It never ceases to amaze me, how open and honest some people can be at a poker table.
Would you tell an opposing boxer that you tend to duck left? Would you tell the football team on the other side of the line you're going to blitz?
If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, I can only assume you are black and blue and/or on a losing football team.
It's no secret that poker is a constant mindgame. The more you know about your opponents and the less they know about you, the better off you are. Yet, many people are all-too-eager to share their secrets and their blueprints; generally as a result of two scenarios.
1. To impress others at the table with an infinite wellspring of poker knowledge.
2. To try to extract information from opponents.
Let's look at these motivations separately and examine the cons (there are no pros) of each.
How many times have you been at a card game where Johnny KnowItAll rattles on and on about why he made such and such a move, how he got a read someone was weak, and why he thought he could successfully use that third heart on the river to represent a flush?
If Johnny is such a poker genius, he should know that no good can come from teaching bad players how to play better. The longer Player A allows Player B to keep making mistakes, the larger Player A's stack becomes.
But ego can cloud one's judgement. And for some, verbally letting the world know how great they are is just as important as proving it. This is counterproductive. You'd much rather be shooting fish in a barrel than shooting yourself in the foot.
The second scenario happens more often at friendly live games than online or at a table with absolute strangers, but wherever it happens, it works against you far more than it works for you.
You've got a marginal hand (AT) in mid position. Early position opens for a raise. You call and go heads up to the flop of 6-4-T, rainbow. Early position bets, you go over the top, and he pushes.
Certainly top/top is good here. Isn't it? Man, I don't know if I can lay this down. I mean, if he's got an overpair, I can't be drawing dead. I'm either way ahead or way behind.
And then, in a last ditch attempt to get a read ....
"Ace/ten no good?"
No reaction. And finally you fold. And he mucks. So you try again.
"Ace/ten no good, sir?"
Still no reaction.
"You have jacks? Queens?"
Still no reaction.
"I couldn't put you on kings or aces. You didn't have kings or aces there, did you?"
So after all of your thinking, and guessing every possible hand that's beating you, what have you gained? Nothing. He might have had queens, or he might've just had a good bet. But now he knows that you can and will lay down top pair/top kicker to a 3-bet. He knows, and the rest of the table knows, too. So while he may have had you this time, next time he or someone else may just be making a move against the guy who let the world know how much it will cost to get him off top pair/top kicker.
A third scenario that is equal parts scenarios 1 and 2 is letting the world know, in hindsight, that you made a great lay down. Your read was SO GOOD, you just KNEW AK was way behind the preflop reraise.
And you might've been right. You'd have been up against aces. But keep it to yourself, silently patting yourself on the back when the cards are turned face up. Otherwise, anyone who's paying attention is going to use that against you later.
In closing, it should go without saying that if you are ever fortunate enough to be at a table with a Johnny KnowItAll, or someone who has no problem telling you what he has hoping you'll return the favor, or someone who shows a monster before mucking ..... don't tell them they're only hurting themselves by playing that way. Remember what I said about shooting: You're looking for fish in a barrel, not your own foot.