Sunday, February 12, 2006

Poker chat etiquette

Rather than dissect hands that I have recently played, or brag about wins or moan about losses, I thought I would bring up a point that bothers me occasionally when I play on line.

While I am playing in online games, I often see some players in the chat box criticizing the plays that others make. Many times, it will be due to one player winning with a hand that the losing player considers to be unworthy of having been played. More than once, I have agreed with the sentiment of the losing player. If someone plays 53 offsuit in early position, calls one or more flop and turn bets without making a hand, and then hits a straight on the river to beat the other player's flopped set, I would immediately suspect that the winning player had no knowledge of the proper strategy for playing the game. I have read chat comments like, "Why did you play that crap? How could you call my raises with such junk?" And so forth.

I consider myself a fairly polite person. I would not make disparaging remarks like that to strangers, and would have to feel very comfortable with friends that I might joke with in that manner. Some players might try to put someone else on tilt with such trash talk, thinking of it as a strategic tactic. My courtesy filter has so far prevented me from engaging in that sort of gamesmanship. The way I figure it is, if this player is so ignorant of the correct plays to make, I have the advantage over him or her, and in the long run have a very good chance of picking up a lot of chips from this person. The last thing I would want to do is encourage them to improve their play. I also don't want to create an atmosphere of conflict at the table, which could not only antagonize the player being criticized but other players there as well.

I haven't done it yet, but I think that the next time I see some donkey make a boneheaded move that wins a pot, I might make a comment like, "Bold move there" or "Wow, I wouldn't have thought of that." It might make them think that such plays are admired, little knowing that the reason I admired it is that in the long run it is more likely to benefit me than them.


Zeem said...

I always figure the person making insults is usually a weak player or on tilt or both. I usually do well in those games. I especially like it if I am the target of their "witty" barbs.

Sports Bettor said...

Some players just suck. I have had some brutal bad beats online and at different limits. It part of the game, and yeah, I'll say something... It probably the wrong thing to do as these players may then tighten up, but it sure makes me feel better at the time.