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+EV of being an ‘Uncleji’ among ‘dudes’

Posted by Rakesh Sharma on 2012-11-20 at 12:00 AM

One of the greatest advantages I’ve enjoyed on the tourney tables is to be dismissed as an ‘uncleji’ by ‘dudes’.

What contributes immensely to this image is the fact that I’ve never worn the poker uniform – hoodie, dark glasses and headphones. Another contributing factor is the assumption that anyone ‘older’ is of necessity dim-witted, slow on the uptake, resistant to new/ advanced concepts and incapable of sharp poker analysis.

Many believe that anyone in his 40s is potentially incapable of understanding and practising elements of poker they’ve adopted as their own. It becomes difficult to maintain a straight face at times when asked postflop “[I]uncleji, kya lag gaya[/I]” (what’ve you hit on the board) when I greet their 3-bet light with a 4-bet or a shove. At such times, I only nod wisely while mucking my cards, occasionally saying “good fold”. I almost never participate in the speculation, sometimes emitting wordless ‘tells’ they are looking for, to their repeated questions- was it a set/ 2 pair/ flopped flush or straight?

Sometimes, out of sheer boredom and to play around with the ‘dismissive-of-uncleji dudes’, I turn to the ‘tells’ primer – it is great fun when someone reads a ‘tell’ they’d explained to another on the table in a previous tourney or at a previous blind level. At such times, I take great care not to open-muck after they fold – why bruise an inflated self-perception when it can continue to pay off?

Other times, it is just fun to reinforce the [B]safe uncleji [/B]image as it just fuels hyper aggression, resulting in heavy bets on every street and a pay-off far in excess of anything I could’ve plotted at the beginning of a strong hand.

And it is even greater fun, especially when I’ve got a sizeable chip stack in a deep-ish stack tourney within the first 2-3 levels to play into the [B]hypercautious uncleji [/B]image – a few times, esp when I’ve been moved to a new table, I flatcall a raise and fold to the obligatory c-bet in seeming agony. Do it twice, and you’re the [B]supertight uncleji[/B] to be toyed with at will. For a minimal investment of 300/ 600 x 2, it is great to be seen as mincemeat. Any smoothcall on the flop raises alarm bells among the dudes, most times a reraise to a turn bet either gets me a fold or a check on the river, ie, a free card. The sheer number of big pots that I’ve been able to pick up have been worth many times more than that initial investment of 600/1200!

The [B]newbie uncleji [/B]trait is another one the dudes respond very aggressively to, eg, novice-like incorrect low bet-sizing like betting 3-4 bbs into a 15-20+ bb pot – there have been an incredible number of 3-bets (sometimes followed by a 4-bet/shove by dude2 trying to muscle out dude1) only to find me either shoving on top or calling their shove. [Quite obviously, this ploy works only when you either flop the nuts, or have a very good read on their ranges and feel your non-nut hand to still be superior]. It is sweet music to my ears to hear – “[I]uncleji aap kahan sey aa gaye is mein”[/I]!

The reverse trait also works very well, where you come across as being a [B]cussed/ dogged uncleji[/B], unable to fold a big hand, esp with an Ace in hand. It is a ploy I’ve employed a couple of times but only with small pots. For example, in one bounty tourney, I invested 7 bbs (when I had a 200 bb+ stack) to go to a showdown, knowing fully well that my Ace high wasn’t good enough – within that orbit, I picked up 2 bounties, once calling with small connectors (made 2 pairs on flop, fullhouse on turn) and once with K-rag suited (flushdraw on flop with A and a pair, 2 pair on the turn and nutflush on the river), ranges no one could put me on. And the reverse scenario worked too – any late position bet/ raise with an Ace on the board got me insta-folds even with complete air.

The profitability of the uncleji image apart, the entertainment element itself is worth it especially during times of a boring grind. As is the look of disbelief or shock when you table a non-uncleji like hand (eg, a classic 27s or a 34o in a limp pot on my SB).

And it is great fun to respond thus:

Dude: Why did you fold?
Uncleji: Only because you put on your dark glasses as soon as you saw the hand
Dude: Huh?
Uncleji: If you hadn’t, maybe I’d have 3-bet you:)

They say it is important to have fun when grinding on tourney tables – being an uncleji among dudes seems to be a passport to fun!

ps: I really wonder why people wear headphones, esp when pitted against new players on a table – they miss out on so many verbal tells! There’s just so much information to be mined from the chatter on the tables!! But, then, I’m just an ‘uncleji’…

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Rakesh Sharma

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