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POKER BEHAVIOR PART 1: TALK TO YOUR MONITOR

I distinctly remember the first time I saw somebody using a hands-free earbud headset on a phone. Because at the time, I thought he was nuts. I mean, there I was, minding my own business in Situs Poker Online, when I see this guy talking to himself. He was mindlessly wandering around the gate area chatting, but with no apparent companion. Occasionally he’d stop talking, then he’d start again.

You know, classic crazy behavior.

How was I to know that we, as a society, were about to completely embrace this behavior and all of us would end up talking to imaginary friends. Walk through the airport concourse sometime and ask yourself if it really feels okay that this is happening everywhere around you.

That text above is not as tangential as it might initially seem. I’m about to advocate for talking to an inanimate object—that’s to say, your computer monitor or laptop.

When you’re playing online poker and make an action, how often could you articulate exactly why you’re doing what you’re doing? You know, the pros have an expression for people who don’t know what they’re doing: “He’s just clicking buttons.”

What if we forced ourselves to say—out loud—why we were taking a specific action? Let’s try it:

  • “I’m raising to 2.5 BB to win the blinds and antes. If somebody 3-bets me behind I will fold. If an out-of-position player 3-bets, I will call if the 3-bet is not more than 7.5 BB.”
  • “I’m check-raising this draw with the intent of winning the pot immediately. If the bettor calls, I will continue betting on the turn if a ten, five, or heart comes.”
  • “I am betting my top-pair, top-kicker on the turn. There are many worse hands that can call. This collects equity from those worse hands, and denies equity to flush draws. If I am check-raised, it’s likely that I am beaten, and I will fold.”

Writers are trained to read their copy out loud. The ear/brain combination is a marvelous editing team—far better than the eye/brain combo, which can get sloppy at times.

Similarly, forcing yourself to justify your actions verbally lets that ear/brain team get its, ah, hands, on the idea. A low-quality idea that could slip silently from synapse to synapse might be stopped if it were forced into the light of verbalization.

If you watch the poker streamers behavior on Twitch, you see them doing it. Of course, they have an audience who wants to know what they’re thinking, so the commentary helps the audience along. But it also forces them to crystalize their thoughts and plans.