dougtales The vast majority of my students are retirees or will soon retire. As their poker prowess grows, they comment that people at the table “misunderestimate” them, and give them credit for hands when they should not.

I took this at face value. It seemed reasonable that when a true TAG is in the body of an OMC (Old Man Coffee) that it would go unnoticed and written off as OMC running lucky. I was wrong, I sniffed out one of these players in a few orbits.

A Red Chipper that we will call “Gray Stax” recently taught me different. If I called up Central Casting and said “Send me an OMC”, Gray Stax is who I would want them to send. Everything (except his play) is textbook OMC, from age, to clothing, to choice of beverage.

I may get the details wrong here, but the essence of this story is right.

I am at the Mirage playing $1/$2. I’m two seats downstream from Gray Stax. He puts in a $15 raise over a limper. There was something about how he moved his chips, his sizing, everything about that simple raise put me on alert. Less than an orbit later, he does the same thing. He is on my radar for sure. Then he does it a third time.

“Once is an accident. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is an enemy action.” – Ian Fleming

At this point, I put in a courtesy 3-bet mostly because I am curious. He folds. And we find some relative peace. A seat opens up and Gray ends up on my left. Funny how that happens. Enemy action for sure.

I gave up making aggressive seat changes a while ago, mostly because I don’t care. If I am seat changing, it is usually for mental health reasons (see point one below.) I had three reasons to move when a seat opened up to Gray’s left:

  1. My neighbor was a talkative dullard and I did not have headphones
  2. I could get to the left of two bad players with deep stacks
  3. I could get to the left of Gray

I really wanted to screw with Gray, not sure why. Perhaps it was because finding a competent sparring partner is rare at $1/$2. And he did aggressively grab position on me. Game on.

After a few more courtesy 3-bets over Gray, he finds a seat to my left again. I wryly say to him, “Don’t worry, eventually you will get to my left and keep it.” He does not acknowledge my jab. Less competent players don’t let that jab go unanswered. I am 100% that he is competent and setting up to mess with me. Seems fair, actually. I deserve it at this point.

Soon after that seat change, I am in UTG+1 and raise a limper. Gray comes over the top of me. I four-bet him, then I get the speech “I have read all of your books, articles and podcasts. I know what you are doing, I should jam on you.” Unfortunately, this was the “I am folding” speech. I would have preferred that he silently jammed into my pocket Kings.

Once he acknowledged that he was a Red Chipper, it got quite friendly between us and I never really had an opportunity to mess with him before I left.

What I am saying here is that you cannot hide from your frequencies. You can not hide the way that you play from the observant. If you limp/fold pre-flop a ton, you cannot hide that. If you play aggressively and competently you cannot hide that either. The physical image you bring to the table will wear out and only your frequencies and actions will remain.

  • Ranadeep P

    Fantastic insight Doug,it is the reason perhaps poker is evolving everyday,because as I learning everyday,i am realizing that there is no perfect way to play poker,it is situation dependent and adaption is the only key to any given situation!!!

    Though,I am still at early stages in my learning,I get what you saying here,and it is like pattern recognition in Chess,took some important note though and will dive in depth when I will come to that topic later!!

    But thanks for this great Article DOUG!!!