I get my best reads by raising. For instance, if I have king-queen of hearts and make the second nut flush, on the river, backdoor, heads-up, (with an unpaired board), and the other guy bets out, and I raise, and he reraises, and I rereraise, and he rerereraises, well, right about here I start to think he just might possibly definitely probably could conceivably for sure have the nuts, maybe.
This gift for pinpoint accuracy didn’t just happen. A careful thought process guides me. For this hand, it might go like this:
He bets out. Typically this means the guy most likely still has both of his cards. My raise: I love poker.
His reraise: I saw him reraise on the river without the nuts once, last year sometime. In any case, I’m not convinced.
My rereraise: In case he has doubts about my doubts.
His rerereraise: Only one possibility remains; he misread his hand. He has the ace of hearts and the jack of diamonds, or maybe the other way around.
This goes back to something a wise no-limit player (Walt Z) once said to me: “If you are about to call a big bet on the river, always try to put your opponent on a hand you can beat.” This reasoning applies to limit poker as well, in a limited way. (Incidentally, when I pay off in a situation like this and wind up staring at the nuts, I like to fudge the math so that being a dolt doesn’t make me feel like a bozo. If I am 99.9% sure I’m beat, and the pot is laying, say, 15-to-1 on the final call, then I am really only taking about 7% the worst of it on that bet!)
Reading at the Table
Okay, so maybe I’m not …