Just remember, it's not what you look at that matters.
Those were the first words Daniel Negreanu spoke to me inside at the 45th Annual World Series of Poker back in June. We ran into each other at the airport the day before, both on our way to hopefully strike it big at the tables. Truth be told, I ran into him. We hit it off and flew in together. One moment on the flight that really stood out to me afterwards was when the stewardess asked us if we wanted drinks.
"I'm alright, but my friend here would like a scotch on the rocks."
He turned to me, smiled, and asked me if that was right. It was. I rarely drink, but when I do, nothing beats a scotch on the rocks.
We met up the next day during the seating, and before we parted to start the event of the day he left me with a few words.
The event started, a No Limit Hold’em tournament, and I managed to make it through the early game and into the mid-late game with a manageable stack.
It was right around then that I was dealt AJ on the button and the action folded to me. I bet 2.5x the big blind, watched as the small blind folded, and was immediately called by the big blind. The flop came, J 9 8 rainbow, and the big blind fired off a bet a little under the pot size. I thought about his range and made the call. The turn was a 3, and the last suit. Flushes were out, but again, the big blind fired another bet for a little over half the pot. I called.
The river was a King.
The big blind thought for a few seconds before announcing he was all in for the last of his chips, which barely had me covered. The action was on me.
I have never thought so hard in my life. Calculating ranges, equity, everything I could. I looked at the big blind and studied him. Then something came over me. Just a little tickle.
What was it Daniel had said?
I focused and saw something that I hadn't noticed before. The big blinds lip was quivering. Barely, microscopically, but it was quivering.
He flipped over pocket 10s for the busted straight draw and I doubled up. In the end, I wound up cashing fairly nicely (as did Negreanu, we talked afterwards over a late dinner) and it was all because of the words he gave me before everything started.
"It's not what you look at that matters," he said, "but what you see."
To this day I still don't know how he knew I was a scotch drinker.