Poker Mental Game & Planning

Angle Shooting in Live and Online Poker

906 Views Comments on 5/3/18

We should always be mindful of the ways our opponents might want to bend the rules to their advantage.

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Poker is an extremely competitive discipline and where there's a stiff competition and a high enough reward, there's always an incentive to go beyond what's legal in order to gain the advantage. While very few players will resort to cheating many more might be tempted to bend the rules slightly when the opportunity presents itself.

According to the old Latin saying "occasio facit furem" - "opportunity makes a thief" and given the age of this maxim, it's pretty safe to assume that a loose relationship with the rules is simply a part of human nature. That's why we should always be mindful of the ways our opponents might want to bend the rules to their advantage and we're going to explore this subject below.

Ambiguous Actions

This is pretty much what most live angle shots boil down to. Without the rigid bounds of software policing the extent of player creativity, said creativity can run rampant, often resulting in displays of behavior that go beyond what's accepted by other players. In a live poker environment - especially a more casual one like a home game without a dedicated dealer - players will often play with the structure of betting and use ambiguous behavior in order to create situations that might benefit them. This can happen at all levels of play from a kitchen table to an EPT event as illustrated in the example below:

In this scenario, Ivan decided to make a deliberate mistake. He used calling chips while announcing a raise knowing that he would be required to make one, no matter what the chips or his remarks about supposed language barrier would indicate. He used the rules to appear weak and while it wasn't strictly prohibited the reaction of commentators, other players and even the floorman (who decided to rain on Ivan's parade by exposing his little ruse) were a clear indicator that this kind of behavior isn't really welcomed in the poker world. The example of Ivan Freitez is so great because it showcases how creative live angle shots can get. Players can conceal information that they shouldn't and combine actions that they aren't supposed to.

In light of that, we should always be vigilant because in a live game almost anything is possible.

Being a Jerk

Knowing that live angle shooting methods are so numerous that we couldn't possibly list them all, we should focus on another universal behavior, that encapsulates many of them. Live poker is very much a social experience and the extent to which players are allowed to interact with each other is vast. Some players are very talkative, others prefer to play poker in near silence and there's also a lot to be said about colorful table banter being attractive for the fans of the game. Poker world has its own rogue's gallery of charming troublemakers who aren't above tapping the proverbial glass and engaging in various types of controversial behavior at the tables. Players like William Kassouf, David "Viffer" Peat, Phil Hellmuth or Tony G (to name a few) are both loved and hated by many.

The popularity of the latter sort of reaction to the aforementioned player's antics seems to indicate that they often cross the line of what's acceptable and what's not acceptable at a poker table. Phil Hellmuth going on a rant about being able to "dodge bullets" might be slightly annoying but it isn't exactly unforgivable. On the other hand, shouting and berating other players might be. While all poker players should arm themselves with a certain amount of thick skin and sense of humor, we shouldn't be forced to suffer the antics of jerks. There's a fine line between "tapping the glass" and "rocking the boat". Once the situation gets visibly uncomfortable for most players it should be treated like any other angle shooting attempt.

Also, if you're one of those people who enjoys slow-rolling other players, this should happen to you every single time:

Seating Scripts and Similar Software

Online players can't really rely on the ambiguity of the setting in order to make their angle shooting attempts. Angle shooting in online games usually requires a greater degree of premeditation and that's why players engaging in any kind of fishy (no pun intended) behavior are usually considered cheaters and not angle shooters. That being said, there are examples of behaviors that are frowned upon but not strictly forbidden in the online poker world. Most of them revolve around the use of some sort of an auxiliary poker software.

There are programs out there that aren't very well known or widely used by the majority of the player population but they also aren't banned by poker rooms - at least not all of them. While just about every poker room out there bans heavy hitters like bots (though, to be completely honest, not every poker room is equally diligent in their attempts to catch their users) seating scripts and various other table selection apps aren't always strictly prohibited even though they provide a very small percentage of players with a relatively large advantage over player's who aren't using this kind of software.

This becomes less and less of an issue in today's games but every time you consider changing a poker room, make sure what the landscape looks like as far as the usage of auxiliary poker software is concerned.


Lastly, let's talk about angle shooting opportunity that was introduced to the poker world fairly recently with the increased popularity of streaming. Poker broadcasters now run the risk of exposing their hole cards to other players in the game, who aren't above engaging in so-called "ghosting".

Ghosting is essentially a practice of tuning into a stream of a player that we're playing against in an online game. Twitch streamers usually broadcast their session with a 3 to 5-minute delay in order to counteract this practice, but regardless of that the attempt to learn someone's hole cards by watching their stream is frowned upon by the majority of the players and fans alike.

Some players will even use their timebank in late stages of the tournament to try to wait out a streamers delay forcing them to quit streaming for a brief moment and ruining the experience for everyone involved.



Matt VIP

Matt is predominantly a mental game and planning expert, with a terrific knowledge of science, meditation, practical methods of improvement and of course, a good level of poker skill! Look out for his strategy articles and follow him for his nobel-prize winning forum po ... Read More


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