Saturday, October 01, 2011

Brer Bellande

I was watching this week's WSOP installments earlier today, and saw something unusual that I thought was worth commenting on. Jean-Robert Bellande raised with K-J and was rewarded by flopping a full house. He bet at it, got one caller. As it happened, the caller had 8-4, i.e., nothing at all. Bellande couldn't know whether the caller had caught a piece of the flop or was just floating him, but for his purposes, it didn't matter.

The turn card was something inconsequential. Here's where Bellande shined. He immediately started cutting out some chip stacks as if he were trying to settle on a bet size, but then looked up and checked instead.

I have seen this move hundreds of times, and I have never known it to be anything other than weakness. The player doing it is trying to convey strength to his opponent. The gesture is meant to make the opponent think, "That guy was about to make a big bet, but then checked instead. He must be trying to trap me, so I'll just check behind."

Bellande, however, was using it as a reverse tell, which I've never seen anyone do before. He knows perfectly well that that move is usually one performed by a player feigning strength, so he pulled it off when he was actually strong. It was brilliant. He pulled it off perfectly. I think I would have been suckered in if I had been the one in position against him. After you've seen it done a few dozen times, the move, meant to be intimidating, actually comes to resemble a green light.

That's certainly how the other guy with the big stack read it. He shoved. Bellande called, obviously, and got his double-up.

It was a really nice example of silently manipulating an opponent into doing exactly what you want him to do.

"'I don't keer w'at you do wid me, Brer Fox,' sezee, 'so you don't fling me in dat brier-patch. Roas' me, Brer Fox' sezee, 'but don't fling me in dat brierpatch,' sezee.

"'Hit's so much trouble fer ter kindle a fier,' sez Brer Fox, sezee, 'dat I speck I'll hatter hang you,' sezee.

"'Hang me des ez high as you please, Brer Fox,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'but do fer de Lord's sake don't fling me in dat brier- patch,' sezee.

"'I ain't got no string,' sez Brer Fox, sezee, 'en now I speck I'll hatter drown you,' sezee.

"'Drown me des ez deep ez you please, Brer Fox,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'but do don't fling me in dat brier-patch,' sezee.

"'Dey ain't no water nigh,' sez Brer Fox, sezee, 'en now I speck I'll hatter skin you,' sezee.

"'Skin me, Brer Fox,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'snatch out my eyeballs, t'ar out my years by de roots, en cut off my legs,' sezee, 'but do please, Brer Fox, don't fling me in dat brier- patch,' sezee.

"Co'se Brer Fox wanter hurt Brer Rabbit bad ez he kin, so he cotch 'im by de behime legs en slung 'im right in de middle er de brier-patch. Dar wuz a considerbul flutter whar Brer Rabbit struck de bushes, en Brer Fox sorter hang 'roun' fer ter see w'at wuz gwineter happen. Bimeby he hear somebody call 'im, en way up de hill he see Brer Rabbit settin' crosslegged on a chinkapin log koamin' de pitch outen his har wid a chip. Den Brer Fox know dat he bin swop off mighty bad. Brer Rabbit wuz bleedzed fer ter fling back some er his sass, en he holler out:

"'Bred en bawn in a brier-patch, Brer Fox—bred en bawn in a brier-patch!' en wid dat he skip out des ez lively ez a cricket in de embers."
From Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings, by Joel Chandler Harris, available here.


Josie said...

Ha! I know the exact move u mean and always pounce when I see it. I may have to try the reverse tell myself!

Mitchell Cogert said...

I am glad someone noticed this action by Bellande!

My thoughts: Against all poker players try to find an action they take with their hands, chips, etc and link it to a strong or weak hand. And, if they do something different than that action, you can respond with your play.

While this move by Bellande indicates weakness by most poker players, I would never assume that is true for him at the WSOP, unless he had done it before and was weak.

Here, it was so different than the way he bet his hands before,it should have been a warning sign, and not a sign of weakness

Just my two cents.

Note: While Bellande and I both got knocked out on Day 6, I've never played against him.

I did post some poker tell guidelines on my blog to help players.


BuzzedSaw said...

With this post in mind, I found myself in a situation the other night where I thought I might give it a try. My hand played out a little differently, as I didn't fill until the river, and would have won w/out filling up. So, I stacked my opponent, but since he was pretty strong, that might have happened anyway. I'm not even sure how much attention this opponent was paying, but I definitely intend to look for other spots to try this move.