The chat function. It is that tiny box in the bottom left hand corner of your screen that spouts worthless blather from bitter and low-minded opponents. Although some people leave it on for entertainment, or "tilt tells," I am about to list the reasons why any busy multi-tabler should leave it off, at all times.
The basic reasoning here is that it is an unnecessary distraction. Any casual observation should reveal that this is obvious. However, most competent poker players feel that this type of advice only applies to others and not themselves. Here is my list of reasons for leaving it on and my objections to these reasons:
Reason: The chat they provide gives me good information.
Objection: This happens only rarely. When players banter back and forth about who was holding what, they will almost always tell you whatever best serves their agenda. Cowardly little poker players hiding behind their monitors and anonymity feel they can be whatever and whoever they want to be. Don't let them. Their play alone and how they deviate from it will let you know more accurately if they are on tilt or not.
Reason: I never participate, but I still want whatever extra information they give out.
Objection: This is what I would sometimes do. The problem here is that even if you are made of steel, at some point in time someone will say something that draws you into a conversation for some reason or another. Specifically to me, I get a lot of shit for short-stacking. I go busto many times over the course of the day but my detractors don't really understand that this is normal and doesn't particularly bother me. Naturally, the dumber the comment, the more likely I am to say something, if nothing more than to make them feel stupid. That might be okay if it just ended there but I have this personality defect that compels me to always seek the last word. I suspect than many of you have this same defect. If the conversation goes on long enough, pretty soon the cards will speak and one of you will do something to look stupid and will now feel the need to justify the play or call, furthering you down the spiral of tilt.
Reason: I find it entertaining.
Objection: This goes straight back to the last point. Eventually it will bring out the brat in all of us and we will feel compelled to needle someone. Often times, someone else will jump to the defense of the needled one and now you are battling your ego against two or more foes, which further distracts you from what you are here to do: make money.
My friend Travis leaves it on for this very reason and I am urging him to turn it off because nothing good ever comes from it and just the fact that he won't do it, tilts me! Even though in the outside world, he is far more level-headed than myself, there comes a time every so often where he tells me what some idiot said to needle him and how it managed to bother him for ahwile, sometimes well into the next day. If this ever happens to you, you have been manipulated!!
Players will often try and tilt you by saying something completely assinine. The will claim up and down about how awful and lucky you are because you hit some 12 out draw where you had more than enough odds to play it out. Often times, these players are perfectly aware that you did nothing wrong, but if they can manage to make you believe that they believe this nonsense, it is liable to piss you off anyway, and if they do piss you off, they have won.
Reason: I want to chat with my friends.
Objection: These whiny, miserable little shits are NOT your friends. You are trying to take each other's money and they can turn on you faster than a $500 a night hooker as soon as you crack their aces with A5s.
So what is the value of that extra attention worth anyway? After all, it only takes a few seconds to read it, so how important could it really be anyway? Well, just earlier today Travis was shorting some NL100 and had managed to double his stack. He was dealt K8o in the SB while talking with his son (in person). He meant to fold but somehow open shoved it over the BB! 95% of the time they would just fold here but the guy happened to wake up with pocket kings! It had a happy ending though, as Travis managed to catch runner-runner straight.