Keep it on the up and up
We all play poker because we want to win - pros, beginners, and casual poker players somewhere in between. But if you're at my table, don't even think about trying to shoot an angle. If you want to win a pot at my table, you better win it fair and square.
At EPT Barcelona, a player at my table used the same move on the river a couple of times against a few different players. He would have one chip in his hand and would put that chip just barely in front of his cards without saying a word. The first time it happened, his opponent was bluffing and snap-mucked. I didn't think about it a lot at that point - things happen in poker - but later he tried the same move against me when I had the nuts.
Technically, what he did may have been within the rules. The way he would put one chip out, just barely in front of his cards... maybe that toed a fine line between calling and not calling. But, man, do I hate stuff like that, because I know he's doing it to try to gain an advantage.
I think a player should earn the pots that he wins and the chips that he saves himself from losing. It feels better to win by making a better play against a player than it does by using some cheap move. And I really hate to see people make these moves against casual players, guys who come out and play once or twice a year and then have to put up with crap like that.
I understand the temptation to do things like that. A few years ago I was playing a major tournament in California. A guy bet the river on a 10-high board. I had jack-high nothing. I was doing a little Hollywood because I was planning to fold my nothing, but he flashed his cards, and I saw he only had ace-high. I moved all-in, forcing him to fold.
After he folded I said to him, "Listen, how long have you been playing? Next time protect your hand. I didn't have anything but I saw your cards."
I don't think that's a cheap move on my part. The guy showed me his cards and after the hand I told him about it. That's a lot different than the cheap moves this guy in Barcelona was using (he used a few other moves besides his river move while I was seated at his table).
We have to put up our guard against such players. I told my table in Barcelona, "Guys, this guy here has all the moves in the book. You've got to be careful with him." He disagreed with me. "It's all poker," he said.
It's not all poker. That's about as close to cheating as you can get without outright violating the rules.
My advice for dealing with these kinds of guys is to be their nightmare. Every time I see that guy at a table, I'll tell people he makes these moves. He'll hate me for the rest of his life.
I don't care. When I see a guy try to shoot these angles more than once, he's in my bad book.
Victor Ramdin is a member of Team PokerStars Pro