Assume the Position

sitting-straightYou’re playing live poker and you just folded before the flop. You’ve got a minute or two, maybe longer, before you get more cards. What to do? What to do? You could watch TV. You could turn the volume up on your headphones. You might order a beverage, or converse with a player. Maybe you’ve got some urgent tweeting. Or you might just sit there and watch the players play the hand.

Whatever you do, it’s okay. You can still recover from it. Just as long as you do this one last thing:

Assume the position.

Imagine you’re in the middle of a big and dramatic headsup pot. On the turn, your opponent bets out. You have him covered. You say, “I’m all in.” And you freeze.

Your opponent pauses. His pause stretches into a delay. The delay elongates into a stall. After a while, the stall extends itself fully and becomes overtly annoying, to everyone, but especially to you, because he keeps poking his eyes at you, then looking at the wall or something, and then he stares at you again, and you look down when he does, and you’re trying to keep still and not give up anything, but you feel yourself squirming around because your body is not in a stable position.

Have you ever found yourself frozen into a slouchy, undignified posture during the all-in freeze frame? I sure have. Lots of times. And I’ve seen it too. It’s as if saying the words “all in” commits us to a ritualistic stillness ceremony. One time I saw a guy freeze up just as he was about to light a cigarette. He was holding his lighter up to a cigarette that was in his mouth, and he stayed like that for two minutes until his opponent finally folded.

So, what to do? How do you insure that you will look strong when you’re being looked over?

Assume the position.

No matter what you are doing or thinking between hands, when the dealer starts dealing, you stop. Stop and pretend. Pretend you are playing that big pot. You make your big all-in raise. Your opponent looks like he is going to take a while. Imagine that moment. Imagine the posture you would like to be in when that happens. The one that makes you look good and feel good. The one that says I got no worries or hurries. And then assume that position.

If you do this before every hand, you will know you have done your best.