Do You Have the Gift for Poker Table Talk? Here's How to Know
Some players, such as Daniel Negreanu, are experts at using their table talk to bewilder their opponents while gathering information on their play.
While table talk is a great tool, it's not suited for everyone. Here are some things to consider when working on your "table talk" game.
How Well Can You Verbally Spar?
There are some people out there that just simply do not have the chops to pull off the table talk game.
If you're the type of person that makes friends easily and can easily talk with complete strangers, then you might have what it takes for table talk.
However, if you're someone that has to warm up to people or you don't like verbal confrontations, don't even bother working on your table talk game.
In order to table talk you have to be able to banter back and forth with other strong personalities. If you're unable to do this on a constant basis, you are likely giving more information away than you're gaining with your table talk.
How Much Can You Hold Back?
One element of table talk is providing as little information about yourself and your personality as possible while extracting maximum information from your opponent.
For example, if you're the type of person where only your closest friends know the "real you," you might have the skills to pull off table talk.
You don't want to be an "open book" to people as this will help them get a bead on your personality and overall poker game.
If you have the ability to lie well, this can assist you as you can give your opponents false information that can lead to the wrong read.
Processing the Information Collected
We've all heard that we shouldn't judge people based on certain characteristics but that is a load of bull when it comes to poker. You need to understand how the information that people share will play into their overall poker game.
The 50-year-old woman that tells you she has two teenagers and teaches Sunday School isn't going to play as aggressively as the guy that informs you that he's a prison guard.
You have to make assumptions on people and their play and adjust those assumptions as needed. A person's background and personality will be reflected in their playing style. The key is to understand how that information translates.
Know Where to Draw the Line
Back in the years following the Poker Boom, you would see a lot of brash poker players that exhibited a confrontational form of table talk. This ultimately resulted in many poker tours establishing rules against abuse.
If you decide to use a confrontational form of poker talk at the table, it is advised to stay mindful that there's a point where you can take things too far. Attacking a person or their family on a personal level is one of those lines.
Poker is supposed to be a fun game but when you cross that line you not only establish yourself as the table ass but there may be times you are risking your physical safety.
While poker has largely been cleaned up, you never know when pushing a person too far may result in an attack outside of the card room. I've seen plenty of confrontations inside the card room as well that make a strong argument for not crossing a line.
Table Talk Can Improve Your Bottom Line
When used correctly, table talk accomplishes two things. First, it gives you information on your opponents that you can use in future hands.
Second, it frustrates and confuses players and makes you tougher to beat. With any type of poker strategy, play around to find out which works best for you.
Sometimes, playing the nice guy at the table can win you more than being a nuisance. Once you find the right table talk strategy, you will start to notice your results improve.