Trash talking – is it really worth it?

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McTap03 | Poker Articles, Poker Rules

This article belongs to the Poker Rules series.

Last night I finally had the opportunity to sit down and play a $10+1 6-person SNG on Mansion. It had been the first time since Sunday I got to play, I know not that long between sessions but still long enough for me.

Before a hand could even be played, a player named SHERWHYNOT was already being very belligerent to the other players, that by the sounds of it, he/she just played against in another SNG game. I just ignored him, as I mostly do with those type of players. First hand gets played down to the river where 2 players show their cards. I was not in the hand, but I was paying attention in hopes of picking up some information on the players. The player that won had bet a flush draw down to the river with A2 and hit, while the other player had played his flopped top pair weak kicker very weak by calling bets down to the river. Great, got some info on both. After the hand was done, SHERWHYNOT started to let loose on the player who lost, by commenting on how poorly they played their hand. He continued this for a while to the point where it was getting annoying.

The problem with this is there’s really no point in trying to teach someone how they should play their hands, especially by criticizing them, or calling them names. If a player wants to get better they should be reviewing their hands after each session to see where they made mistakes and where they can improve. Personally, I want the weak players to continue to play weak hands out of position, so that I may exploit them for all their chips. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some questionable calls from good and bad positions, and I will continue to do so once in a while as I keep learning this game. When I do, whether someone calls me on it or not, I take the time after the game to review my actions and try to learn from my mistakes, with hopes of becoming a better player. What I don’t want is for some idiot to play teacher to those who don’t know better and make them  better players, as this will lead me, and others, to eventually lose some money to them.

To make things even more interesting, a while later I was in a hand with SHERWHYNOT where I had raised pre-flop from the BTN, only to have him/her move all-in from the SB. In all honesty, I was tired and really didn’t feel like playing any more, so I made the call with 87s! Not a great hand to be calling an all-in with (I was, he had some back), but in reality I was just a little under a coin flip behind and I spiked an 8 on the turn to take it down. Yeah, odds played in my favour. This tilted him, and he proceeded to criticize everything about me. I then proceeded to comment on how I knew an 8 would hit. Super Tilt now! My buddy was railing me and we were having a good laugh about it on the side. A few hands later, I again pick up 87s (different suit), this time from the SB and push the BB (SHERWHYNOT) all-in (he was very short stacked and I was the big stack). He calls with A5 and I hit a 7 on the flop to knock him/her out. Huge TILT now and for the next few minutes, we at the table had to listen to him/her rant on how bad I play. I admit my first call was donkey-ish, but my second was not as I had him chip dominated and I was first to push (I would push 99% of time from that position with those cards under those circumstances). After the game (I finished 2nd BTW) I didn’t get the chance to review my play or to see what % I was ahead/behind in those situations, but plan to eventually (yes I’m a slacker/donkey somethings when it comes to learning from my mistakes).

The next time you are at a table and you see some questionable calls/raises/moves/whatever, instead of trying to point out the mistakes, make a note of it (all sites have note taking capabilities associated to the player) and use these notes to exploit this player every time you play against him. Bottom line is sit down, shut up, observe, and take it down for all it’s worth.

Good luck at the tables.


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5 Comments to Trash talking – is it really worth it?

The Good Poker Sites
February 13, 2009

I can’t say I have never taken this angle, but it usually winds up costing me in the end. It’s just more likely that I will make a bet which I don’t want to get called, than it is I will make a bet that I want to get called.

If I planned on playing tight, it might work to get a few players steaming so they would give me action. But since I usually plan on doing a lot of bluffing, it’s most effective to go unnoticed so people just think you are minding your own business waiting for cards.

Gambling IQ
February 17, 2009

I think it most definitely works. I personally don’t do it, because when I get involved in that kind of thing I get too fired up and out of my element.

I’ve seen people trash talk in both live and online poker and have others absolutely out of their skin mad and start taking it personally and they want to beat the trash talker. The next thing you know, they are busted and leaving the table yelling and screaming. The significant part of that is that they are LEAVING the table with no money.

February 18, 2009

I sometimes alleviate my frustrations over bad beats in the chat….but it usually never makes me feel any better:-)

Mark’s last blog post..The art of poker deception

Simon Leach
July 2, 2009

Some players will use trash talking as part of their angle, trying to take people off of their game. But those people are doing it in a controlled manner, trying to make someone else lose control. And some players just lose control themselves and ultimately will play poorly out of anger or the desire to get even again. At least you aren’t trash talking face-to-face where there could be consequences, like if you are in a scenario paintball event where everyone is technically armed!

July 3, 2009

Hi Simon

Thanks for your comment. Nice analogy to paintball:-)

Mark’s last blog post..All In Poker Radio Show 12 – Jonathan Little ( – Mark (Poker Bankroll Blog) – Mike Matusow (Check RaisingThe Devil)

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