Professor Ligaz11 Poker

 

 

Last night the guy to my right was flashing me his cards all night long. I even told him to be more careful, but he kept right on doing it. Afterwards, one of the other players called me a chump for not exploiting this huge “gift.” To me it seemed like a question of ethics, but I guess I could have been wrong. What do you think?

 

Solomon

 

Dear Solomon,

 

This is a tough dilemma, and one that most players face at one time or another. Everyone has to make their own moral choice, of course. Some people think that anything goes in a poker game. (We call these people angle shooters and we hate them.) Others seek a standard of purity that would leave Jesus feeling foxed and boxed. I say that everyone should make their own decision, and no one should force their decision on anyone else.

 

For myself, I will never take unfair advantage – go out of my way, say, to peek at another player’s cards – but I will accept the advantage that other players hand me. In other words, if you flash me your cards, be certain that I will use the information if I can. Some would regard my position as morally perilous, but I sleep at night.

 

One thing you must never do is give any opponent this kind of edge over you. Always protect your cards from prying eyes (and eyes do pry!) Look at your ligaz11 cards once, quickly, without lifting them off the table, and then do not look at them again. This minimizes the chance of information leaking out to anyone, innocent bystander and nefarious angle-shooter alike. And don’t forget that your face gives away information too. The more frequently you look at your hole cards, the more likely you are to give away a tell to observant opponents. And picking off tells is totally kosher poker in anyone’s book.

 

Dear Professor Poker,

 

What does it mean to chop the blinds? Is it a good idea? Should I do it too?

 

Chopper One

 

Dear Chopper One,

 

When only the small blind and big blind are live in a hand before the flop, they sometimes elect to “chop” the blinds. Each takes back their blind and play continues with the next hand. There are a couple of reasons for doing this. First, it speeds up the game; seven or eight players don’t have to sit and watch two players duke it out. Second, it cuts down on the cost of play. Since most card rooms have a “no flop, no drop” rule, if players chop the blind, then the house takes no money from that hand. Therefore, “chop before the flop to stop the drop.”

 

Chopping the blinds is a courtesy, but not an obligation. If you feel that you have a significant edge heads-up against the players to your left and right, by all means forego the chop and make them play it out or fold. In all events be aware of this: Most houses have a “chop once chop always” rule, which means that if you choose to chop at all then you must chop consistently. Were it not for this rule, players could shoot the angle of chopping with bad cards but contesting the pot with good ones. Occasionally you see players trying to chop when they’re in the big blind but not in the small blind. Again, that gives the angle-shooter a certain edge, and generally it’s not allowed.