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Sports & Gaming

Spotting Tells: Hand Reviews

Daniel Negreanu

Lesson time 14:04 min

Using footage from two different hands, Daniel pinpoints the exact moments that he picked up on live reads from his opponents, and reveals how he used that valuable information to maximize value and mitigate loss.

Daniel Negreanu
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DANIEL: So this is a very interesting hand that took place in a high roller event in the Bahamas against some really tough opponents. And typically, when you're playing against really top-notch competition, you're going to have to elevate your game and maybe make some decisions that you wouldn't make against weaker players. So in this case, I was really zoned in, and really focused, and trying to pick up any sort of reads that I could. And a big part of the reason why I end up playing the hand the way that I do is based on a physical live read. And we're going to go over that next. COMMENTATOR: And he just calls. He doesn't raise. DANIEL So this is an interesting decision. Obviously, poker's evolved and changed. And I don't really have much of a button-limping range any more. But shorthanded, it's actually not so bad. In a hand like ace, 2, soft suit, obviously, you know, I can go ahead and raise with it. If I do get three bet-- someone reraises me-- I have to fold this hand. It's just not very good. I also feel like it's a little bit deceptive. Because typically, when players are on the button and have an ace, they're going to go ahead and raise. So if I do get lucky enough to flop an ace, this might be a situation where I can extract a little bit of value. Because my limping range is usually going to be something like-- people are going to perceive it to be hands, like jack 8, jack 9, jack 10, queen 9, all hands that range from, say, for example, 8 to king. I'm going to have some sort of two-card combo in that range. That's going to be my typical limping range. So when I do have ace, deuce, I can profit from hitting the ace. And I can also represent when some of those boards come, and it would be credible. COMMENTATOR: Katchalov will make the call from the small blind. Schulman can see a free flop if he so wishes. And he will check from the big blind. King, 9, suit is a hand that Eugene may have free bet with had Daniel raised. Queen, 4 4. No really catches anything. Negreanu's ace high still good. Katchalov checks. DANIEL Schulman's likely to end up playing the board. He checks as well. So one thing that they didn't show on camera here that I was really looking at was Nick Schulman eyes. And when he saw this flop, he did sort of a chip glance, and it was a very blatant one. And typically, when people glance their chips, it's because they'd really like to flop. But Nick is a crafty, tricky player. So I perceive that as him wanting to set up a bluff for the next street. So in my mind, he's too good to have that obvious tell. So it was what we call a reverse tell. And you always want to be cognizant and aware of that. So you see something like a chip glance. Typically, what that means is they like what they see. Against really accomplished players who do that, it doesn't necessarily mean that. In this case, I thought Nick was simply trying to, like, pretend with his demeanor that he had a 4 and was going to ...

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Frederick K.

I would have checked him on the river and not be greedy. Either way, If he bets I call. I follow to see what he was holding to keep him honest. In that situation, you win either way. He has to show his hand in either situation. Now you have his tells going forward.

Dan S.

Demjan shows AK here :

Ray C.

Very confused here. He literally did all the tells that showed weakness in the last video: Crossed hands, etc. But now all of a sudden a big sigh means hes strong? They never even showed us what hand he was playing. What??

A fellow student

At 9:54, villain does the elbow tell and the crossed-hands tell. How do you differentiate those from the sigh when it is time?? What was the actual hand he had?

A fellow student

i would have liked to know what kind of cards demjan was playing with his 240k raise


According to earlier 13 by 13 hand chart, one is not supposed to play A2 offsuit, even in late position. Daniel was on the button and he played A2off. But I am thinking this is okay because he was mixing up his game. It is okay to do what the book says not to do sometimes to keep the other players guessing, just every once in a blue moon.

Mark T.

Anybody else run so bad that you start second guessing every play you make? Just lost AA in tourney to a 2 outer. Yesterday lost KK to 2 outer. Lost $500 on 5 outer, another $500 on 2 outer. Truly been making +EV plays for a while as I won 4 tourneys in 2 weeks a month ago, but since that time I've been running so bad that I'm second guessing making this as a living, and obviously cant sustain such big losses for much longer unless my correct plays start playing out. So, if anyone has any advice, besides taking a sustained break, I would love to hear it! HELP

James D.

The tell for me was that the guy was wearing a Full Tilt sweater. Dead giveaway that he is trying to steal your money!

Chris H.

great video. loved the A2 call with the 'chip glance reverse tell'. just a bit disappointed either Daniel or the editors decided not to show Demjans hand as it was another great read. (folded to slow played AK)

Craig S.

I have been guilty of the "Deep Sigh" tell. I didn't even realize it until a player pointed it out to me. I have now caught myself many times calling with a monster and then letting out a deep sigh. I had no idea how often I was doing it. Now, I try to focus very hard on what I am doing when I bet or call.