Sex, Chips and Bankroll
They say that men think about sex every seven seconds which means that by the time the male demographic amongst you read this article you will have had roughly 26 sexual thoughts; so if this article inspires nothing else then at least your time won't have been completely wasted. Sexuality is a major force within society and for many years large institutions have used sex to promote their message, the old adage that sex sells really is true. Sex is used to advertise the obvious products such as lingerie and perfume, but it is also used to promote slightly more obscure products such as ice cream and even shampoo (re. an old Herbal Essence advert).
This trend seems to be spreading into poker with more and more young, and attractive players becoming magazine pin-ups, indeed the subject of my last article, Patrik Antonius, is loved as much for his poker skills as his dashing good looks (I'll let you decide which camp you fall into). Now why is this important when playing at the tables? Well, recently I've been getting more and more comments whilst playing at a certain major site. Usually I ignore the: 'you absolute fish please die!', 'you're sooooo bad, idiot!' comments in the chat box, but since uploading a picture of a female (my girlfriend) to my avatar things seem to have changed. No more am I lambasted in textual form from within the chat box; instead I seem to be getting compliment after compliment and while it may not always be on my play it has allowed me gain an interesting edge over some players.
Like it or not men (obviously not all) generally seem to play differently against women and as I've found play very differently against a woman they fancy. A lot of top online players are predominantly number orientated and much of categorising a player lies in the percentage of flops they see, the percentage of times they raise pre-flop, the amounts the bet etc etc. However, poker remains a multifaceted game, in whichever medium it's played, and the personal aspect of the game should not be forgotten online because after all we aren't computers (well, excluding bots). Our personal emotions affect our play no matter how much we try and stop them and this is something which can be exploited and provide us with an edge, especially over those more sexually frustrated players at the table. In his Book of Tells Mike Carro explains how he often sits in a live game and acts in unusual ways such as muttering to himself and making non-sensical outbursts. This deliberate act is designed to portray the image of a slightly unstable individual to his opponents and thus force them to perceive and therefore play him in a different way than normal. Acting mildly insane disguises Mike's acute poker knowledge which in-turn allows him to get that overbet on the river called or make a player lay down to a pre-flop raise because they are weary of what the manic may be holding. This one aspect of his game adds to the edge he has over certain players.
Personally I'm quite a loose aggressive player but when masquerading under the guise of my female alter ego it seems I get more respect than I normally would. Because men (some more than others) instinctively want to impress a female they are attracted to they seem to alter their game in one of two ways. Either they take the macho route and play more aggressively by running huge bluffs in an attempt to show off their "big cohunes," or they take a more chivalrous approach by courteously laying down more hands to the pretty lady's raises. Poker is all about finding weaknesses in your opponents' games and exploiting them and this is what makes a winning player. Indeed, if we were all to play like robots then there would be little +EV for anybody because people would making the optimal mathematical plays every time.
Obviously pretending to be a young attractive female won't work every time but anytime you give off an image which can deceive your opponents into viewing you differently then you will have gained an edge over that player. Most recently the sex angle has worked for me and has allowed me to flirt my way to a few more pots than maybe I should have won, but I know this won't last forever so who knows maybe month I'll become a 6ft 6" heavyweight boxer.
Ed Note: Whether you are a Bruce or a Sheila, a 100% signup bonus at Paradise Poker looks very sexy