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Thursday, May 11, 2006 

Nice bluff... Watch your back!

Have you ever had someone you don't know or even just met insult you to your face? Wouldn't your first instinct be to knock his teeth out or slap him in the face? Well, i'm sure it rarely happens in any social setting, especially with our Filipino culture of not being too open about our feelings or speaking ones mind openly, much less in a social or public setting.

But the poker table is a totally different story.

Just yesterday, while playing a friendly, short-handed, 10-20 NL game with 4 of my friends, a guy we just met decided to sit with us and play. He buys-in, sits down quietly, and doesnt really make an effort to introduce himself or make small talk with the guys who are playing. Mostly he is talking with his friends who are watching him play, since it is their first time to encounter a cash game (mostly new players). In one of the early hands, i hit middle pair on the flop and check in early position, which is checked around. The turn gave me a nut flush draw, and i bet, and he raises me double my bet, so i naturally call. The river gave me trips, and i bet out 100 only, which he calls. I showed it and said that if he raised me on the flop, i would have folded. He kept saying "wow, you got me on the river", but he didnt realize that he didnt do anything with his top pair on the flop, which led to that situation of me getting lucky.

Several hands later, i get into another pot with him. I get a gutshot on the flop, which i decide to make a feeler bet with. The guy then raised me double my bet, and i tell him "if you hit something and you want me out of the pot, you should bet bigger, now ill be forced to call", so i did. The turn came blank, and he checked, so i decide i should just check it too, since it was just a friendly game anyway. The river came, and he goes all-in. Naturally i fold. Then as he was gathering the chips, he flips over his cards and throws them in front of me, a busted flush draw. (he actually said that he made the flush. I honestly didnt see it, i thought that the river was a diamond. I rarely ever misread the board, but it's possible.- edited- 05/13). I've seen this "move" done before to several good friends of mine who i play regularly with, and this just made my blood boil at that time.

WTF? "What was that for? Why are you showing me that?" To which he couldnt really give a straight reply and just smiled sheepishly and shrugged his shoulders. This geeky looking scrawny guy in glasses is flipping over his "bluff" on a 200 peso pot to my face, and he doesnt even know me. After about 20 minutes i get into another hand with him, which he won about 700 with a higher two pair. Even before he could fix his chips, he declared a cash out, making some excuse that he had to go somewhere. (ok, he DID say he was going to cash out soon, in fairness to the guy, who's turns out to be actually a pretty ok dude.- edited 05/13)

Even before that game, there was a tournament running, and Kath went all-in on KK, which got called by an A-10. Flop showed an Ace, and the guy who had A-10 started srcreaming like he won a P100,000 pot or something. He kept screaming and getting himself pumped up, saying things like "not on my big blind!" or something like that. He was even hitting the table and puching bar stools and stuff, all with the intense look of a man who just scored a winning basket for the NBA finals. Good thing Kath was in a good mood, or else he would have gotten a piece of her mind. After the game, i approached the guy and told him about what he did, and he at least apologized to Kath for it.

I'm sure everyone has encountered situations like that. People you dont even know throwing their bluffs face up in front of you at the table, things like that. I think it's pathetic, but mostly, i also think it is because of ignorance. They do those things because they thinks it's cool, or that theyre "the bomb" for making a big bluff, and they just cant resist not bragging about it. They have no idea about proper table etiquette, or even just respect for other players.

Mostly, these things happen with beginners who are playing for the first few times at a real game outside their home games, and i think it is the responsibility of these players to learn proper table etiquette, or else risk getting themselves hurt or even worse. Emotions can get so high at a poker game that if they do something like that against someone with a short fuse, who knows what might happen. The top players i know can handle people like that, and they just wipe them out on the felt and take all their money as a retribution. Ive even seen a player getting piss drunk and insulting another players' mother, but because of respect for the other players on the table, the guy just let it pass, and then they proceeded to clean him out for about 300K that night. But not everyone has that kind of patience. That could have surely resulted into something bloody.

Pretty soon, if this goes unchecked, we might see something on the news about Poker Violence, people getting hurt or even killed because of poker, and that is not exactly going to be good for the game. Filipinos are very proud people, and bluffing someone then shoving it in their face is no different from slapping their face with a glove and challenging them to a duel.

Learn proper poker etiquette, or even just have some manners and respect, and it will go a long way towards getting respect from your peers as well. If youre a veteran poker player and you encounter something like this, make an effort to correct them and teach them a little poker manners, since they mostly do not really know what they are doing, and is doing it out of pure ignorance and youthful arrogance.

I believe it is our responsibility as players to make sure that Filipino players will eventually learn how to play like the pros, not just in skill, but in all aspects, including manners and respect for other players.

Can I make a correction? The actual phrase he used was, "That's what you get for raising on my big blind!" Maverick was right, I WAS in a good mood that night, or else I would have slapped him at the table, but I walked away a lady and told him to watch his mouth. If that was a P10k buy-in, I would've understood his outrageous outburst, but come on people, it was a measely P400 game.
It has taken me sometime to acquire poker etiquette on my part, I've said some nasty things too, but apologized for it profusely after. But no excuses anymore, there are 2 kinds of winners: Those who win with shit in their mouths, and those who win with grace. Nuff said.

-German Snake

Well I dunno... I sometimes flip my cards over more for strategic purposes and not to insult anyone. Just to keep other players confused. But I never shout like an idiot when I'm winning lol.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

That is the state of poker, which is really bad if you ask me. I call those players the Hip-hop players who think they're the shit in a small limit game. It seems its not just a trend here but it's the same in the States where in 2004 WSOP, "the Crew" cleaned up with the bracelets and really upset the poker establishment. So when 2005 came around, the old guard won their share of bracelets and pretty much shutting out the crew.

Does that mean we're the Old Guard of Poker in the Philippines? Wag naman po, kuya. Hehe. It just means they don't have the same class on the felt as we do.

German Snake - You should have given him an Eduardo when he did that to you. I'm sure everyone was just waiting for their chance to wail on those hip hop players.

you just dont do that. I cant see a purpose for it, other than feeling so good about yourself that you just cant resist showing it. It gives away too much information to be helpful to you in anyway.

Maybe, you can call with bad cards and force a showdown with a marginal hands, so that you are forced to show others that you make bad decisions, and that you are a bad player, then shift your gears.

but if youve made a successful bluff, what information are you trying to convey by flipping it into the face of your opponent? That's something done among friends, in jest. There is absolutely no upside to it. At the limits we play, it is almost laughable. A bluff means nothing when nothing is really on the line.

If you bluffed all the way to the river and made a big hand fold with absolutely nothing, with hundreds of thousands at stake, it is still gonna be wrong to do that. unless you want to be seen as a prick hehe.

No Offense Maverick but maybe style din nya yun to get you off your game?? To get you pissed to make you tilt?

ops that was me ehehe

no bro, you just dont do that at a game where you are a guest and you dont know anybody. It was our regular game. If it was in a casino, i would understand.

I dont think his gameplan was to throw me off, simply because i could see him setting aside his "winnings" with every hand he won, and getting ready to cash out anytime he wins a big pot, which he actually did. he wasnt even finsihed fixing his chips.

He just didnt know any better. His friends didnt even know how a cash game worked.

bottom line for me is, you want to treat everyone on the table with respect, because poker is supposed to be a gentelmans' game.

If you have read Harrington or even Super System, you will never ever see them talk about the positive side of showing your hand on purpose after you win or lose, simply because there is none. I dont think any top pro will do that. It's too much information to give away.

If you want to project something, make it seem like you are not doing it on purpose, like calling down with marginal hands and losing small pots on purpose, so you can set it up for a big win.

Lastly, if you are a guest in someones game, the last thing you want to do is upset your hosts because you might as well put a bulls-eye on your head.


i think this one's about me. not the one kath faced off with.

the one with 10-20 blinds thing.

first off, apologies all around.

didnt mean any offense. With regard the showing of the cards at the end of that particular hand, i didnt know that was in bad taste. i usually show the hand if someone folds when i have hand.

it wasnt a move. it wasnt an offensive gesture. it was sorta "ok, you folded on the river, but you still bet into the pot earlier, so as a goodwill gesture, i showed the cards."

and i was just playing for fun. didnt want to seem all too serious and keep every piece of info as possible to myself.

(WAIT, i reread your post and i think we had a misunderstanding. I didnt show you a bluff. i showed you that i actually MADE the flush. it wasnt a busted flush draw. I MADE THE FLUSH. So, what i was really saying was "Good fold". I had two hearts as pocket cards. I wasnt bragging. It wasnt "YEAH I GOT YOU" cuz i didnt.

still, you're right. i should have made small talk. should have initiated introductions. sorry about that. its just that you guys seemed like you were busy talking bout stuff so i didnt want to be rude and interrupt. like you said, i was the newbie, the outsider.

i get really quiet at times when i play poker. even during the tourney i was. so again it wasnt an offensive gesture or anything.

with regard to counting my chips, it just a nervous habit i have, especially when im down.

but there's one thing i have to correct u on. i did stand up because i had to leave, i came with friends and it would have been impolite to insist to stay when they wanted to go. if you recall, i was already standing up even before that hand but since it started, decided to play one last hand.

i also apologize for the lack of experience of my companion. he just wanted to try something new. we usually just play home games and its rarely a ring game so there.

i decided to apologize because ive always tried to keep poker ettiquette as much as i know how. I try not to string bet, i try not to be over-eager. i dont trash talk. i try to always act in turn and so on and so forth.

so its really embarrasing for me to learn (in so public a forum) that i have offended someone. i know how irritating it can get when someone does something to offend you. so to try to make amends, i apologize, sincerely. If i had known earlier, i would have apologized earlier in person.

anyhow,despite it being all a misunderstanding (1-didnt brag about my bluff, it was a made hand which i showed as a goodwill gesture 2-counting chips is just a habit of mine 3- i didnt make a "lame" excuse to leave. it was a real one.) i feel i should apologize because even if was a misunderstanding, you still got offended which i didnt want to do.

lastly, i had planned on coming back on the next leg because honestly you dont know how relieved i was to finally find a place to play with low stakes regularly (if i had brought my car the other day, trust me i would have stayed till i had blown my entire bankroll just so i could have fun playing poker.

but, if you still feel offended so much so that i have to watch out for violence, just reply to this comment and let me know. you're a regular and im a newbie - part of that is respecting the fact that a regular player doesnt want me to be in his games.

- scrawny geeky guy (yes i am scrawny :) hehe.

a bit of a geek too. but im really more of a nerd.

hey bro

glad you read about this.

now i want you to know that i always make it a point to keep things anonymous around here, and nobody else except maybe 3 other guys whoremember that incident or even remember who you are. If you notice, I dont mention names or personal details.

If you remember, i asked you "why did you show me that?" is because, if my memory serves me right, you didnt make your flush draw. if you made your flush, i probably would have even congratulated you, and if i was wrong, then my apologies too. i was pretty sure you didnt make your flush. (maybe you misread the board?) But that's beside the point.

no apologies needed from you. This is my blog, and i just use it to vent out frustrations or whatever, and after that night i just had to put a face on the players that are just rude and play like assholes, and it just so happened that you took the brunt of it. My post was meant to be generalized, but i had to have a story to personalize the issue, and you were the victim of timing because i decided to write the article right after what happened that night hehe.

The parts about cashing out and stuff, it is your right to cash out anytime in a cash game, but if you really dont wanna offend anybody (some people do get offended), dont cash out IMMEDIATELY after winning a big pot. Just a tip, for future reference. you did say you were gonna cash out soon, so that's was fair enough.

No, honestly, if i do see you again even if you didnt get to read this, i wouldnt treat you differently from the others. I know youre probably a good guy, and that game we regularly play in is really geared for those who wanna play in a safe, non-threatening environment, with low stakes.

You have nothing to worry about, since we are also non-violent individuals hehe. You did a very classy thing by making yourself heard and that's something to respect.

You will most likely have gotten a text about the next game anyway, since new players are always welcome in that game. Of course you can come back.

Again, sorry if i used you as an example, but honestly, it was a general topic that i just had to put a face to the discussion, and that was the last incident i remembered (believe me, we've experienced some of the worst players the game has to offer, and i could have used any of those as examples), so i used that.

as for the scrawny geeky comment, you were wearing glasses and you WERE a bit scrawny (gotta go to the gym more often) hehe.


in fairness to you, i edited my post a bit. I hope you appreciate that i never really pinpionted you out to the public or specified your personal details in my post. i try to keep it anonymous.

rest assured that you have gained our respect by doing the classy thing and defending yourself and also apologizing. Lie i said, most players dont really understand that they can be offensive with their actions, and i did know that you probably never really thought that you did anything offensive.

yup, first thing i noticed was the anonymity :D you could have easily identified me via the buy-in records, but didnt.

and everybody was busy with the finals table.

re: the flush, yup it was made hehe. i decided not to go bluffing too much that time since i didnt want to "lose" again after failing to make it to the finals table in the tourney.

anyhow, thanks for making that edit to the post.

thanks again for that ring game. it was an eye-opener in terms of what level of stakes i was comfy enough to play.

PS. understand about the post. faceless entries are really boring. if you wrote that way, i wouldnt have been reading your stuff haha

see you wednesday then, hope we get to play more.

one more correction, its "final table" as in last table. not finals table, as in "finals". Blame the PPT for that hehe.

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  • The best poker I've ever played has always entailed peace. A relaxed comfort. Eyes open, ears open, radar up. Absorbing my opponent's every message. Taking them as they come. Not mixing what those messages are with what I want them to be. It's like an aerial view. A view from above the myriad luck-dependent reactions of those many people who never gain such a peace. And when you gain that view, that peace - when you'd rather have the truth, no matter how disappointing, over a false hope, no matter how desirable - then you're a player. The hand you're on slips into a stream of thousands of other hands, no one of which, because of your lofty view, seems unduly important, no false fearful emotions rise within you. When you gain the peace of lofty perspective, you're a player, and when you're a player, you're free.- from "King of a Small World" by Rick Benett
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