How to Avoid Angle Shooters in Poker
By Alex Smith Apr 26, 2022
When you’re playing poker, the goal is always to try and gain an edge over your opponents. For most people, it’s also a game of respect, which means that certain things are frowned upon in the game – especially angle shooting.
While it’s technically not classified as cheating, angle shooters are not respected by players. If you try to angle shoot at the poker table, you’re likely to be met with many unhappy players.
This guide will look at what angle shooting is, some key examples, and how some players gain an unfair advantage in online poker.
What is Angle Shooting?
Angle shooting is, in short, the practice of using unethical (but not rule-breaking) methods to try and gain an unfair advantage over the other players at the table. For example, if you were marking cards or stealing chips from another player, you’d be quickly removed from the game and told to leave the casino.
However, with an angle shooter, it’s a grey area – and each casino will have different rules about what happens when angle shooting occurs.
So, while angle shooters aren’t doing anything wrong – when looking at the poker rulebook – their actions generally go against the spirit of the game. It can ruin the experience for all players at the table and cause many of them to lose money.
Below, we’ll look at four of the most common angle shots you’ll come across when playing in land-based casinos. Of course, these don’t apply to online poker games – but we’ll cover some examples later in this guide.
4 Examples of an Angle Shoot In Poker
If you’ve ever played poker in a land-based casino before, you’ll have run into angle shooting before – or, at the very least, heard the outcries of players at other tables who’ve run into it themselves. If you’re new to playing poker, make sure to familiarise yourself with the following examples to know what to look out for at the table.
The Classic Angle Shooter: Fake Folding
Fake folding is one of the most common ways of angle shooting in land-based casinos. It’s when a player makes a deliberate move that makes it look like they’re going to fold their hand (even though they have no plan to) to see your reaction.
For example, a player may move as though they’re about to muck their hand; they may pick up their cards as if they’re going to throw them into the muck before changing their mind just before their cards leave their fingers.
Aside from being able to gauge your reaction, you also have to be careful about something else. Some people who fake fold do so hoping that their opponent will throw their hand away, thinking that the fake folder has already folded. If this happens, your head will be declared dead, and you’ll be forced to fold your hand and lose the pot.
A ‘Confused’ Check
When playing in poker rooms, you’ll often find that some players’ hands don’t stop moving. Occasionally, dealers may interpret their constant hand movements as a check when it’s their turn. However, if this person is angle shooting, they may try to use this to their advantage by pretending that they didn’t mean to check once the action has moved on to the next person.
A Fake Raise
This is one of the most complicated types of angle shooting – especially as each land-based casino has different rules for forward motion, the process of moving your chips forward during gameplay. For example, if you don’t make a verbal declaration in some land-based casinos, you’ll only be allowed to make a raise if you put in at least double the amount of chips that the previous player put in.
This means that when angle shooting, a player can push forward their chips to make you think that they’re raising – trying to make you fold. Once the dealer counts the chips, they’ll realize that the amount they’ve put in isn’t enough to constitute a raise – giving the angle shooter valuable information about your reaction to their raise.
To avoid this, it’s best to wait until the poker dealer has announced the action before making any decision regarding your hand.
Another typical example of angle shooting is when an angle shooter verbally announces that they have a strong hand before turning their hand over at the end of a round. If they do this at the right time and trust the player, you may muck your hand before their hand is turned up.
Unfortunately, once you muck your hand – regardless of the circumstances – your hand is dead, and the other player will win. Some land-based casinos state that this is specifically not allowed. They may give the angle shooter a one-round penalty, but your hand will still be dead, and you’ll lose the hand, so you must be aware of this when you’re playing poker games and deal with it accordingly.
Other Types of Angle Shooting Methods
The four angle shooting techniques that we’ve looked at above are likely to be the most common types you’ll run into when playing poker at land-based casinos. However, there are other types of angle shot techniques that some players will try to use that you should be familiar with.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of these other techniques frequently used by an angle shooter so that you know what to expect when playing live poker games for yourself.
Hiding Larger Chips
Hiding larger chips is often a mistake that players make without any malice – and usually, dealers will ask you to bring your bigger chips forward so that they’re visible to players. However, when it comes to angle shooting, some players will deliberately attempt to dupe you into thinking they have fewer chips than they have.
Suppose you think your opponent only has $60 worth of chips, and you have $500. You push all-in with your $500 stack only to find out they also have $500; your decision to go all-in may have been different.
Deliberately Acting Out of Turn
Acting out of turn happens a lot accidentally at the table, especially when newer or less-experienced players are involved. Still, it’s something that angle shooters will often try to use to their advantage – so it’s worth knowing about it.
For example, a player may place a large bet on the flop or the turn, even though three players should act before him. This is to try and confuse them into checking, allowing the angle shooter to see the next card for free. Thankfully, most land-based casinos have rules against repeat offenders, so if you think this is happening to you, ask the dealer what the house rules are and ask them to be enforced.
Pushing Your Chips Forward Dishonestly
This type of angle shooting involves forward motion. Players who want to angle shoot will sometimes push count out their chips and move them forward while not pushing them across the line. This is to gauge the reaction of other players at the table.
While some land-based casinos count forward motion as binding, not all do. It’s worth making sure that you’re familiar with the poker room rules.
What About Angle Shooting In Online Poker?
Although you may think that angle shooting can only occur in land-based poker games, there are many ways that players can manipulate online poker software to their advantage. While most poker clients can prevent this in most scenarios, it’s not foolproof. Below, we’ll look at some things you need to know when playing online poker.
Abusing Disconnection Protection
Some online poker rooms will offer players protection from disconnection problems, meaning you’re protected against losing a hand if your internet connection gets disconnected. For example, if you lose connection in the middle of a hand, your hand will still go to the showdown, so you can still have a chance of winning the pot. However, players can abuse this feature even though it’s not an angle shoot in conventional senses.
For example, those wanting to make angle shots can use this to disconnect their internet connection on purpose. They can then, potentially, reach the hand’s showdown without risking any more of their money. While most major software providers have developed state-of-the-art software to prevent this, some of the smaller poker clients are still susceptible to this.
Lying In The Chat
While it should be fairly obvious not to take anything players tell you about their hands in the chat too seriously, it’s still a technique that some players use to try and trick players. Since there’s no real dealer or manager to prevent this type of behavior when playing online, talk that would be dealt with in land-based casinos and live poker rooms isn’t necessarily enforced in the online gambling world.
For example, those looking to angle shoot may lie in the chat about the hand – what they’re holding and what they’re going to do when the next card is dealt.
Unlike in live poker rooms where such talk is often binding, it’s not the case in the online gambling world – so you should ignore anything said in the chat. Some of the larger poker sites allow you to report players that continually do this. While it may not be against the site’s rules (depending on what they’re saying), you may still want to report someone who does this continually to let the site review it and deal with them accordingly.
How To Deal With Angle Shooting In Poker
There’s no denying that angle shoots can be incredibly frustrating. While most poker players are there with good intentions, some try to manipulate the system and cheat their way to success. However, depending on the situation, there may not be much the land-based casino can do; provided they’re not breaking the rules, the casino may be powerless to do anything about it.
However, you can take steps to deal with it properly. When you see angle shoots being pulled, the first thing you should do is to warn them verbally. Sometimes, it’s just a case of people making honest mistakes; for example, they may not even know they’re doing something wrong.
However, if you find that someone is continually angle shooting and they don’t listen to your warnings, you should begin by warning all of the other people at the table. For example, if a person is hiding a lot of big chips in their stack, make sure everyone at the table knows. You should also point out any problems to the dealer, enabling them to keep a close eye on the situation.
If things get really bad, you could also consider going to the casino floor manager. While they may well turn around and tell you there’s nothing they can do about it, they may have the discretion to deal with the problem on a case-by-case basis. If many players complain about it, they may be able to remove the angle shooter from the table.
Is it against the rules to show your cards in the middle of a hand?
Whether or not you’re allowed to show your cards in the middle of the hand generally depends on where you’re playing and the type of poker game. For example, in tournaments, it’s never usually allowed to turn over your hand; if you do, then the rest of the hand your cards will remain active, but you will not be able to take any action – only call or fold to bets.
However, in cash games – especially high-stake ones – things are often different. Again, this varies between casinos. Generally, you can show your hand if you’re heads-up in a pot – meaning there isn’t anyone else involved in the current hand. You can use this tactic to try and get some additional information from your player if you know that you’re not going to raise and want to know whether to call a big bet or not.
How long can someone take to act?
The time you have to act depends on a couple of factors, such as the type of poker game you’re playing. In tournaments, for example, you usually have a lot less time to act than in cash games. Technically, there’s no limit on the amount of time that you can take – but all players at the table have the option to ‘call the clock .’They feel you are taking an unreasonably long amount of time; once they’ve called the clock on you, the dealer or floor manager will give you 60 seconds to act.
If you don’t act within this time, your hand will be mucked automatically. While it’s generally bad practice to call the clock – especially when there’s a lot of money involved – it’s a fair decision if someone’s taking a ridiculous amount of time or doing so on every hand.
Can I count my chips without being committed to putting them into the pot?
Yes. When you’re facing a big decision – for example, calling a big river bet or deciding whether to match someone’s all in – it’s perfectly fine for you to count out your chips and stack them. However, it’s important that you don’t accidentally push any of these stacks forward. This could be perceived as forward motion by the player or dealer, which could become binding.
Can I get in trouble for angle shooting?
Unfortunately, angle shooting in poker is pretty hard to regulate. Most of the time, the players doing it aren’t actually doing anything wrong, which means you can’t really get in trouble. However, if the table constantly complains about one player, the casino floor may decide to take action. If you do angle shoot, you’re going to annoy many people – so it’s best to avoid it entirely and rely on skill to play instead.
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