Wednesday, July 03, 2013

2013 WSOP, Day 35: Talking Tells

Was a quiet, restful day for your humble scribbler yesterday as I enjoyed what might be a final day off before the last big push through these next couple of weeks helping PokerNews with the coverage of the 2013 World Series of Poker.

As I mentioned yesterday, I did indeed make it a priority to fill the rental’s tank with gas. Actually took a couple of visits to Terrible’s as the lot was too packed with cars on the first try and I did not relish sitting in the heat for even 10 minutes to wait for an open spot. But I did fill the tank, probably for the last time until I head back to the airport in a couple of weeks. And after sleeping late both yesterday and this morning, I feel more or less replenished energy-wise, too.

I did make it to the Rio briefly yesterday, although didn’t look in on any of the poker happening. Following the reports I saw that the $50K played all of the way down to 26 players, meaning the tension is rising considerably there as only the top 16 get paid. Doyle Brunson was among those eliminated on Day 3, and was tweeting a short while ago that he felt he’d only brought his “B” game to the event.

Noticed as well that a woman other than Vanessa Selbst won the first bracelet in an open event in six years as Dana Castaneda won Event No. 54, another of the $1,000 NLHE events.

Several women have made final tables this summer, and while I don’t have current numbers I know that WSOP Communications Director Seth Palansky tweeted a week-and-a-half ago that women made up 4.1% of the entrants through the first 39 events. That would represent an increase in women participating from recent years. For instance, I see in a post I wrote during the summer of 2011 the percentage was about 3.2% through the first 29 events.

I imagine Castaneda’s win won’t hurt that upward trend. Incidentally, there were two women among the 132 who played the $50K Poker Players’ Championship, Jennifer Harman and Vanessa Selbst. Selbst busted Day 1, while Harman got knocked out yesterday along with Tex Dolly.

Like I say, though, while I was at the Rio briefly, it wasn’t to follow any poker. Rather I was there to visit with Reading Poker Tells author Zach Elwood (@apokerplayer on Twitter) over a mid-afternoon lunch. I reviewed his book a while back on Betfair Poker and have mentioned it here from time to time. Like many who have read it, I found it especially insightful and well presented, and am liking hearing other good reviews of it since I wrote mine.

Zach has been in town for a few weeks playing some events and in the cash games while promoting his book. He’s done really well, in my opinion, when it comes to making those who would be most interested in his book aware of it.

Among our topics of conversation was the relative importance of tells in poker, something which I think Elwood addresses well in his book when he points out that “tell-reading is only a small part of playing great live poker.”

I mentioned how when I played that Golden Nugget event a couple of weeks back I couldn’t honestly remember any instances where my decisions were affected by having noticed an opponent’s tell, and that more often I was thinking of others’ betting patterns. He made a great point that when it comes to tells there is a big difference between tourneys and cash games, namely, that in tourneys many players are less likely to reveal them.

He also shared a neat story with me about interacting some with Bill Perkins over recent months, including recently during Perkins’s deep run in the “One Drop High Rollers” event where he finished third.

Zach had analyzed some earlier video of Perkins from High Stakes Poker and the two had gotten in touch afterwards. Edwards has probably improved as a player in several ways over the last couple of years, and while I didn’t get a chance to see any of the tournament last week, I don’t think it is too farfetched to say he might have benefited from Zach’s analysis and advice, perhaps in a hand or three.

After we parted, I joked on Twitter that while I enjoyed our meeting, I didn’t want to say more and give away any “post-meal tells” (an allusion to Zach’s “post-bet tells” category). “I soul read you for IBS” he replied. (I am glad to report his read of my gastrointestinal system was incorrect.)

Will be back over there later this afternoon for Day 1 of the $2,500 2-7 Triple Draw (Event No. 59). Having memories of one of my favorite events I ever covered at the WSOP way back in 2008 when F-Train and I were on this same event. John Phan won it and David Sklansky took sixth, and a couple of months afterward I wrote a post here about the contrasting styles of those two.

As always, head over to PokerNews to follow along.

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