Sports & Gaming

Table Image and Tells

Phil Ivey

Lesson time 14:36 min

Phil discusses the danger of assumptions when it comes to table image, and reveals one of his favorite tactics for gathering information about opponents.

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Topics include: Make Adjustments Based on Your Opponents · Don’t Make Assumptions About Your Opponents · Don’t Make Assumptions About Your Table Image · Consider Future Implications · Hand Review: Take Time to Gather Information · Monitor Betting Patterns · Hand Review: Table Talk · Tells Mean Different Things for Different Players


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Table image is the way a player is perceived at the table-- everything from your personality to the way you dress to the way you play your hands. Table image is constantly evolving, and it's not always under your control. The cards may dictate the way you play one day versus another. [MUSIC PLAYING] You have to be really aware of what image you're putting out there on a given day and constantly gather information about your opponents, because that can mean the difference between winning and losing. - You look nervous as too. - Now I know you're lying. Thank you. [MUSIC PLAYING] - Everyone has their different style, their different ways of playing, their different ways of going about getting the money. So you just have to identify what they're doing from the other opponents. And then you could formulate a strategy in order to beat them. If a guy is playing too tight, then I may try to bluff them a little bit more than usual. And for guys playing super aggressive, I may wait to pick my spots to pick them off and play maybe a little tighter, depending on the situation. Or I may fight fire with fire. If he's playing aggressively, I may try to play more aggressively to him, depending upon what strategy I may think will work into time. So you always have to constantly be adjusting to what your opponent's doing and come up with a strategy that works specifically for your opponent. That's part of the game. That's what makes poker such a great game is that someone asks me a question about, how would I play this hand? My answer usually is, well, how is your opponent playing? Because everything is very player dependent. A great example of when I would deviate from a baseline because of my opponent is the hand we just saw against Tom Dwan. Normally, against your average player or especially a tight player, I would just call a four-bet with 10, 8 suited if I feel I have good implied odds. Or I may just fold, because 10, 8 is not a very strong hand to begin with. But against Tom Dwan, who is such an aggressive player-- and I know he plays a wide range of hands-- I decided to three-bet and then five-bet him. This is because I knew he was capable of raising and four-betting me with a lighter range than normal. So I adjusted my approach and applied maximum pressure when I felt that there was a good chance Tom wasn't really as strong as he was trying to represent. You need to almost understand your opponent better than they know themselves. That's when you've really got them. [MUSIC PLAYING] Profiling players-- you need to be really super careful that, because sometimes people will surprise you. You don't want to judge someone based off of what they're wearing or how they look or their behavior. But you want to judge them on how they play their hand. I mean, there's no need to just make these judgments, because these judgments could backfire. A lot of times, people try to give me adv...

About the Instructor

At age 38, Phil Ivey became the youngest player to win 10 World Series of Poker bracelets. Now the man known for his enigmatic table presence—and widely regarded as the world’s best all-around poker player—gives you unprecedented access to his mental game. Learn poker strategy, pick up new poker tips, and review hands with the player who’s won more than $26 million in live tournament earnings.

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Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey opens up for the first time about his poker strategy and teaches you how to make smarter moves at the table.

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