Poker Etiquette Part 3

An examination of poker etiquette, specifically around angle-shooting and cheating.

Alright, the cardinal sin of poker: The angle shooter / cheat

Poker’s a game of math, skill, psychology, but also, emotion. People are playing not only with their money, but also their pride, and sometimes, they’re willing to cheat to preserve both. However, in my opinion, the angle-shooters and cheaters are the lowest of the low in the poker world. Sadly, they’re more common than you may think.

I recently read a a thread about someone claiming that he did nothing wrong, but was banned on Full Tilt Poker for collusion.  HIs story was that he is a regualr 1/2 NL player, but occasionally “donks around” with a friend on the lower limit tables.  He said “Sure, we do some crazy plays, and dump chips off to one another sometimes, but now I’m out 2k?  Well my friend, that is actually cheating.  It doesn’t matter if the money means nothing to you, if you wanted money gone to someone else’s account, transfer it.  When it comes down to it, there are people who are playing at this level seriously, and trying to either learn the game, or build up their bankroll.  When you dump chips to a friend, o rplay on the same table repeatedly, it puts that person at a disadvantage, and makes the game unfair – in other words, you cheated.

I was actually at a game once where someone angle-shot me, and knew he did it.  He actually came up and said to me “Sorry man, I knew you were my main competition at the table, and had to get rid of you”.  Well sir, your apology means little to me since you clearly knew you were cheating.  Now, I’m sure this guy would consider what he did “within the rules of the game”, but it was pretty clear to me, and several others, that he was angle shooting.  My guideline?  If your mama wouldn’t be proud, you cheated!

A lot of people often equate poker with a life-analogy, well, I subscribe to this belief at times as well, and it kind of says a lot about the character of a person who tries to cheat, or for that matter, someone who allows cheating at their game (as this host did).  And although I’m sure my sample size isn’t quite large enough, the host of that game ended up going to prison a few months later for frauding a local company of 12k in false insurance claims.

The reason I’ve put this into my etiquette series, is because it’s a pretty safe bet that if you’re in a low-stakes game, and someone catches you angle-shooting, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to be invited back.  If you’re in a higher stakes game and you try this kind of thing, you’re going to be lucky to get away from the table with your hide intact!


2 thoughts on “Poker Etiquette Part 3”

  1. “the host of that game ended up going to prison a few months later for frauding a local company of 12k in false insurance claims.”

    That says it all right there. As you noted, it’s probably the case that the way a person plays poker is the way he plays life. If he’s a douche at the table, he’s probably a douche everywhere else.

    What’s great is that the poker community is one of the most self-policing around. Even a hint of corruption, angle-shooting, or even just going back on one’s word, and you’re toast for life. Yet they’re also very accepting: race, gender, personality are all irrelevant–in fact mixing it up is usually welcome to make it more interesting and fun. You can be quiet or loud; humble or egotistical; a good sport or a crybaby; take it in stride or have a meltdown every hand–and it’s all good: as long as you’re playing fair.

    Come to think of it, this is a higher standard than most people have in nearly any other area of life. The world would probably be a better place if more people played life the way poker players play poker.

  2. Just to clarify, I wasn’t suggesting that poker players are dishonest, in fact, I’m in agreement that the community is one of the most accepting and understanding, not to mention trustworthy, that I’ve ever been involved in!

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