Saturday, 25 December 2010

Year 1 as a Pro - Table etiquette

With regard to live play I think the best approach is pretty simple.. keep it friendly. I know there are some great players who have an ability to manipulate others and make them tilt, but its just not my style.

Online I think the same rule applies in general... don't tap the tank! I wrote about table chat a few months ago and still stick by what I said then.

The most contentious etiquette issues tend to revolve around how regs perceive each others' actions at the table. Most of the regs are very aware that it is going to be +EV to play at a table when there are bad players and also when you have positon on those bad players. Hence, decisions around seating choices and when to sit in/out can be the cause of some really bad feelings between regs.

At the end of the day we're all playing to make money and to make or avoid decisions so that other regs feel good isn't part of that. To do the best you can at the tables you need to pretty ruthless in your table and seat selection decisions so I won't shy away from making a choice that might annoy another reg. Some are very blatant in their choices and I'm probably considered by some to be one of those although probably not the worst, while others are pretty passive in their decisions and will be losing out as a result.

Its quite understandably frustrating when you have been trying to start a table for some time, finally get what looks to be a bad player sitting down with you, and another reg magically appears and takes the best possible seat. However I'm sure I've seen pretty much every reg that seems to have a bigger problem with this do the same to others at some point (perhaps only in the context as what they perceive as "revenge" on someone who has done it to them before).

I try to be friendly to most regs in chat if not always in my choices of where and when to play and I fully expect them to do the same to me as it is all within the rules. On occasion I won't push it as far as I can... I remember a few months ago finding a table with a reg playing HU with a deep fish. When I sat he politely asked if I would leave him to play HU. It was clear that the fish had been running good, stacked the reg a couple of times and the reg was keen to have the best chance to get his money back. I understood where he was coming from and as he asked nicely I was happy to leave him to it and he said he'd owe me one. Another reg took a seat a few minutes later and was asked to leave the game HU too, but he either chose to ignore it or didn't read the chat.

I guess my point is that its a part of the game that you just have to accept and make the most of. Harbouring hatred for some other reg due to their behaviour just isn't worth the energy and can create an unnecessary dynamic that affects either their or your play.

One reg (who might be reading this) told me in chat the other day "I used to like you, but you are just like the rest". I'd taken a short break from my tables to make a drink and when I sat back in it just happened that one of the tables had almost broken and he was playing a fish HU. Sitting back in my original seat he had perceived that I'd jumped into postion on the fish. For some reason he doesn't seem to want to use AIM/Skype to chat and I had no desire to launch into a debate about table etiquette in public chat at the tables, espeically with the fish there, so I just left him to his perception of what had happened. Since then he has said a few things in table chat that I've not been too happy with, like quoting my winrate with a number of unknown players at the table, but again I do not want to launch into some debate in public chat with him about the ethics of what he is now doing. So, if you are reading this sir, get AIM and add me. We've had some fun at the tables in the past and there is no reason to do/say things that are going to affect how much we win.

So, in conclusion, keep it friendly, keep it fun, and save all your focus for making good decisions.

Happy Christmas everyone!