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Dealing with live players and live tourney situations

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  • Dealing with live players and live tourney situations

    Interesting night last night. Live tourney. I ended up doing an ICM chop 6 ways.

    Based on what I have learned through this site and my coaching things went well. My goal for the tourney was to practice. The result wasn’t a goal in and of itself.

    However, there were some live tourney issues that I would like input on. And by live . . . I mean dealing with other human beings . . . a skill which I do not possess.

    I am learning poker to achieve a goal that is not really money related. I am not a social creature. I am uncomfortable around people and somewhat awkward. I also suffer from “tilt” issues . . . . In other words, a nerd with a bad temper.

    Live poker checks off a lot of boxes:

    1) A very challenging game to solve. (Don’t freak over the word solve . . . I don’t mean it literally)

    2) A way of forcing myself to learn how to deal with others in a “combat” type of environment.

    3) A way of training my mind to not be riddled with self doubt, etc.

    4) Etc.

    Which gets to the issues . . .

    I didn’t want to do the chop. I felt I had an edge. But by this point in time the desire to kill some of the other players was so overwhelming I wanted to just leave. We had . . . .

    VILLAIN #1: 60 year old arabic male. The guy practically lives in this poker room. Never stopped talking. Never stopped insulting everyone at the table. Was a regular and knew every dealer. Three other players complained to the floor about his abuse, the floor laughed and jokingly told the guy to stop being his usual self. Nothing was really done. This guy went bonkers every time I jammed into him at the final table yelling that I didn’t know how to play poker . . . it should be noted that most of us had between 10 - 20 BB at this point. That and . . . . they kept folding. It was mainly because of him that I just had to leave.

    VILLAIN #2: 65 year old white male. You name the angle and he tried to shoot it. Nothing flat out illegal, but just dirty. He didn’t bother me as I just ignored everything he said or tried to pull while in a hand. The problem was he got into fights with other players and then I had to tighten up as people were tilted and unpredictable.

    VILLAIN #3: 25 year old white male. Had the TDA rules pulled up on his phone and kept getting into arguments with the dealers and the floor. This would eat up tons of time off the clock.

    VILLAIN #4: Erm . . Me. I never speak unless someone asks me a question. Why? If I am talking I am not thinking and I can’t afford a lapse in concentration because I really am not sure what the heck I am doing. The fact that I didn’t talk much seemed to drive some of the other players nuts. I don’t know why.

    Specific issues with Villain #1. We are deep in the money. Six players left. I have an average stack of about 14 BB (yeah that was average). A break is coming up in about 5 minutes. All of the players except for me and the big stack are discussing an ICM chop. The big stack is saying no way. Villain #1 who is second in chips is basically telling the big stack that he is an idiot for not doing a chop and DAMMIT they are going to talk him into it during the break.

    So . . . I am on the B. Villain #1 is the BB. Folds to me and I have A10hh and I jam. They fold and Villain #1 is saying something about “the goofy guy that can’t play so he just jams or folds”

    Next hand . . . Folds to me and I have 99. I jam. They all fold and now Villain #1 is screaming about how stupid I am to risk getting busted as we are about to chop it up. Then he starts making fun of the way I look. It was very personal. The floor, who was standing there since we were in the money thought it was funny.

    I am thinking . . . 1) I am not so sure the big stack is ever going to agree so I am not going to blind off for 5 minutes. 2) If we are doing an ICM chop and they are all folding to raises hell . . . I want more chips = more money.

    Personally I would have rather played it out as I was enjoying the final table practice. And we were talking a $5,000.00 prize pool not a $50,000.00 prize pool. But I just wanted to get away from Villain #1 before I said something wrong and it was very clear the floor was going to side with him on almost anything.

    Thoughts on any part of this appreciated.

    P.S. Just how the hell to you guys deal with this crap!!

  • #2
    If the floor is gonna let that crap go on, time to find a new casino.

    if that is not an option, or you are stuck at the table in a tourney -- don't let him bait you into tilt. Just know that somewhere in his past, his mama didn't love him enough and that he is just a miserable friendless jerk. Tell him you'll pray for him. That usually shuts em up. Or, next time being headphones and just tune him out.


    • #3
      I think you have answered your own question. You play poker to practise a number of things, only one of which is poker. So start practising.

      In these situations, and they occur all the time, so going somewhere else to play will not solve it, I switch off. I am switched off all the time at the poker table, I am barely aware of my surroundings, I am looking at the players, their stacks, reminding myself of what type of players they are, counting my stack, calculating how many blinds I have. The other players are trying to tell the dealer how to calculate the side pot, discussing the rules etc. If anyone asks me, I just smile and say "no idea, I let the dealer sort that stuff out, I am still struggling with how to play poker".

      Poker is a mental game, and the first battle is with ourselves. A lot of world class players practise meditation, so they can be both relaxed and focussed.

      Try to get into the habit of finding this stuff amusing, I find it amusing. And while these folks are focussing on everything except the actual game, I have the time to think about the game.

      If someone criticises my play I just laugh and say "Yeah I know, I really don't have a clue about this game". My mirth is genuine, I do find the circus amusing. Poker is not a game where you get approval. I certainly don't want to teach my opponents how to play better.

      I don't even engage in this forum with the aim of helping others or getting approval, I do it because it challenges me to think through situations, and by struggling to coherently explain my reasoning to others, it forces me to explain it to myself.
      Last edited by Patrick O; 04-03-2017, 11:44 PM.


      • #4
        1) Ask them to stop the clock to discuss the chop.
        2) Tell them you'll be fine with reasonable chops but you otherwise don't care and are happy with (x+1, ICM+) money. (You're not but this improves your negotiating position)
        3) "Say another word my way and I'm with big stack. No deal."
        4) "Got something in my eye" -rub with middle finger


        • #5
          Rule 1 in regards to chopping - Never Ever Chop! The only exception is when the chop offered gives you greater than your expectation when you play it out. You don't have to chop ever. Even if the casino you are playing in has a history of chops you can decline the chop. When the players entered the MTT they agreed beforehand to the payout structure setup by the casino. You don't ever have to agree to any adjustment of the agreed on structure.

          And yes, even if there is a player I hate, I am not chopping to get away from him. Play it out and one of you will be done in 20 minutes anyway. Why does it even matter what he was saying. It's only words. He can make fun of my mother, I don't care. I'm not going to let an opponent get under my skin ever. There are annoying players you have to deal with. Instead, you give back money for the privilege of getting away from him. If you were going to win first for the maybe 2k, would it be worth to put up with his shit?

          You just have to laugh them off. If you want to improve at poker, you can't worry about players who annoy you and you most definitely have to play MTTs to the end. Stop chopping. It will hurt you in your progression to becoming a better player.


          • #6
            I should really try meditation. Thanks


            • #7
              Many people wanting to improve their poker ignore #2&3. Although I get the distinct impression you are looking to improve more than just poker in your life, you will do better by working on these areas.

              I'm going to disagree with JJ about never chopping. There are occasions where it is worth your while to chop. If you need to improve your technical skills short handed, then this is a place to not chop. However there are deals to be made that can be so good you would be passing up money to not accept. Deal making is a skill set in itself, and ties in directly to goal #2.

              Firstly though, he is absolutely correct- you are under no obligation- other than a social convention- to accept a deal. It is fighting this meek acceptance of those social conventions that go to the heart of #2. You have to be assertive, but calm. You will get people "blaming" you. You will get grumbles and complaints. But you must be prepared to stand your ground. That doesn't mean being confrontational- that's not necessary. In my normal game there is always a number of people that want to pay 2 bubbles. I never object to paying a single bubble- even though it's normally -EV for me and a bit stupid in my opinion. However it's only £50 and not something that bothers me. However if you start paying 2, you never end! I simply say "I don't want to pay 2 bubbles" as soon as the discussion begins, and that puts a stop to that. Simple, but implacable.

              At the top end, I don't mind if people want to discuss a deal, but I want to ensure I get more than my fair share- otherwise I simply say no again. I don't care who gets what, beyond me. There have been many times where other players have restructured their deal to get me what I said I wanted to keep a deal alive. However if you feel you have an advantage, don't be afraid to refuse all deals, or ask for a stupid payout!

              I was a big chip leader and knew I was the best player at the table. However I also knew that with blinds climbing, a couple of big hands could push me into the push/fold pack. I "kindly" offered that if the remaining 4 players wanted to do a deal, that was fine as long as they awarded me 1st place. They could do a deal with the prize pool for places 2-5.

              They accepted!

              Only last week I was one of 2 players remaining in the last man standing pot for a £110 tournament seat. My opponent had about 7X my stack, and I asked him if he wanted to split the LMS- £60 for him, £50 for me. He accepted!

              There is a skill to making good deals, and you leave money on the table by not making them.

              Regarding the "social skills" of the other players- well unfortunately you just have to get used to it and find a way to let it wash over you (Yes- surprisingly washing does seem to be a social skill some players haven't acquired yet). I simply bury myself in the mechanics of the games- either the cards or looking for habits & tells I can use in future. Music & headphones are popular, but don't be the guy that has to ask what the action is every time it gets round to you.

              re. Villain #1 specifically. You will find these loud obnoxious pricks everywhere unfortunately. I simply don't engage, and let them tilt themselves against me. You will find you get more "protection" from the staff once your own face is better known in the card room. It's not right, but often the way it goes. You need to find a strategy to cope with it emotionally whilst continuing to play your cards correctly.

              I hope this helps


              • #8
                A follow-up question . . . The Angle Shooter. He did the following twice. Got away with it twice because he and I had been moved to another table when he pulled it again. My question is . . . on a scale of 1- 10 with 10 being he should be roasted in hell . . . how bad is this? (I really don't know).

                At some point he is facing a bet. Let's say the bet is 1000. He would throw in two 5000 chips and then put on a huge act that he had made a mistake and just meant to call with two 500 chips. He would apologize. Look embarrassed. Ask the dealer for a ruling. . . . He was actually a very good actor. I bought it myself the first time . . .

                So of course he gets called and happily rolls over the nuts. Each time the other player went bonkers.

                How bad is this?


                • #9
                  I'm not sure the advice to not chop is good advice. When it comes right down to it, Poker is a game of skill And LUCK. Plus at the end of tournaments, in most recreational formats, the dynamics are not conducive to skill play.

                  ICM calculations factor in the probabilities for improvement and long term EV based on chip stack size. As a rule, if you can work a better deal than ICM offers, you should lean toward taking it. This is by definition of what ICM represents.

                  Up til about 5 years ago, I was a bad reg tourney player. My results oddly were better then than they are now but along the way, I can't tell you how many better players would not chop and ended going out earlier than taking the deal for a superior payday.

                  in general, I talk chop at 4 players in most tourneys and seek to score an advantage relative to ICM.


                  • #10
                    One chip is a call. Two chips is a bet. He is allowed to put on any act he wants, although holding up play repeatedly can incur penalties. In my local card room the dealer would just immediately and calmly say "The bet is 10,000", no argument, ignore the raiser, and then point to the other player for his action. The dealer would just completely ignore the raiser's antics. If the other player was taken in, that is his problem.


                    • #11
                      In the past two weeks I won several tournaments where first prize was about $6,500 and second was about $3,300 and third $1,800. That is first was twice second and second is twice third. I also won a little satellite where first was a $1,500 ticket, second was a $550 ticket and third was $500 cash. There was no deal, apart from the bubble, discussed in any of these. Figuring out deals with these structures can do your head in.

                      It is traditional to do something for the button, I just say "yeah, whatever", I can't be bothered thinking about it, I know I am giving up maybe $100 from one of the top cashes, which could be as much as 5%. There was no bubble deal in the satellite, understandably.

                      After each tournament I would be asked repeatedly "Did you chop", so I am assuming it is unusual not to do a deal. However, in these tournaments, once past the bubble there was no discussion of a deal. Deals just don't enter my mind, so I never initiate discussion, and for some reason nobody else brought up the subject. Sometimes at final tables my play is hyper aggressive, and the other players probably are waiting for me to blow myself away before discussing a deal.

                      ICM does not take account of loss of momentum and focus while everyone takes a break to discuss deals. I don't want to give myself an easy option and I don't want the other players to have easy options. Six handed is Russian roulette with just one empty chamber, I like to have the first crack at finding the empty chamber.
                      Last edited by Patrick O; 04-04-2017, 09:25 PM.


                      • #12
                        You're comment reminded me of something else to consider. You're hourly EV. If you are winning net $300 an hour playing cash and you're talking a chop for less than that amount, your time is move valuable taking the chop and heading to the cash game.


                        • #13
                          True. But if there are games where I can average $300 an hour I wouldn't be playing these little rinky dinky tournaments.

                          The other thing is that I am not playing a final table for long, either I blow myself away, which I suppose they are waiting for, or I win.
                          Last edited by Patrick O; 04-05-2017, 12:33 AM.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Andy Watson View Post

                            I'm going to disagree with JJ about never chopping. There are occasions where it is worth your while to chop. If you need to improve your technical skills short handed, then this is a place to not chop. However there are deals to be made that can be so good you would be passing up money to not accept.
                            Did you read my whole post? I did say the exception to not chopping is when you are getting more in a chop than your expectation. How can you disagree with me, then use as argument against me the very statement I made. ???
                            Last edited by jjpregler; 04-04-2017, 10:41 PM.


                            • Andy Watson
                              Andy Watson commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Ouch- a little sensitive there. I was simply trying to say that I felt starting your post Never Ever Chop was overstating the case, and that there is a valuable skill set on making- or not making- deals. This is especially true when the OP is trying to put himself in "combat" scenarios with others. If I could have expressed it better, I apologise, but it seems like a reasonable argument to me.

                          • #15
                            With regards to chopping, I tend to never bring up a chop nor agree to one, except at the local casino where I regularly play. Basically in these tournaments chopping is pretty much the accepted practice (80-90% of tournaments end up in some kind of chop) and I'm friendly with a lot of the players. It really isn't worth becoming a target to win a few extra bucks in a tournament when most of my profit comes from 1/3 and 2/5 NLH cash anyway.


                            • #16
                              FWIW - Jonathan teaches to never chop. His reasoning is that is not only teaches how to manage the final table for when you move up in stakes, because higher stakes players almost never even discuss chopping, but it also gives you experience of playing under the pressure for bigger money.


                              • #17
                                Ouch- a little sensitive there. I was simply trying to say that I felt starting your post Never Ever Chop was overstating the case, and that there is a valuable skill set on making- or not making- deals. This is especially true when the OP is trying to put himself in "combat" scenarios with others. If I could have expressed it better, I apologise, but it seems like a reasonable argument to me.
                                Just sarcastically pointing out that you said I was wrong, then repeated exactly what I said.


                                • #18
                                  Originally posted by jjpregler View Post

                                  Just sarcastically pointing out that you said I was wrong, then repeated exactly what I said.
                                  Well that's fine, except your initial statement of "Don't ever chop" and the rest of your post explaining when you should chop is contradictory. It was that initial statement I disagreed with. Perhaps I should have specified that more clearly, but I really didn't think it was that big a deal.


                                  • #19
                                    Think about this and put it in your ICM calculator. We are down to five handed first gets $6,000 and fifth gets, I don't know, say $400. The others start raising the subject of deals, are we better shoving half our hands or joining in the deal negotiations.

                                    When they arrive at the final table players are in a state of relief and disbelieve. They have spent six hours playing good, solid poker, and they just don't adjust, and when they do they over adjust.

                                    This happened about a week ago. I am a notoriously spazzy player, and they know, but can't adjust, they must have started by folding AJ to my shoves because I wasn't getting any resistance. It wasn't long before I had twice the next biggest stack.

                                    I shove with 34o, it is folded to the big blind who has 34s and an additional 1.5bb, he tanked for ages before calling, figure that out.

                                    Because I have to show my 34o, this tilts the whole table. I am shoving every second hand, what did they think my range was, they didn't need to see this hand.

                                    The next hand I have A8s, shove, it is folded to the SB who has the biggest stack after me, he says "Someone has to put a stop to this nonsense", and calls with A2o, my A8s makes a flush. Now they have got no idea how to respond, Russian roulette is not how they think poker should be played.

                                    They just can't get their head around the fact they are short stacked. They have 600K stack and blinds are 30K/60K, but their stack looks huge.

                                    They don't want to talk deals until I have self destructed. I don't want to talk deals because I want to keep up the pressure and not give them a chance to catch a breath.


                                    • #20
                                      Patrick makes an excellent point I have often privately considered, but never seen written by anyone.

                                      On final tables, lots of players feel like they have loads of chips, even though they are short stacked. As said- 600k can feel like a big stack when you started with 20k, but in reality it can be 10BB. Many players can't bring themselves to open wide enough with these stacks, and they all go into their shells waiting for a monster/other guys to bust.