By Lance Whinery
If you’ve played a lot of internet poker on Full Tilt Poker, you will occasionally run into the occasional typer that needs to comment on everything in the chat box. This is a habit I think you should try to stay away from. While you’re busy with that, players are making moves that you’re missing, and you aren’t studying your own hand, choices, and odds.
What’s worse is when people feel the need to comment on someone else’s play. First off, you may be wrong. I’ve seen plenty of players yell at others for calling on a draw after that opponent hit their card on the river. Meanwhile, they are the one who let the other player stay in by betting too little and making it worth the odds to call. Why risk showing other players what you know or don’t know?
When you are in a live game, players have the opportunity to read your body language for tells. Even when they ask you questions and you don’t respond in a live game, they may be picking something up by watching you. In a cyber game, a player is greatly limited on picking things up. Tells might be given in the time it takes one to respond, using the auto buttons, and the chat that you do. If you’re prone to chatter and you suddenly clam up, that might be a tell. If you answer someone’s question, that might give them what they want. But if you never chat, you give them nothing. Unlike a live game, they can’t pick up on your silent body language.
Of course, there are times when someone stays in with a rag hand only to keep calling and come back with some crazy runner-runner draw. Maybe they stay in only to pay you off and you can’t help but want to rib them for making you sweat. The thing to remember is that criticizing or making fun of someone’s play does you more harm than help. Besides looking like a bad sport, why do you want to bring someone’s attention to their bad play? Sure, they might have beaten you on that hand, but the fact is you will make a lot of money because people make bad calls. In the long run, they will lose more pots than win with those moves, and so that kind of play is what you want from other players—bringing their attention to it only makes them want to reexamine and play better.
And there’s never any need to get caught in an insult war or pointless conversation. Basically, don’t try to act like Phil Helmuth. While he may be known for being a bit of a poor loser, he does have millions of poker-earned money and nine more WSOP bracelets than you.
The one time I do recommend trying the chat however is when you are pretty low-stacked and you hit a monster hand like Kings or Aces. I’ve gone all in, then typed something like, “Well, good game. I guess this is it.” People might give you less credit for a great hand, think you are just forced to go all in with something average, and call when they might not have before. If you’re lucky, someone will go over the top to try to isolate you. Not a bad way to triple up!