I could not help but laugh (to myself, mind you) when I overheard a player in my local $2/5 no-limit game make the following statement: “I wanted to raise you but I didn’t have it.”
Clearly this gentleman was a recreational player, just looking to have some fun in the poker room. This is great! He’s exactly the type of player we want at the table. But as his opponent, it’s our job to use every tool available to us to gain an edge on him (and all opponents.) In this case, he’s practically handing us part of our edge on a silver platter as he’s honestly talking about his inability to bluff raise and his likelihood of having a strong hand when he does raise.
Simply by listening to our opponents we gain valuable information. If we were wearing headphones or doing other things that disengage us from the gameplay we may create the wrong kind of atmosphere for players to go off as well as miss crucial tells such as this.
Whether we like it or not, we all give away some information no matter how hard we try not to. The difference is that some of the time our opponents will actually verbalize this information. By paying attention we can deduce what level they are thinking on, and then simply adjust our game to play one level higher.