thing I'd do is widen my range for players wearing sunnies or hoodies. I'll make a lot more calls in marginal situations then I would for somebody else. I'm also going to track my interactions with these players to see if they match up. Little guy in the Unabomber hoodie at the end of my table let’s see how often you steal.

I find this interesting because I can think back to a few players in middle stages of live tournaments where I felt like they were opening too much and three betting way too often, and many of them were in sunnies and hoodies. I’ve long felt I’m more aggressive when I wear shades and now I might know the reason.

I personally am not big in maintaining eye contact and getting into stare downs with people but I use a lot body language for information to make my decisions. As people won’t let you stare at or study them long before locking eyes with you sunglasses has long been a way for me to stare with impunity.

Also, I’ve worked on a move where I tilt my head down and play with my cards or chips, letting my opponents think I’m not looking at them, but in reality my eyes haven’t left them. Many of them will break character and emote just a little bit to give me insight on how to play a hand the minute they think they are not under the microscope.

You’d be surprised at how effective this is. If you have the right angle you can do this when you are not in the hand. How many times was it obvious to you a player did or didn’t have the hand, yet the guy mulling over the decision had no idea? Happens a lot, right? Well, it may be because you saw the one guy let his guard down when the other dude wasn’t looking. If you can see them both you can see it action sometimes. That’s why I find the exercise of removing yourself from the hand to be a little bit overrated. More times than not it’s obvious to everybody else because of information not available to you.

In one of my early tournaments when I just started playing after one bad call I made, a guy asked me how I could have missed the other dude’s excitement. It was so obvious. Well, maybe but at that time I was staring at my chips and not studying him, and replaying the hand in my head and ignoring the information which was available. He was also being obvious because he knew I wasn’t looking at him.

Now, I understand that it's not just reading people that gives me an edge, it's the fact I up my aggression and my thievery too, because of the accoutrements I'm wearing.


Tiltin Texan said…
i am calling the clock on you Mild are thinking too long cause you have TOO much information.

Anonymous said…
Wild Bill does take a long time to make a decision...

....but I like the post. good to put in the back of you mine that those unabomber wannabes are looking to steal even if it is unconsciously... just widen your calling ranges on those guys.

wonder if Phil Laak uses that as a level when he wraps up.

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