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Live Reads Explained: Lodden Decrypts Clockwyze at Grand Final
The Grand Final of the European Poker Tour in 2013 went down in poker history as “the best final table ever."
It did so with good reason.
The final eight players out of the 531 runners were Jason Mercier, Noah Schwartz, Jake Cody, Daniel Negreanu, Johnny Lodden, Grant Levy, Andrew "Clockwyze" Pantling and eventual winner Steve O’Dwyer.
Elite poker pros like those above base their decisions on betting patterns and board textures but also on their history with particular players.
Sometimes, that saves them a lot of chips.
In our ongoing series on how poker pros make live reads we’ll look at a hand Lodden played against Andrew Pantling at that final table.
Watch the hand play out below:
Johnny Lodden: The first thing is that playing against Andrew Pantling is difficult because he plays so many hands and he often just calls pre-flop.
PokerListings: In this hand you raise from early position with pocket jacks and Pantling calls from the button.
JL: He can do this with all sorts of hands, suited connectors for example, but he could also have A-Q or even A-K.
I’m happy about the 3-6-K flop and continue. He calls, and now it’s hard to put him on a very weak hand.
He could easily have a suited six, like 6-7 or 6-9. Most likely he has a six, but there’s also the possibility he plays K-J or K-Q.
PL: The turn goes check-check and then there is an ace on the river.
JL: On the river I thought he had a six. If he had a king, he would probably value-bet it. I also think he’s capable of calling me down with a six if he’s putting me on T-J or T-9.
I don’t see him having an ace. I bet out, but now he raises. Now it looks like he could have A-Q or A-J. It’s not A-K because then he would have bet the turn. But I get worried.
But he’s also the kind of guy who’s capable of doing anything like this with a six, if he puts me on an A-J and tries to put me of it.
The next thought is, is he good enough to value-raise here with one pair, like an A-Q? Because most people are not; they’d be scared about me having an A-6 or A-3.
I must say that in hindsight I really like his play here. I respect all players who value-raise with the best hand.
I’m betting out on the river mostly for information. If I check, I’ve got to call him down and he’s probably betting more than I do.
When he raises I’m pretty much getting the answer I’m looking for. There are very few hands he can bluff with.
PL: Are you basing your decisions on anything physical about Pantling?
JL: No. It’s more about the betting pattern and the situation.
PL: Do you generally pay attention to body language and tells?
JL: Yes, but mostly on more experienced players because they have more to give away. One thing that I pay attention to is how they talk.
I remember a hand Daniel Negreanu was in. The flop was 9-6-5, a typical Daniel flop, and he suddenly stops talking completely. Not a word comes out of his mouth.
Everyone at the table goes “Daniel, did you flop it?” and when he bets out everyone folds and he shows the 7-8. After that he said, “Ok, no more talking."
PL: Are physical tells still important or have they been figured out?
JL: They are important but more so towards the end of tournaments. Then, people become more focused and you don’t switch tables all the time anymore.
I try to figure players out for about two hours and then I often check my phone. I take mental notes but I don’t write anything down.
PL: Do you try to give away fake tells yourself?
JL: Yes. I actually did that yesterday and it didn’t work out. The guy called me anyway.
I tried to look nervous as if I was bluffing, when I actually was bluffing.