How To Use Your Opponent’s Ego Against Them

Check Your Ego at the Card Room Door.

Language is a powerful tool… and one that can be used for or against you. Do you ever let ego effect your language at the table?

Words spoken often become truths by the power of focus and thought – particularly when they are focused around our egocentric self.

Jordan who suffers greatly from his ego when playing poker.



Entitlement- Blaming Others

Jordan says to the dealer, “ You just had to put that 7 up there, couldn’t let my two pair hold up, could you?”

Jordan, like many poker players, believes he is a great player and always tries to play his best. Jordan believes he is so good that he never expects to lose. As a result, he gets upset when his value hands don’t hold up by the river and feels that surely it must be someone else’s fault (in this case the dealers).

Jordan becomes enraged when he loses pots because in his mind they are his pots. You can pick out players that feel a sense of entitlement by focusing on their language and mannerisms as they will typically direct their anger at one person.


A great counter strategy to use against a player of this type is to play your hands ABC (super straightforward).

When Jordan begins to play cards with the expectation of winning, he has already lost the battle because poker will always have variance. As Jordan begins to lose he will naturally become more upset due to his sense of entitlement and will begin to try and make up for the lost pot by being more aggressive and playing more hands. There is a term for this called ‘pressing’.

If you really want to get Jordan- don’t fall into the trap of playing too many hands and trying to run big bluffs against him. Remember: ABC.

The Wise Man: A show of Intelligence

Oh you got the straight? You made bad call and turn the straight didn’t you? It’s okay, I don’t have to see, I fold. ”

The wise man likes to let his opponents know that he is no fool and that you are not getting the best of him. Our ego driven player Jordan, in addition to feeling entitled to win, loves to show off his intelligence by playing The Wise Man.

Jordan will frequently stereotype people on a minimal amount of information.  In the example above, he is talking to an old man named Stuart. Stuart is a relatively tight player and has raised him on a scary turn. Jordan could be making a good fold but instead of just mucking his hand he wants to let his other opponents know that Stuart is not outplaying him and that he is once again, the superior player at the table. His words serve his ego.

The best way to exploit a player playing the wise man is to listen closely to what he says to you in a hand. Stuart for example, should begin to add more bluffs in hands against Jordan because Jordan thinks he is incapable of bluffing a scary turn. Stuart can also begin to be more aggressive against Jordan in other spots, slowly adjusting to the opportunity that has been provided.

As for the other players at the table, if you want to upset Jordan, go ahead and tell Jordan you think Stuart was bluffing and that a better player would have called. Needle needle. This will drive Jordan absolutely insane.

Listening for keywords that serve a player’s Ego can help you pinpoint opportunities to make money off a player by playing super straight forward. Jordan is the perfect example of a player that you don’t want to do anything fancy against and that can be exploited to the max through straight forward aggressive play.

(NOTE: if you’re serious about improving your game, I’ve prepared a FREE preflop guide for you to check out by linking the link below.)



I’m Matt “Checkmate” Colletta. I’ve been playing poker professionally since about 2004.

As one of the poker pros on, my goal here is to help transform at least one hobbyist poker player into a self made millionaire.



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