What elements does reading of opponents consist of?Talking about observation, attention etc. is simply talking. Let us keep to the point.
For one thing, experienced players nicely determine the so-called constant. This term stipulates an ordinary opponent’s behavior and/or state. This a quite general set of habits of how to approve oneself: the way he laughs, grieves, communicates etc. Any change observed against this conditionally neutral background (constant) makes us fall into a muse.
The opponent can discuss any issues; debate and joke. It means to behave in a natural way – a constant. However, suddenly he becomes continently concentrated, his eyes are hard, and he perks, leaning with his lower arms on the cushion – a change. It is a quite general remark, but you are ready to say, "He is ready for a grave opposition.”
Let us have a look at pix. What could the constant look like? A scene from "Russian Fight”, episode one, Denis Kuznetsov:
It is a quite widespread and stable expression, which can be called neutral, as it provides no useful information. However, Erik Seidel bets and …
Eyebrows are lifted up, as if the player is surprised. As readers say, "The constant is broken." We can see a change. What does it mean? The question is appropriate, as amazement can be observed both under negative and positive circumstances. Thus, we have touched upon changes, which are generally associated directly with tells. In this case, a considerable sensitiveness is required. It is dangerous to make hasty conclusions. For example, amateurs think that touching one’s face or neck is a signal of bluff. What is the crucial mistake?
I repeat, "There are no individual hints. It is always a system, where time and place of appearance is of great importance.” Many people overlook the whole pattern. For example, according to statistics a smile of Phil Ivey during the hand is a sign of strength. It is true, but not completely. There are dozens of different smiles! It means that a word "smile” is acceptable only in the form of colligation, as a term, which is not a particular hint. The opponent’s attitude to his competitor is of great importance: who or what he laughs at. We consider an amount of stakes and bidding round.
The situation is the same with scratching and stroking of something. If the gesture refers to a constant (the person is in habit of kneading his neck periodically!), it provides miserable useful information. I would like to underline the importance of the background (constant), against which we observe any changes. If the gesture does not refer to a constant, it is necessary to point out previous games as well as additional hints in order to determine the tell: weakness or strength.
Thus, talking about changes we can point out the major difference between professional and amateur readers. Professionals know a wide range of general tells, and they actually practiced to notice them. They spent a lot of time working hard with pix and videos. The program of training includes special games as well. In other words, a professional has more knowledge about changes. He can notice appearances that are even more delicate. Therefore, we can talk about faster and more effective scanning of opponents. However, let us talk about the major secret of training next time…
The fact that Kuznetsov calls, suggests the most likely conclusion: he is strong and has a combination. It is time for Erik Seidel to look about. The dealer lays out the next street. Erik understands the situation – check. And the next scene, where the Russian goes all in:
Compare it with the constant illustration (the first picture). Now it is not necessary to be smart and sharp-eyed. Challenge, pleasure and superiority are obvious. One pedal is gas and the other is oil. Three sheets to the wind and fireworks in the head. He is a very fair person.
A simple example underlines the importance of the background. Here behavioral changes are more extensional and vivid. That is why the constant can be compared to a canvas, representing hints. The constant helps to create a contrast. Old hands in the game (mostly unwittingly) quickly determine opponent’s distinctive features. They use it as a basis for strength and weakness identification. If the opponent is familiar, the task becomes far less complicated.
From the very start, we have observed the idea of constants. There are three of them in practice.
The first: a general constant. A background used for noticing changes (tells).
The second: a constant of strength. Regular systems of hints verifying availability of combinations/hands. I will try to explain the notion. People tend to approve themselves in an ordinary way. It is conditioned by psychophysiology and upbringing. Stability of habits can be particularly explained by "self-preservation instinct”. Those things, that help you to survive, consolidate firmly. And it takes valid reasons in order to reject any behavioral patterns.
The third: a constant of weakness. Regular systems of hints verifying a negative estimate of situation. The knowledge is practical in terms of timely attacks and counterattacks. It is closely connected with the notion of opponent’s fold equity and bluff disclosure.
In this respect, one should remember that reading is simply an element of a strong player training. The word "element” indicates the absence of advantage in what we call proficiency. No one cancelled the technique of games, as well as further development and absorption of what gives you an advantage.
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