Poker Friends, Poker Foes, Collusion, Lending and Borrowing
No matter where you play Poker, there are going to be people who know each other. Pre-Pandemic, I usually knew between four and six people at the table by first name. I mostly knew how they played, and I knew if I should stay out of there way or not. Players knowing other players at the table, is the way it is in smaller rooms. If you do not know anybody when you sit down, consider yourself lucky.
To a casual outsider watching the game, all looked normal at these tables. There were bets, raises, and re-raises. Some pots were multi-way and some were heads up from the flop. To all the players sitting in the game all was normal, at least to the extent that any poker game can be considered normal. Everyone sitting at the table wants to win.
Perhaps there are a few less really big raises and all-ins, or some players decide to check it down when heads-up (generally frowned upon), but that is pretty normal action in smaller poker rooms. Somebody has to lose, and no one is that good to run over anyone. Everyone plays a little more cautiously when they know each other because they either do not want to lose or lose as slowly as possible.
New(er) Players usually sit down at their assigned seat feeling pensive. They assume everybody knows everybody, and they are all going to be gunning for Him/Her. This is partially true in my experience. Everybody smells fresh blood when a new player sits down. Everybody wants a shot at taking chips. If they can hold their own, over confident players will lose chips.
If the new player is a poor player, it is a bloodbath. Players who are the luckiest in the next hour or so take the new Players money. When the skirmish is over, the rest of table gets to figure how to get some of that money.
New(er) Players do not understand this because they do not have the playing experience. Every Player at the table tries to take chips off other Players. Someone has to pay the rake, and the scramble to make sure it is not us goes on as long as we play.
A last thought to be added is do not get overly friendly with the Player's at the table. They are the Foe. Chat with them, trade a joke or two with them. Poker is a somewhat social game at the levels most of us play so enjoy yourself and chat or not.
Do not discuss your hand play, what you held or what you would do with a hand. Follow the common rule, "One player to a hand" and keep your Hand ideas to yourself. It does not take a lot of hand chat for a Foe to learn how and what you will play in what position. They will take your chips if you reveal too much about how you play. Let them figure it out without your help.
If you are playing in a legal card room with more than a few tables, you usually do not need to worry about Collusion. Collusion is when two or more players purposely play against you by cheating with each other against you. Card rooms need repeat Customers, and generally take action against colluding players before it becomes serious. I have seen players who tried to collude, banned from the card room for a year with a plea to be allowed to return, to a lifetime ban, depending on the seriousness of the Collusion. It rarely happens in a legal Card Room.
Looking at Collusion from a Table perspective, there are usually two to three players colluding. Whatever money is won between them is split up away from the Card Room. One obvious sign of collusion, is over raising the flop (for example), and then folding the turn to a brick and a bet by another player. This type of action happens all the time and in itself is innocent. When it happens with the same two or three players a little too often, it MAY be collusion.
There is safety in numbers, and Poker Rooms usually have cameras and people watching the play. If you feel two or more players are colluding against you, you have three reasonable options. Ask for a table change if a table change is possible. Do not play any hands against possible colluding players unless you have a really strong hand. Call it quits for the session. As you gain experience, you will develop a feel for the rhythm of a game, and notice when it does not feel right.
With that being said, there are questionable actions at times that may look like Collusion and aren't. Generally these actions are brought on by your play or another players play, and there are Players at the table who become aggressive.
They bet bigger and raise pre-flop, then they slow down on the flop and beyond. It's not fun folding, but it is generally not collusion, though to a new(er) player it may feel like it. They have determined one or more Players are willing to fold against aggressive play (betting bigger and raising), and are taking advantage of the situation. Aggressive poker is generally rewarded.
The last idea I want to touch on is lending out your MONEY. I had a valuable, cheap lesson in lending money. I had a Poker Room Friend I had known for a year or so. One day out of the blue, he asked me if he could borrow $20.00. It was only $20.00 and he was a friend so I said sure and gave him $20.00. He never mentioned it again. I am still waiting for that $20.00. I knew he did not need the money, and I knew, but he liked me well enough to teach me a lesson. It was a cheap lesson by Gambling standards. When you need your money back, they won't have it.
On the other side of lending is borrowing. "Don't", is the simple answer. If you can not win with the money you brought with you, you won't win with borrowed money. While not very common, there comes a time when someone has borrowed too much and someone wants their money back. If you do not have it, they will collect in other ways, making you an example. Don't fool yourself. It does happen outside the movies. You do not want to be that person. Do something else if you get broke.
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Holdem, Get Some Money without Losing Yours Part 6
Poker Friends, Poker Foes, Collusion, Lending and Borrowing
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