At $15, it was an interesting experience
Played what was probably the second game of poker, ever, for me last night (well, second and third). For the first game ($5 buy in), I played fairly randomly, won a couple hands, and finished fifth out of seven. However, I sat at the table for most of the remainder of the game and watched everyone else.
Next game ($10 buy in), I finished third and could have been second fairly easily. What changed? I could pretty much read the strongest player’s face. He tried a bunch of distracting techniques, but it was easy to read how his hand was going to go. Based on that, and that he was willing to ride over the top to see my hands (which I won the times he did that), if I’d had the stamina I could have taken him out. The issue was the second strongest player, who was a cipher: no read on him at all.
I’ve heard about tells in movies, but it wasn’t like the Oreo cookie thing in Rounders. I can’t say what it was, but his hands were plain on his face. This experience will lead me to stay far away from poker for money, because I’m sure a more experienced player would be able to do the same to me. I think I’ve now played $20 or $25 worth of poker in my life, and that’s plenty.
What was funny, though, was how much the commentary track by the poker players on Rounders (second track) helped. For a complete neophyte, which is where I’d rank myself, listening to pros say what they would and wouldn’t do in certain situations was very helpful.