Poker etiquette and karma

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JGiles | Poker Articles, Poker Rules

I found myself in a very interesting situation the other night that really made me think so I thought I’d share it here and hope to get some response form other players. I also figure it might be a good thing for beginners to think about, so hopefully some of them will read this post as well.

During the past week I have been on a bit of a heater, finishing first in 6 straight $5 6 player tournaments and finishing second a few times. For the most part my week has gone the opposite of last week’s post, if you recall last week I was lamenting about players who were calling me weak and sucking out on me. I haven’t changed my play, it’s just that my hands have been holding up for some reason, and although that’s not the point of this post I thought I would mention it as it is a good reminder that if you’re playing well and losing keep at it. Now on to the point of today’s post, poker etiquette … and karma.

The other night I found myself on the bubble (these 6 player tourneys I play pay 2 spots) blinds were 200/400 and I had about 1,700 chips, the big stack (who really was not a good player) had 6,500 chips and the person to my right had about 800 chips, and he was sitting out – had been since about the third hand after he won a pot of around 400 chips. The chip leader got there by calling a pre flop all in earlier that was most of her chips with 45 and hit a straight and later called a significant all in with K2 and won that hand as well. She basically never folded and that was alright, if I could just get heads up against her I figured I’d have a decent chance of wining. As for the guy sitting out, some people get angry when players sit out but I could never understand that, first of all, I have started a tournament only to have something really important come up and had to leave the game so I never assume why the person is sitting out and besides, if he is giving us his chips uncontested why would I care?

I was on the button for our very first hand three-handed and folded a decent hand thinking she can steal his big blind and I will steal his small blinds and in 2 orbits he’s done and we’re heads up. I think that’s the way you play this situation regardless of the hand you are dealt and regardless of the chip count of either of the remaining players, and believe me I have been on both sides of this situation. What does the big stack do? She folds! Raise and he folds automatically and steals 400 from him, but no, she gives him another 200 so he now has 1000.

I send her a note saying let’s get rid if this guy. She responds by saying she’s the “big chips” so you 2 are playing for second (seriously that is the expression she used) I’ve heard of big stack, chip leader and other expression but never big chips, more proof that she has no concept. On the next hand I am in the big blind and she raises me all in so I fold. I’m still sending her messages trying to convince her that getting rid of him is the right thing to do, but she wants nothing to do with it and truly does not understand. Had she proven she had any concept of the game I might have played her straight up but she has no concept and I don’t want this to turn into me raising with a solid hand and getting called by her garbage and going out on the bubble with a player sitting out.

This went on for a while, at one point I folded on the button and she called (called the guy sitting out) then get this …. checked it down to the river (any bet and he auto folds) sitting out guy wins the pot. Alright now, this is getting more than a little ridiculous. I keep trying to explain the situation to her and finally when he is down to 200 chips and on the button she says, “Let’s get rid of him, since he’s sitting out”. No kidding! We took him out, I was seriously depleted and shoved the next hand and won with garbage, tried to grind it out to take her down but she hit a legit hand against my semi-legit hand and I was done.

Like I said, I have been on both sides of this situation and I play it straight and get rid of the person sitting out, as I think do most players who know what they are doing. Look, I understand that poker is a competitive game where you don’t do your opponents any favors, but now I have tagged her with a note so the next time we see each other at a table I might not play nice, karma is a funny thing.

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8 Comments to Poker etiquette and karma

Delik James
September 16, 2008

I’ve been in situations so similar to this one that it’s like you were recalling the memories for me personally, very frustrating!

Generally, it goes with out saying that in cases like these – checking down the pot or isolating the super short stack to get to heads-up play is a no-brainer, however proper etiquette would suggest that it really should go ‘without saying’.

Unfortunatly, you can’t count on other players to lend the assist…and shouldn’t really ask them directly to do it… donkeys will be donkeys ofcoarse – even if you point out the obvious.

September 16, 2008

I totally agree with doing whatever to get the ‘sitters’ out before reaching the money. Too many people do this online and it is quite frustrating to those who are trying to make the money. I guess it all comes back to knowing your situation in relation to the others at the table. ie. Know your chip stack, other players chips and the blinds to figure out your best course of action to reach the money. At least you were smart about it and still made the money.

September 16, 2008

I am amazed that there are still players out there that don’t have a clue. Glad to hear you tagged the player in question.

September 16, 2008

Thanks for the comments guys, all good points.

There`s one other element here that I didn`t mention that makes this scenario even more interesting (to me anyway). When we run into someone who is sitting out the one thing we never know is why they are sitting out and if or when they are coming back. So, what would have happened if the player sitting out came back with 1,000 chips or so? With blinds at 200/400 he would have had to shove all in pretty much the first hand and I would not have been far behind. So, now the big stack is facing 2 desperate players trying to make the money, and we all know anything can happen in those situations. A double up or 2 and it’s a whole new game, what seemed like a certain first place finish for “big chips” all of a sudden is not such a sure thing.

September 17, 2008

Don’t forget that many players do not know about the Harrington “M” koncept. Therefore in most cases you will be able to steal their blinds even if you have a comparable stack size.

September 17, 2008

Good point! M Zone theory and inflection points might make for a good future blog post. I’ve seen (I’m sure we all have) players make some really awful decisions, like a dominant chip leader in the big blind for 600 folding to an all in of 700 or calling large bets to the river but folding to the final all in of 100 when the pot has 3,000 in it. As Delik said, donkeys will be donkeys.

Mashall Page
July 29, 2009

doesn’t sound to me like you know what you are talking about. She had the “big chips” as you call them. She can do what she wants. Sounds like you are jealous because you got your ass kicked by a girl.

July 29, 2009

LOL….nice comment Mashall

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