Monday, May 7, 2012

Growing confidence and angle shooting from the prior post

Growing confidence

I'm definitely becoming more confident at the table - both with my reads and my play.  I want to share a little HH with you where I called with the sole intention of taking away the pot on a later street (a move that I don't ordinarily feel comfortable with in live poker):

6 limpers (including me in the UTG+1) face a $15 raise from the BB (table had turned passive; more limps / less raises).  I call his raise (he's a competent, by-the-book player), along with 3 (loose passive SB and BTN) others with JdTd.  We see a flop of A 9s 4s.  He cbets $17 into the $~65 pot and I call, wanting to see what the BTN would do.  My plans are upset when the BTN folds but the loose passive SB calls and we see a turn card of Ac.  SB checks and BB continues, but bets $5 into the growing pot.  I sit and think for a few moments - and realize that SB is likely leading all Aces in this spot, as she's out of position and realizes that if she turned trips, BB will likely check through giving us all a free river look.  With BB leading so small, he's so polarized towards pocket pairs scared of the trip Aces, but wants to give the small bet means strong impression (i.e. I dare you to raise me, bro).   Realizing the situation - SB is likely drawing or nipped a small piece of the flop - and BB likely has JJ or TT - I raise it to $35.  SB instafolds, as does BB, but shows QQ.

Point is, I'm feeling very comfortable making this kind of move.  I'm definitely improving as a live player.  I will be posting a WWYD later in the week - as soon as I have time to get to it.

Angle shooting

Clearly, I'm conflicted by my prior post, A quick hand... and an update.  I've been thinking about it, talking with a few poker buddies, and racking my brain as to whether it was ethical to verbalize a false hand in order to induce a call and get an extra bet on the river.  I'm still unsure whether it's ethical or not - I'm not sure where my ethical line is drawn on this issue.  On the one hand, if I'd had this happen to me, I'm not even thinking twice about it...  I consider it a good play to get the intended action.  However, the reality is that I'm likely not allowing my opponent's act to influence my decision.  I'm not so concerned about the hand itself; I won the pot, I'm not giving it back to the guy - move on mentally.  However, the question still remains whether this is acceptable behavior in the future.

A friend pointed out to me that this is the kind of action that gets someone to wait for you outside, and on some level, I agree with that thought.  He pointed out that the issue is the verbalization of the false tell - not the actual act.  One can engage in false physical tells - well within the ethical rules, but verbalizing a false statement under a false pretense (i.e. "thinking the guy was making the call") is what makes this issue a gray area.

I am still considering the action - this is not something I'd ever do among friends at a home game, clearly.  My intent is to maximize my wins at the casino, not be Mr. Nice Guy.  When I'm playing among friends, my intent is have a good time, and enjoy the company.

Ultimately, though, I think my conundrum is based on how others perceive me.  Everything in life has a price tag - is my reputation worth $50 in this instance?  Clearly, no.  I do not want to be known as an angle shooter or cheater in any game whatsoever.  Although I don't view my actions as angle shooting, I truly wonder how some of the more experienced live players perceive my action.  Is this acceptable at the poker table filled with strangers I'd likely never see again?  I can't assume that because I'm okay with the action - both on the receiving end and the giving end - that others will be.  Thoughts?


  1. I would never do what you did in the earlier post for two reasons. First, I think the most profitable live tables are the friendly, talkative ones where even the losers feel that they're having a bit of a good time--where everyone shares the illusion that they're on the same page. Second, tells--even "mistakes"--almost always mean the opposite in live games.

    Neither reason considers the ethics of the situation. The ethics of that spot doesn't seem interesting to me.

    As long as only one guy was pissed off, your presence very likely won't prevent future tables from being friendly and profitable.

    In all, the entire incident seems like a sunk cost, even though you won. You didn't ask for advice, but I'd decide whether to do the same thing in future situations and then put it out of my mind. The less you think about it, the less time you wasted thinking about it.

  2. Having played against you several times and from our brief emails to each other, I see you as a good poker player and a stand-up guy. That being said, I agree that it was a dick move. If it were me, I would probably have used similar language and immediately contacted the brush to get a table change. That being said, I wouldn't lose sleep over it.


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