PokerNews Canada's Lessons from Tony G series examines the subtle techniques that make PokerNews Founder Tony G one of the trickiest masters of table image in the game today
Lesson 1: Have the most fun
The master of table image always encourages loud, happy and emotional atmospheres. We want to push opponents off their center of gravity, no matter if it's negative or positive, we want them giving off information-rich emotions at all times.
Lesson 2: Stir the Pot, build the image
Your image at the table is a combination of the energy you put off plus the cards you've shown down or exposed. Tony projects excited reckless energy which most brains will associate with equally reckless play. Act in ways that help them form that conclusion. Careful: If you're obvious or too smart about it, other players will know exactly where you're at.
Project a loose-action image, the kind that gets paid off in huge pots...
- Laugh, talk, joke, juice
- Show that you're itchy for action: ask about straddles, engage in side bets, talk about sports betting, be vocal about keeping the game moving.
- Expose your cards when you play loose, advertise.
- Celebrate other players' stupid and reckless plays
- Show lots of bluffs, or at least mention and suggest that you were bluffing.
Lesson 3: Spring the trap in a big hand
The goal of all this is to encourage huge terrible calls by your opponents, when you hold a winning hand. But to get the most value from these situations, add the final ingredient: fear of being bluffed.
This can be done with needling talk or with aggressive betting. One play that Tony often uses is the big fishy overbet. Betting a huge disproportionate amount, especially coming from a loose/crazy player, is often seen as a test of masculinity and if you've set up your image correctly, your opponent will convince themselves that you're bluffing, and your table image will have won you another monster pot.
Here's an example of Tony doing this to Phil Ivey for $233,000...
Find more discussions on human strategies, juicing and table image in our Forum. In the next installment of "Lessons from Tony G", we're analyzing The Art of Pressure.