Monday, August 15, 2016

PokerNews article #125

This one is about using less-known poker rules to create a tactical edge for yourself.


I see that some people on Twitter are saying that my article is encouraging and/or teaching angle-shooting. See here.

This is deeply mistaken--and it's not even a close call. There is no honest, reasonable reading of the article that sees it as promoting angle-shooting. (FWIW, I've previously done two articles denouncing angle-shooting, and teaching readers how to spot and combat it. See here and here.)

The hallmark of most forms of angle-shooting is either deliberately creating ambiguity or deliberately misrepresenting what is going on. An example of the former is sliding a stack of chips to a point just short of the betting line (in a casino that uses betting lines), so that it looks like a bet, raise, or call--but technically isn't. The player then either tries to withdraw it or make it count, depending on the opponent's reaction. An example of the latter is falsely declaring one's hand when the action is concluded, then, if caught, proclaim that it was an innocent mistake.

Not a single thing in my article advocates any attempt to trick or deceive another player, nor to misrepresent the truth, nor to create ambiguity, nor to evade or skirt the rules. Quite the opposite; in every case, I'm advocating following the rules.

In the first example, another player has created the ambiguity, which has to get resolved one way or the other. I'm simply advocating trying to get it resolved (1) according to published rules, and (2) in a direction that is advantageous. The blame for the ambiguity lies entirely with the player who created it, as does any fallout from having done so. (Moreover, the ambiguous maybe-a-check-maybe-not-a-check is something that an angle-shooter could do deliberately. I explain how to foil any such intention.)

In the second example, it's even harder for me to understand how anybody sees angle-shooting here. Again, the fault lies entirely with the player who didn't protect his hand. The worst interpretation you can give to my words is that I'm saying that the rules prescribe the outcome and that you don't have to be generous and let him reclaim a hand that the dealer killed. But the fact is that, nearly always, any such dispute will be left to the tournament personnel, and other players will have little say in what is decided.

My third example is what the attorneys would call black-letter law. I know of no set of poker rules (at least for American use) that disagrees on the prescribed order of showdown when the last round of betting has no action. My advice is simply to insist on following the rules. How that could even remotely be interpreted as "angle-shooting" wholly escapes me.

If people simply disagreed with the wisdom of following my advice, I wouldn't mind. After all, a good percentage of my own words were spent explaining why you might not want to. But angle-shooting is ugly and unethical. To say that I am promoting or teaching it is not merely mistaken (though it is that); it is outright insulting.

If you believe that an insistence on standard poker rules being followed constitutes angle-shooting, I'm at a loss to understand how you could so badly misunderstand what angle-shooting is.


Memphis MOJO said...

Nice article.

Aussiesmurf said...

Let's face it. Complaints about breaches of the 'spirit' of poker are almost always self-interested.

There are some people who value social approval about monetary reward, and they will sacrifice equity for fleeting approval from strangers who they will never meet again. That is their right, just as it is the right of others to be bewildered.

Pkrscottuk said...


I've read the comments and tweets and can only agree that point 1 is a clear angle shoot but 2 and 3 seem ok to talk about.

I think if you are trying to gain an unfair advantage by forcing an action that wasn't intended it goes against the spirit of the game.

The guy intended to bet and didn't have the opportunity to. Saying people should announce check behind so action has taken place is unfair imo. Until the dealer announces the action taken he still has the action on him and it's the dealers responsibility to make his action clear before others act behind.