May 23, 2005
Last week I offered an example of a hand where asking the right question - "Why'd you bet so much?" - netted me a sizeable pot.
This week, I'll show how a very different question at the same tournament proved equally effective.
Today, I start my table as the chip leader with more than double the average stack. This is a tougher table, with Annie Duke, Bill Gazes, Casey Kastle, and Lee Salem.
An older gentleman at the table is raising and reraising a lot of pots, and generally, playing wildly. Like the Cowboy from a day earlier, he is definitely today's mark. He's got Casey, who's stuck on his right, especially frustrated. The three times Casey brings it in for a raise, the old man reraises, and Casey throws his hand away. This hand, Casey limps in for $1,200. Annie, Lee, and another player all call.
I'm pretty sure I have the best hand with A-T, and raise it $5K. I expect to win the pot right there, and am rather unhappy when Casey quickly says "All in" for a total bet of $25K. It's folded back to me, and I am now faced with a decision for half my chips.
Here, Casey is representing that he limped in with A-A hoping for a raise behind him so he could reraise all-in. This is a typical slow play in our game. But his play here doesn't make sense. Wouldn't Casey have been more than happy to raise with his A-A, knowing the older gentleman would reraise him? I look at Casey hoping to get a read, but he is frozen like a kid playing statue.
I need more information, so I try to get Casey to acknowledge that I'm still in the hand, or at the very least, that he's still alive. I ask if he limped with aces and I still get no reaction. I then say, "Can you beat queen high?" He finally looks up, smirks, and says, "Yeah, I can beat queen high."
Now, some people in poker like to lie about their hands. Here, it felt like Casey was happy to be able to tell the truth in response to what is, admittedly, a pretty silly question. After all, if I can't beat queen high, why am I even thinking of calling?
Now I feel certain that Casey is holding K-T, K-J, or K-Q suited. I have him. "I'm not buying it," I say as I push in my chips. "Good call," he says and turns over K-T of diamonds. I proudly showed my A-T and it holds up, winning me the $50K pot.
Sometimes a simple question can return a very profitable answer. Remember though, information flows two ways at the tables, so be sure that you're getting more information than you're giving.