All Talk and No Action,
A Two-Part Lesson from Erick
Lindgren
You can learn a lot by
listening. You can learn almost
as much by talking, if you ask
the right questions.
The following occurred at a
tournament at Bellagio in 2004.
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Lesson: 9
Ask And Ye Shall Receive Part 1
May 16, 2005


All Talk and No Action,
A Two-Part Lesson from Erick Lindgren

You can learn a lot by listening. You can learn almost as much by talking, if
you ask the right questions.

The following occurred at a tournament at Bellagio in 2004.

I draw a very good first table and recognize only two faces. They are solid
pros, neither of whom is very aggressive. I know I can take control of the
table and quickly look around to find the best targets. I notice an older
gentleman in a cowboy hat who's involved in too many pots and decide he's
my mark. My plan is to bluff him at first opportunity and do anything I can to
get under his skin. I want him to view me as a young hot-shot, with the
hopes that he'll bully me later when I have the goods.

I chop away at some small pots and my $20K starting stack is now $43K
when Cowboy and I finally get to lock horns. I've been raising a lot of hands
and splashing my chips around a bit. In this case, the blinds are $200-$400,
and I bring it in for $1,200 with pocket jacks. I get three callers, including
Cowboy, in the big blind. The flop comes 7h 4c 4h and the small blind checks.
It's Cowboy's turn, and he pushes all in. He looks proud, firing his $37K into a
$5K pot.

I'm completely befuddled. What's going on? I can't make any sense of it.
There's a player to act behind me, but he's only got $3K - he isn't going to
matter at all in this hand. My best bet here is to get Cowboy to talk. "Why'd
you bet so much?" I ask. He tells me to call and find out.

I make a list of his possible hands: A-x hearts for the nut flush draw. Pocket
eights, maybe. Or a random berzerko bet with a pair of sevens. After a
minute or two of deliberation, I call. He flips up T-7c for one pair! He fails to
improve and I now have $80K, and am ready to roll.

It's important to know who your weaker players are. Concentrate on playing
against them and finding ways to get them to make a big mistake. You can't
count on the pros to make those mistakes. In this particular case, I knew he
was getting tired, and through a few verbal jabs, I was able to make myself
his target.

Next week, a similar question with a very different answer yields an equally
large profit.

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