Most Famous Poker Tricks
The term “angle shoot”, in poker, means an action that is technically not against the rules, but that induces an opponent to make a desired decision. Fortunately, there are very simple ways to counter these moves, but you need to know them in advance or you will fall victim to the angle shooter.
Here are seven of these moves, with some advice not to fall for them.
1. The Fake Fold – Poker Tricks
Usually it happens before the flop: the angle shooter holds the cards and moves his wrists as if he’s going to fold, but he actually holds the hole cards tight. In this way he hopes that others will think he’s actually struck and act when it’s not their turn. If somebody after him were to gobble before his real action, the angle shooter would know that he could throw the ball safely, as there would be fewer potential callers. Conversely, if someone raises, then he will fold just as easily.
To prevent this from happening, watch closely. If Post 4 tries the fake fold and Post 5 acts, intervene immediately to prevent others from making the same mistake.
2. The Out of Time Relaunch – Poker Tricks
The angle shooter is in late position and wants to see a free card or get to the showdown without spending any more money. To prevent a player from pointing or raising, announce “raise” or “all in” when it’s not his turn yet. In this way he hopes that you think it’s an innocent mistake, but that you’re afraid of a bet or raise because you think that player will counter-raise.
Actions outside of one’s turn often happen in live poker and almost always in fact it is a bona fide mistake. But if an experienced player suddenly makes such a “mistake”, it’s always best to suspect that he’s trying. He doesn’t want you to bet or raise, so go your way. He’ll probably fold.
The standard rule is that if the action hasn’t changed when it’s the raiser’s turn out of time (e.g. if you fall for it and check or just call), then that player is forced to raise. However, this rule does not apply everywhere and is not treated uniformly even where it exists.
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3. Within and Not Beyond the Betting Line – Poker Tricks
The betting line, at the poker tables, is the playing field of the angle shooter. For example, he might try to forcefully slide a bunch of chips a few inches from the line. With this gesture he wants you to think he’s betting, raising or calling, depending on the situation. From the way you react, this player will decide whether to confirm his action by calling it legitimate or to protest that he hadn’t actually put the chips in the pot yet.
For example, point to the river and the angle shooter slides the chips as if it were calling. Thinking about the call, you show the cards. If the angle shooter has the worst hand, it will complain that it hasn’t completed the action and hasn’t made a call yet. Conversely, he will bring home the pot hoping that no one will notice that his stack hasn’t crossed the line.
The countermeasure here is simple, if you pay attention. Just ask the dealer to clarify whether the player’s action is a bet/race/call, before making any other action.
4. The Hidden Money – Poker Tricks
This type of angle shooter intentionally hides the most valuable chips (or money in case of cash games) behind its stack, so that they are not easily visible. When he has the nuts he will go all-in verbally, without touching the chips. The hope is that you underestimate his stack and make calls: at that point he will count his stack and you will discover that it was made up of more chips than you had visually estimated.
Unfortunately, if you fall for it there is usually no way to get out of it, unless the angle shooter often takes this kind of action and the poker room staff decides not to allow him to exploit it.
Here, prevention is better than cure. If you notice that someone is hiding chips, voluntarily or unintentionally, let the dealer know and he will take care of fixing the stacks before disputes arise. And always make sure you have a clear view of an opponent’s chips and money before you make a call. If you ask for a count, and then high value chips pop up, go carefully. Very carefully.
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5. The Chip at the bottom – Poker Tricks
Much like the previous trick, this is a little less dirty but it’s just as easy to fall for it. This angle shooter doesn’t announce the size of his bet or his raise, but slides a stack of low value chips forward, with a big chip at the bottom. So hope you don’t ask for a count and you won’t notice that weird chip before you make a call.
Don’t fall for it: always ask for the exact bet count before you decide.
6. The Ambiguous Check – Poker Tricks
This guy seems to be thinking about what to do, carelessly tapping on the table. If you check in after him, he might suddenly complain that he didn’t really check in since he was just thinking. He will then place a big bet, knowing by now that your hand is unlikely to be very strong. Conversely, if you place a bet, he will probably fold quietly.
The remedy here is twofold. First, before you act, you can ask the dealer if that move should be interpreted as a check.
Alternatively, if you check behind and the angle shooter tries to aim, you can ask the floorman to intervene. Halls usually use this rule: any hand movement that can reasonably represent a check will be interpreted in that way. Not everyone does it, on the other hand, so it is best to clarify the action before your turn.
7. Lost in Translation – Poker Tricks
A non-English speaking angle shooter has a monster hand at the river. You bet. He counts the chips to call, but before he puts them on the plate he says, “Raise. No! I mean call!” This is usually followed by an excuse for getting confused with words. He knows that having said raise he’ll be forced to raise and then reluctantly add more chips. If you fall for this charade, you will lose more chips than you should have.
Some may remember Ivan Freitaz and a similar move at the European Poker Tour Grand Final in Madrid in 2011 (later won by Freitaz himself). Since he tried several times, the tournament director warned his opponents of this tendency when he had a strong hand. But you may not be so lucky and you may not be able to interpret what actually happened.
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