Poker is a thrilling game that requires a combination of skill, strategy and luck to succeed. But even the most skilled players can fall victim to a frowned-upon tactic known as angle shooting. In this blog, we will explore what angle shooting is, how it can be used to gain an unfair advantage in a poker game, and how players can protect themselves from this underhanded approach to the game.
What is angle shooting in poker?
If you are predominantly an online poker player, you may not have come across the practice of angle shooting. Angle shooting is when a player uses certain unfair actions to gain an advantage over their opponents. Using poker software tools, such as poker solvers and equity calculators, isn’t considered angle shooting, but may be against the rules, so make sure you find out before you try to use one during a live or online poker game.
Why is angle shooting considered bad?
Using angle shooting strategies goes against the spirit of the game, which is meant to be a fair contest of player skill (with the four types of luck occasionally being the only other element that decides the difference between a win and a loss). Angle shooting also makes the game less enjoyable for everyone involved, especially newer players who are learning how to play poker, which is why it is so frowned upon.
At the end of the day, any action that is considered unethical should be avoided. If you plan to try to take advantage of angle shooting, you should be warned that most organizers of poker games have rules against these types of actions. Angle shooting once or twice is, therefore, likely to get you a warning, while further attempts to abuse the rules will probably get you kicked out of the game.
Some examples of angle shooting in offline poker
Actions that are considered angle shooting in real-life poker games include a range of activities that can ruin a game for all involved.
Hiding some of your chips
Obscuring or hiding the number of chips you have (usually by placing your big denomination chips behind your lower denomination chips) to mislead your opponents about the size of your stack. This can have a big impact on an opponent’s strategy, which is why all of your chips must be visible at all times.
Pump faking, or pretending to complete an action, such as taking your turn out of order, making a bet, folding or any other action in the game, to gauge the reaction of your opponent.
Making string bets
Making string bets or not placing their entire bet down in one go, which may result in an opponent moving to place their wager before you are finished betting.
”Accidentally” placing the wrong bet
“Accidentally” placing the wrong bet and then trying to backpedal on the wager you made when you have an incredibly strong hand, which is also known as a fake misclick due to its origins in online poker.
Lying to your opponents
Another action that may or may not be considered angle shooting is flat-out lying. For example, purposefully misstating what cards you have during a showdown without revealing them to encourage your opponent to fold.
Since poker is a game that encourages bluffing, some players choose to dabble in this very gray area of the game by using their words to very directly mislead their opponents. This may not technically be against the rules, but it is definitely frowned upon by many players, casinos and poker tournament organizers.
Some examples of angle shooting in online poker
Angle shooting is less of an issue when you play poker online, but it can still happen. These are some of the ways people try to angle shoot in an online game.
Taking advantage of disconnect protection
Many online poker sites have a feature called disconnect protection, which prevents you from automatically losing a hand if your internet disconnects for some reason. The player is considered to be all-in and will be automatically entered into a showdown with the last player standing. In order to prevent frequent disconnect protection abuse, most sites feature a time limit that only allows you to take advantage of the feature every few hours.
Leaving and rejoining at the same table
When a player wants to protect their winnings, they will leave a table and then buy back in. This way, they can carry on playing with the same players without risking any of the money they have already won.
Taking advantage of the time bank
Similar to online chess, players will have access to extra time to make a decision if they need it. However, some players intentionally don’t make a decision to disrupt the flow of a game or to frustrate their opponents.
Lying using the online chat tool
Much like lying about your hand in person, some players use the chat tool in an online poker game to mislead other players.
How to deal with an angle shooter
If you find yourself in a game with a player who is attempting to take advantage of any trick in the angle shooting book, it’s important to let them know you are aware of what they are trying to do. If they continue to take unethical and unfair actions, be sure to notify the dealer or tournament organizer so that they can handle the situation. Remember, these sorts of actions may be considered violations of the rules, so you can report any player who’s trying to use them.
Enjoy all the thrills of poker in a safe and secure online environment
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