Monday, 17 August 2009
Dear Dr Tom,What’s the “correct” answer to “Will you show me if I fold?” Discuss. Penny,Manchester
Dear Penny, There is no right answer to this question. If saying “no” always produced a call and saying “yes”, a fold, then your opponent would know what you wanted him to do, and do the opposite. So then you’d say the opposite of what you were “supposed” to say and so on. Keeping shtum is never a bad idea, but if your mammy taught you to speak when spoken to, then some safe answers include, “I’ll show you one” and, “I’ll show if you call”. Pretending to think a moment and then shrugging will do fine, as will a mysterious smile and a slow shake of the head. But really you are looking at this the wrong way round. Instead, think about the information he has given you. He apparently has something middling. If you are strong, you want a call; if you are bluffing, you (obviously) want a fold; if you made a marginal value bet, you probably also want a fold. If you have any tricks up your sleeve for inducing the right action from this opponent, now is the time to use them. Stare at the felt if that gets a fold, lean back in your chair if that gets a call, sit stock still for 20 seconds then swallow deeply if that’s what it takes to get him to do the right thing. Don’t try to out-psych him by answering his question because he will be paying attention to any tells you give off in your answer. Instead, supply some false tells by some other means where he won’t be watching out for them. Tom
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