1978 no-limit hold 'em world championship at the Horseshoe
in Las Vegas came down to a battle between owlish
Bobby Baldwin of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and sartorial real-estate
magnate Crandall Addington of San Antonio, Texas.
An hour before the championship ended. Addington had
$275,000, and Baldwin, about half as much - $145,000.
Among the gamblers along the rail Addington was the
clear favorite, but then came the hand that turned
everything around. Acting first, Baldwin bet before
the flop, and Addington called.
Baldwin pushed in another $30,000 worth of chips,
perhaps chasing a straight or a diamond flush. Then
again he might have had a pair of queens. But Addington
promptly called the $30,000. Obviously he had a good
On fourth street the ace of diamonds fell - a scary-looking
card - and by that time there was $92,000 in the pot.
Slowly and deliberately Baldwin pushed in one $10,000
stack of chips, then another and another, until there
were nine stacks in the center of the table. Finally,
with something of a flourish, Baldwin placed a short
stack of $5,000 on top of the others. He was making
a $95,000 bet, leaving himself almost broke.
Addington deliberated for a long time. He glanced
at the stack of chips, and then at Baldwin for some
clue. Was the kid bluffing? If Addington called the
bet and won, Baldwin would be just about tapped out.
If he called the bet and lost, Baldwin would take
a commanding lead. Was the kid bluffing or not? Addington
decided he wasn't and threw away his hand. As Baldwin
raked in the $92,000 pot, he made sure to flash his
two hole cards in Addington's direction. They are
Baldwin had indeed been bluffing. Addington seemed
to get rattled, and an hour later Baldwin won all
the chips and became the 1978 online poker games champion
of the world.
in Low-Limit Games
need to do a couple of things to get a strong read
on a player. First, don't focus on yourself, focus
on the other player. This is harder to do than most
players think. Whether you've played for ten hours
or ten minutes has pretty much nothing to do with
reading other players' hands. What do you know about
them? If you don't understand what I just said, you
need to stop until you do.
Then, you need to focus on some particular hand-you
want to read a hand, not read many hands. After that,
the rest is easy.
Of course, you can't expect to be exact in your reads.
But you should be able to put a player on a range
One mistake many players make when tracking others'
play is to track what hands opponents will play from
what position. This can be helpful in reading hands,
but it's much more important how they play certain
hands, not what positions they might play them from.
Players will more often mix up the hands they'll play
from early position for deceptive reasons rather than
mix up how they'll play the hand. You need to focus
more on how they play than on what particular two
cards they do or don't play.