Live Reads Explained: Theo Jörgensen Will Always Have Paris


In September 2012 Theo Jörgensen reached the final table of the €7,500 Grand Prix de Paris at the Aviation Club.

He had won that tournament two years earlier, so Paris had already proved to be a good spot for him.

With five players left, he got into a raising war with Mohsin Charania and he ended up risking all his chips with pocket tens.

Is that hand good enough to do that? We caught up with Jörgensen at the EPT Grand Final to continue our Live Reads Explained series. 

PokerListings: The hand begins with Charania raising 2x to 60k. You 3-bet. Why would you not just call?

Mohsin Charania
Charania: Not Salsberg.

Theo Jörgensen: Different things. Had it been Matt Salsberg, I’d have just called because Salsberg is a much tighter player. But Mohsin is someone who’s definitely able to open very light, even to re-raise light.

I have no idea where I am, so I raise, because every board could be dangerous for me.

PL: Everyone else folds to your 3-bet, but then Charania re-raises again pretty quickly. Surely that must mean something?

TJ: It usually would but in this spot I consider the chances that he has a hand that dominates me, like jacks or better, are not higher than the chance of him stone cold bluffing.

PL: But why would you shove if you have him on a bluff?

TJ: I’m shoving because if I just call I only have a pot bet left. I was the second smallest stack so I’d commit myself.

If I just call and there is an ace on the flop, can I really still fold? I reasoned that my equity plus the chance of him bluffing make it the right move.

If he folds to my shove I’m happy with that. Maybe I can make him fold something like K-J, which would be awesome.

PL: But instead, he calls pretty quickly.

TJ: Apparently he had already made up his mind that he was also committed.

It turned out that Jörgensen would win the hand. Check the video below from 18:15 to find out how.

PL: Did you base your decisions in this hand on mathematics only?

TJ: In this spot I want to get ready to let my hand go if I think he’s really strong and I pick up a tell.

Theo Jorgensen
Ready to let it go.

PL: Did you?

TJ: No.

PL: Only in this hand or in general?

TJ: If you sit with players for a long time it’s often possible to pick something up, but Mohsin is too good and I can’t read him at all.

At a table like this I knew I could end up in a spot where I could look like a complete dickhead, just as he might end up looking like a dickhead.

But I definitely think that tells are generally underrated. It’s fun to see how few players actually look at each other.

I feel like it has to do with the way we’ve been brought up. Staring at someone is impolite so we don’t really want to do it, although it’s fine to do it in poker.

PL: What do you really look for?

TJ: Everything. The classic is that an amateur player would often try to look strong when he’s weak and the other way round.

You have to be aware that we’re all uncomfortable when we’re bluffing because we’re lying, and you’re not supposed to lie.

It’s your job to figure out if they are uncomfortable. I can’t always say what it is that tells me the other guy feels uncomfortable.

And the only way to do this is by watching people. There is no typical tell, because if there was everybody would use it.

What I can say for sure is that it’s very difficult to play nervous. It often comes out very awkward.

PL: Do you take notes in any form on other players?

TJ: No. I’m bad with names. I’m bad even at remembering hands like this one we’re talking about. But I like to think I can remember almost every tell any player has shown me.

theo jorgensen
Observation makes it fun.

PL: Give us an example.

TJ: Many years ago I was playing with Brian Hastings in Bobby’s Room. He had obviously heard that you distance yourself from the cards if you don’t like your hand and that you move closer to the table if you do.

Brian was all-in but he moved closer so awkwardly that it made me call $17,000 on the river with a marginal hand. And I did win the hand and he was bluffing.

Another funny one was when I played a tournament in Aruba with UltimateBet, so that was also a lot of years ago. I picked up that a guy at my table would always raise his hand and touch his baseball cap whenever he had a monster.

Everybody’s doing something when they feel comfortable. I’m sure he didn’t have a clue that he was doing that, because he didn’t observe.

Observation is the main thing in poker. That’s a good thing, because this way poker never gets boring.

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