Saturday, January 10, 2009

Challenging the Concept of Short-Stacker Etiquette

Complaint: It is bad etiquette to "hit and run."

Objection: I disagree.  Every player has a right to leave a game where they feel that their edge is disappearing or non-existent.  A player sitting there with 20 BBs has a distinct edge over their larger stacked opposition.  A player with approximately 28-45 BBs does not share that advantage and is likely at a distinct disadvantage due the awkward stack-to-pot ratio (SPR) that this creates.  If you do not believe me, then you have never faced an opening raise with this stack holding TT-QQ and AK where folding, flat-calling or re-raising pot are all negative options.  However, just slightly over the line lies the stack of 50 BB, where you cross a threshold where people will once again begin liberally calling pot-sized 3-bets because of an illusion of implied odds.

In addition, if doubling up and leaving is poor etiquette, then at what point and who can decide when it is appropriate for you to leave?  Should you ask someone's permission and what is their criteria?  Should you leave after you bankrupt everyone at the table?  If so, then someone would certainly complain that you left after taking everyone's money!  Should you leave only once you are broke?  I won't even dignify that with an answer.

Complaint: Hitting and running is not allowable in a casino or home game.

Objection: This IS allowable in a casino.  When I play in a casino, I am not playing with my friends and therefore could give a shit how they perceive me, as long as I am being a polite, good sport.  In fact, I have even receive hostility by sitting in a small stakes limit hold'em game for the sole reason that I was reading a poker book.  I was not nor was I accused of holding up the game, I was simply being chastised by the older know-it-alls who felt superior to me because they had already "figured it out" -- apparently.  Fuck 'em!

Home games are another factor.  Presumably, people are playing in home games with friends and are doing it for the sheer enjoyment.  I imagine that anyone playing there for a perceived profit motive would be met with disdain and soon barred from playing.  

So now let's face the truth: Internet poker is NOT the same thing.  The rules and environment are like night and day.  I have never sat down at a casino and pulled up a heads-up-display on my opponents.  Likewise, I have never walked away from the table and had a device collect information on my opponents' play while I was having lunch.  I have never seen a player who I have never played against and promptly visited a web page to view their results over the last 120 days, all while they are completely unaware that I am doing this.  Have you?

In conclusion, it is time to finally take stock and realize that the game is ever changing, and each increasing change is likely to be negative for the pro.  We must simply adapt and overcome as we can have little hope of writing to a site and hoping that they will ban everything that pisses us off.  If you are concerned about unfair advantages, first toss out your pot odds calculator, un-install your Full Tilt short cuts, shut down your HUD, and stop paying your subscription to Poker Edge.


microstakes bankroll builder said...

hi lorin, i previously posted under poker tightrope, and you kindly became a follower.
had to change the name of the blog because some guy at full tilt nicked the name for his playername, coincidence??, and i dont want to be associated with a player who i dont know. so no point in following that no more, same blog is in the new name posting here though.
ANYWAY, thats not all what i was gonna say,
in contrast to my last post where i disagreed with your ideas on short stacking, although enjoyed your response, i totally agree here.
agree about the stack size discussion, and agree about hitting and running.
i started off playing live and went online after, which is a bit unusual i guess today, and i hated these old brick arses at the casinos and their stupid ideas of whats right and whats wrong at the tables. deep down they usually just bitter cos they arent winning themselves
be polite, be courtious, but f..ed if i am not gonna take their money any which way i can.
i want their money, end of story.
online even more so, any which way as long as i dont cheat.
great blog, interesting ideas

Lorin Yelle said...

Thanks! Yeah, I generally don't really care for live players because their attitudes tend to suck, particularly if they find out that you are an online hack. It's funny how the old dudes out hang out with each at the smallest game, passing their money back and forth and yet automatically assume that the new guy at the table is some kind of fish.

Funny- one time at said game, I was reading that book, I raised KT on BB, flopped 2 pair, bet the flop and turn and the old guy who limped with KQ drew to a bigger two pair, and actually checked it behind on the river. I mucked my hand on the river and got heckled with "did the book tell you to do that?" Ok, whatever, but then someone else pipes in, "don't mess with Jojo. He came in 2nd place in the motorcycle freeroll!"

Wow! 2nd place in a freeroll and he pocketed absolutely nothing! The moral of the story is to steer wide of those big bad freeroll sharks!