Join date: Apr 21, 2022

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Compliments that compare a recent move to an individual’s previous game can start an extraordinarily revealing conversation I’ve had a few conversations that went something like this:

“Bill, I’ve never seen you semi-bluff with a draw on the turn. Nice play.”

“Al, my coach, said I was playing too conservatively. That’s just one of the moves he recommended.”

“So you’ve really changed your game?”

“Yeah, I’ve decided to…”

Conversations like that can completely change your conception of how an opponent thinks and plays.

Gentle criticisms can also elicit valuable information, but never make the obnoxious criticisms that we hear so often. Here are a few examples from The Psychology of Poker:

“I wonder why you didn’t check-raise.”

“I’m surprised that you called with that hand.”

“Why would you try to bluff such a loose player?”

“That was a strange raise.”4

Gentle criticisms can work because “many people have a strong desire to be understood…. For example, [they may] defend callingor raising with bad cards by explaining their reasons.5

“Occasionally, someone will object to your probing. So what?”6 You want to learn how people think, and even their objections may teach you something. For example, if a guy reacts negatively only when you mention his lack of aggression, he is probably sensitive about being too passive.

Of course, if you irritate someone, back down. Don’t slow the game down or destroy the “let’s have fun” atmosphere.



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