Robert Woolley of PokerNews recently published an article about certain “lesser known poker rules” that one may use to their advantage. Some have claimed that this article advocates angle shooting. After reading the piece, I disagree with these comments.
His piece should probably be called “Three Rules Noobs at the Poker Table Should Know” as they are really things you see from inexperienced players. It is hardly a piece condoning angle shooting, and anyone thinking so I question how often they’ve played live poker.
If you want some real examples of angle-shooting and underhanded behavior at the tables, continue reading. Those that have played live poker regularly have likely seen each and if you haven’t, it will give you something to look out for the next time you play live against players you’re unfamiliar with.
Pretending to Bet / Moving Chips Forward Without Releasing
There are some players that will try to feign a bet in order to try and gain information about the strength of your hand. They cut out a bet amount and move their hand forward like they are going to bet, but they don’t release.
What they are doing is seeing how you react. If you perk up like you plan to call or raise, they often will pull back the bet and just check. When you tense up or get a look of fear, they go ahead and bet with the knowledge that your hand is no good.
The rule in some casinos (and used to be the same in many) is that a bet does not count until the chips come out of your hand completely. This rule has been abused so much over the years that some casinos have modified the rule stating that any forward action with your chips constitutes a bet.
How this is enacted varies from casino to casino. For example, at some casinos, any chips moved past your hole cards become a bet. A guy learned this the hard way in a game I once played in as he had enough space behind his stack to fit his hole cards. The first time he took the cards behind the stack to look at them, the dealer declared the player all-in. Lucky for him he sat down with twice the chips of anyone at the table and nobody called, but he quickly changed how he looked at his cards.
Some casinos still don’t count a bet until it leaves you hand, so make sure of the rule when you sit down so someone doesn’t use this against you.
Misrepresenting Bet Sizes
Another potential sketchy move that I have seen way too often is a player that intentionally misrepresents their bet size, either high or low. The most common way you will see this is in a NL game where someone moves all-in and when asked, they give a number that is substantially off.
For example, a players has 5,500 and when asked they say they have 8,500. Often, this is done to try and scare a player out of a pot. For example, the player with 5,500 might shove into a 11k pot and claim they have 8,500 to trick draws into folding because they don’t have the right pot odds.
This is one reason why you should always have a dealer verify the amount of a player’s stack and never completely trust them at their word.
Players Skimming Chips to Use Later
If you’ve played cash games with any regularity, you’ve encountered players who will remove a few chips here and there during the game in order to preserve their win or their initial buy-in. While this is a “scared money” tactic, by itself it isn’t exactly shady although it does take away money from the game.
However, it does become shady when these same players try and reintroduce the chips into the game during a hand. What usually happens is that the player gets involved in a sizable pot they’re certain that they’ll win. This player will then tries and reintroduce some chips into play in order to bump up their pot.
The first time I spotted this, a player was sitting beside me playing with about three $25 chips in his left hand and checked with his right. While the other player was betting, the player quickly reached into his pocket with his right hand got some chip. Afterwards, he made a motion moving his chips from his left hand into his right like he was thinking about his action.
That stack of three $25 chips was now about 7 or 8. He proceeded to shove with those extra chips and was called by a player that had flopped a set at the same time that the cheater had flopped the nut flush. Luckily, karma stepped in an the board paired on the river. I left the game shortly afterwards, but not before dropping a subtle hint to the brush to have the floorman watch that player.
Protect Yourself at All Times
Whenever there is a contest involving money, someone is going to look for a way to cheat or bend the rules. As such, you have to constantly stay alert and watch for ways that people may take advantage of you.
Is this the most positive mindset to take? No. However, this world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Along with the honest players, there are just as many that will take any advantage possible to win.
At the end of the day, poker is a contest over money – your money. You not only need to develop a strategy to grow your bankroll but also to guard against those that will do anything they can to take your bankroll. Stay safe and good luck at the tables.