Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Poker Etiquette

Making friends at the poker table can always be a dangerous proposition.  Realistically you should be trying to take every chip on the table.  That's not terribly conducive to making friends,  but we all try to be friendly at the table just to pass the time.

I was playing $.5/1 NLHE at the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Michigan this past weekend.  Not quite as fishy a clientele as the Vegas casinos but fun none the less.  My table had been quiet for a while - almost too quiet.  I'm in the SB with 56 crubs and have every expectation of seeing a cheap flop when the button decides to throw in a big raise.   Well, damnit, I really wanted to see a flop.  I start to joke with the table and said, "Ok, I need to know how many of you are going to call that raise 'cause if I call I really need all y'all to call, too."  There were several chuckles so I figured I was probably good to call. 

The button raiser wasn't too happy when he saw that most of the limpers were calling his raise and mentioned that he didn't think that I was allowed to ask that question.  Hmmm.  In all honesty, I was calling before I asked the question safe in the knowledge that there would be many callers behind me as well since this is no-foldem-holdem after all.  I almost commented that I was just helping him build a pot but I decided that, with this many callers, there was a strong likelihood that his hand - even if it was AA - wasn't going to hold up.

The flop came out 344, two hearts.  I checked, one of the callers bet and the button raised.  I decided I had better get out of dodge.  The bettor called and, after more betting, the hands went to showdown: Button AT, winner A4o.  I don't recall the exact board but I was pretty sure that Mr. Button was betting with air at this .5/1 table after I titled him to no end by showing his raise no respect.  Oops.

Later in the evening I the table had changed to much more friendly crowd even with some of the same players at the table.  I limped in with TT hoping to hit a set or get out.  Sure enough I hit a flop but not the best flop for me: KJT.  I lead out and get two callers.  The turn another K.  Nice card for me but people play KJ all the time.  I bet out and get a caller and then Billy raises.  Sigh.  I can't let this go here.  I hadn't seen Billy show down many hands at this point.  I call AND the other guy calls, too.  The river, fml, was a J.  OK, aside from the case K that was the worst river card I could have seen.  Billy leads out and I had to fold.  The guy behind me, on the other hand, calls and shows down a Q high flush.  He had an open ended straight flush draw and just couldn't throw away his flush on a KJKJT board. 

This table had become quite relaxed and chatty.  I was enjoying it when I limped in from the SB with AJ (Blaz would be so proud) after several limpers.  The flush guy from the hand above was on my left in the big blind and raised it up.  He gets a couple of callers and I call, too.  An ace flops and I decide to check call if he bets.  Sure enough he bets and it's folded to me.  I just call and we check it down the rest of the way.  Sure enough I had him outkicked.  I almost felt bad but it's a dog eat dog world at the poker table.  But, had I not been so friendly with him I probably would have continued to bet at that pot.  I guess I shouldn't be so friendly at the table, after all.


  1. I think the people who don't enjoy being friendly at tables are the ones who take it to seriously. Sure its a serious game but I mean there's nothing wrong with laughing while playing.

  2. Of course there's nothing wrong with having fun, laughing, and being social. But those qualities neither imply nor require disregarding the rules. Making comments that may influence or even appear to influence the decisions made by others is a non-trivial violation of the rules. I don't think what you said warranted being carted off to poker prison or anything, but if I had been the dealer, I would have gently reminded you not to talk about the hand in progress or say anything that might tip another player towards or away from a call. And, for purely selfish reasons, it's probably not smart to effectively announce to the table that you have the kind of hand that needs multiple callers for proper implied odds; that's giving away way too much info, should you be at a table where anybody is smart enough to take advantage of it.

    A small faux pas, but one which, IMHO, you would do better not to repeat in the future.