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Leak #5 - Peeping too much

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Leak #5 "peeping too much" is symbolized by a no-peeping sign in the bathroom. What this means is that it is a very bad habit to insist on seeing your opponent's cards even if it only costs a small price, and it is much worse if it costs a lot of chips.

Anytime you think you are peeping too much, remember the picture and stop peeping!

Leak #5 represents our natural curiosity and doubting nature. This is normally a small leak because when it occurs we only waste a few chips, but like a real water leak only releasing one drop at a time, it can fill a tank after some time. Let us see an example.

In a NL50 holdem cash game played at Full Tilt Poker, the hero who holds AA♠ raises 3 bb from MP2 and gets called by the big blind. There is not a better situation than this for the hero, holding the nuts in position. The flop is 2♠2J, which is excellent for the hero. Unless the villain has a deuce or a pair of jacks, the hero is still ahead. The villain insta-checks, confirming weakness, the hero bets $2.50 in the $3.25 pot and the villain calls.

Lets us note here that with 35/14/1.3 stats, the villain is a loose passive fish. The turn is 4, which should not have improved anyone's hand. Villain checks, hero bets $4.50 in the $8.25 pot and villain calls. The final river card is the 8, which again is a blank, villain checks for the third time and hero bets $7.50 in the $17.25 pot.

The interesting development is that the villain starts to tank and he uses all his time reserve, which had about 30 seconds left. With one second to go, he calls, showing TT♠. Note that he called 15bb in order to make a claim for the 49.5 bb pot, obtaining excellent pot odds of 3.3:1.

It is certainly not a situation where the villain should always fold his hand, and it depends on the dynamics of the table and the hero's profile, which here was a tight-aggressive player. For the most part, folding or not depends on the chance that the hero is bluffing.

Usually with such three barreling, hero cannot have less than two pairs with at least top pair. Villain does have two pairs with his best pair less than top pair. He took a long time to make his final decision, and when the time bank was nearly expired, he could not fold and continue to live without knowing what hero had. So he peeped. His curiosity and lack of discipline was his undoing.

Peeping is a human tendency. It is related to curiosity, which is a very strong human trait. Without curiosity, civilizations as we know them would not have been born. Unfortunately in poker it is a very bad and costly habit.

What we mean by peeping in poker is a situation where, even though all evidence points to our hand being beaten by a stronger hand, we still pay the price of the bet to see what we are beaten by.

Peeping stems from a mix of curiosity and doubt. Maybe we remember that the last time our opponent was in a similar spot he made a bluff, so doubt is deeply ingrained in our psyche of the moment.

Peeping as a leak represents our exaggerated assessment of the chance that our opponent is bluffing. When there are obvious scary cards hitting the board like a third card of we same suit at the river, we check and our opponent who is last to act, makes a small or medium-sized bet. It seems that he is trying to steal the pot so we peep to see if he really had the flush, even though our hand only stands a small chance of winning.

If you know that there is only a small chance that you have the best hand and you are tempted to call a small bet in order to verify your assessment, remember the picture for leak #5 and fold your hand.

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