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Angle Shooting, TV, WCOOP, etc.

by Daniel Negreanu |  Published: Sep 09, '10


I was appalled to read that some people actually believe that Prahlad Friedman pulled a shot on the ESPN broadcast of the WSOP recently. It's absurd to think it was Prahlad's fault at all, or that he purposely waited until the very last second in the hopes that the floor man might make one of the worst rulings in the history of the WSOP (I'll get to that in a minute.)

Prahlad said call before the floorman said the hand is dead. The call should stand. However, once the floorman calls the hand dead, and the other player shows Prahlad a better hand, what the heck do you want Prahlad to do? Jump up and down and yell at the floor to eliminate him from the tournament? There is a big difference between honesty and stupidity. Prahlad is an honest guy, he sat back, didn't say a word, and let the floor make the decision.

Now, the argument I've heard is that if Prahlad had the best hand he would have made a big stink about it. OF COURSE he should! When you play poker it's your job to know the rules and if you feel that a ruling is incorrect and will harm you, you not only have every right, but you absolutely SHOULD try and make a case for yourself.

In the case of Prahlad, it's not his job to make the case to have himself eliminated. The other players at the table were making the case, and the floor man wasn't budging on his ruling. While Prahlad caught a break in this situation, he's also a victim. Seriously. All this negative attention sent his way and none of it was his fault in the least.

If you compare it to any other sport you would see that an athlete, or competitor, is always going to act in such a way that gives them the best chance to win. All within the rules, and completely separate of angle shooting which I'll explain the meaning of in a minute. Did you ever see John McEnroe yell at an ump, "That ball was OUT! That should be HIS point!" Have you ever seen a basketball get fouled and yell at the ref, "He didn't even touch me! I refuse to take the free throws!" Come on people, that's just foolish.

So what exactly is an angle then? An angle occurs when someone intentionally tries to bend a rule to take advantage of another player. Prahlad's late call CLEARLY wasn't designed to do that in the least.

Here are a few examples of an angle:

Playing 2-7 triple draw if the dealer flashes your card, you get to keep it if it's a valuable wheel card, but get a new fresh card if it's not. You want 2-3-4-5-7's and it's no big deal if someone sees that you have one. A solid angle would be to try and purposely have the card flash when the dealer sends it to you in the hopes that you can be on a free roll. If it's a wheel card, you keep it, if not, you essentially get a 6th card. THAT is angle shooting.

Playing limit hold'em, you grab 8 chips to throw in as a bet, you see that the other player is going to call, so despite you throwing your arm forward, you pull it back and say check when you were bluffing. In many card rooms there is a forward motion rule, in others there isn't and you can get away with this.

No limit tournament at Bellagio where they have a betting line. You grab five 100 chips and three 1000 chips. You throw a bet in of 3300, but purposely only let 500 cross the line and let the 1000 chips fall before the line. The player will obviously see it as a 3500 bet and fold, whereas he may have called a 500 bet. Now, if he does call the 3500 bet, you can state "The bet is 500. Only the 100 chips crossed the line." As gross as that is to do to someone, it's true. At Bellagio at least. Now, that's a perfect example of an angle. All three are, and all three are VERY different from what happened with Prahlad.

As for the decision. I don't mince words, so I'm just going to go with atrocious. There is no buzzer, in any environment, in any game, or sport, where the buzzer stops at 1! It goes 3, 2, 1... and then zero, or you can say dead. As SOON as the floor said 1 Prahlad insta called to ensure that he beat the buzzer. It's as clear as day and there isn't one solid argument against as far as I'm concerned.

Aside from that, we need to use more common sense in these situations. It's obvious to everyone in the room that Prahlad decided to call, and the whole purpose of the clock is to speed up play. It's not the NBA where a precious second can be the difference between a win or a loss, it's a poker hand that was taking too long and needed to be sped up.
This is NEVER EVER EVER a time for an absurd judgment call by a floorman. It's where he is supposed to ask everyone at the table, including Prahlad, "Did he say call before I said dead?" Now if Prahlad lied here, that would be an angle, but that's not what happened at all. This whole controversy could have been avoided by using common sense. The theory that the WSOP somehow works with a clock that stops at 1 is just silly to me. If you polled every player in the room before the tournament started, and even asked the floorman, "If a clock is called, would the hand be dead at 1 or 0?" You won't get 3 people out of thousands who would think it stops at 1. END RANT


WCOOP: I played in a few of them, bubbling a few times and then cashing in the $1000 no limit hold'em event. I came in 150th place after losing a bit of a frustrating hand, because it was a bit of a cooler, but I also didn't really need to be in the hand. I was on an average stack with about 67,000 when the player under the gun min raised. I called in seat 2 with Qd Jd and then that brought three other callers to create a very bit pot at that stage of the tournament.
The flop came Js 2d 9s so I bet about 14,000 planning on actually folding against certain players and maybe going all in against others. I got one call by the late position player. The turn was the 10d so now I had top pair, an open ended straight draw, and a flush draw. If I checked, I don't think I could profitably fold my hand, and if I bet it all, maybe I get him to fold a spade draw, or possibly even fold a hand like KJ or AJ. I stuck it in and he called with 22. I had plenty of outs and a chance to be a big stack, but a Jack on the river wasn't enough.
The hand was a bit frustrating for me, because I think 9 handed at that stage of the tournament I probably shouldn't have called the raise, and that ended up putting me in a weird spot. Oh well.


TV: I watch all kinds of TV, but I also have guilty pleasures that include reality TV shows with loads of drama. Recently I started watching The Bachelor Pad, and while it's pretty lame to make each episode two hours since not a ton happens, once I start watching a series I don't stop till it's over.
If you are not watching it, the gist of it is that all past bachelor and bachelorettes have a chance to win $250,000 if they are the last person standing after everyone else is voted off. You are on your own the whole way, until there are 4 men and 4 women left, who pair off into couples and get voted off as a group. Most of the people aren't there for love, they want the cheese. Having said that, romance does happen inevitably and stuff gets dramatic at times.
The season finale is soon, and I have no idea what happens in the end, but being the reality freak that I am, I'm hoping for the following:

The last couple standing can either split the money evenly, or they can compete in one last physical challenge for the whole $250,000. The guy would likely be a big favorite if he challenges her, but she'd be pissed at him if he gets greedy and then try her best to beat his ass in the challenge. Yes, I have too much time on my hands sometimes, but that's the ending I want to see. Make it a tough choice!

The other show I've been watching as long as I can remember is The Real World and it's still one of my favorites, because they do such a good job of casting a wide variety of drama queens, hotties, hot heads, and weirdos. This season had the weirdest one of all, a dude named Ryan, but also my favorite cast member in years, this dude from Wisconsin named Knight who is by all intents and purposes an honorary Canadian. He has me laughing on every episode. He's a bit mean and crass, but he obviously is a good dude that just loves to have a good time. I don't get star stuck or anything like that, but I hope he takes up poker someday because I think he'd be cool as hell to hang out with.


The Ex-Wife: I've been divorced now for close to three years and Lori and I had literally the most amicable divorce I think in the history of the world. I have nothing bad to say about her and we are totally still friends. I finally had a chance to hang out with her and her boyfriend at Red Rock and I had a really good time! I never, ever, thought it would be weird to me at all, and it really wasn't. I was just hoping he'd be a cool dude and take good care of her, and he left a good impression on me. I can tell that they are happy and I'm genuinely happy for both of them. We had drinks, had a few laughs, and I could see myself hanging out with them again for sure.

Lori's met a girl I dated once and she was totally cool about it too. I think most people really find that odd, awkward, or bizarre, but in our case, because things were left on such good terms, we were able to maintain respect for each other and I'm glad.


Fantasy Football: Tomorrow I'm shooting a commercial in the afternoon, but after that it will be back to the study grind for two fantasy drafts on Sep 10th. Yes, I know there is a game on the 9th. One is the World Championship of Fantasy Football and the other is the Poker Royalty league. The same two leagues I was in last year, and I qualified for the post-season in both leagues.

The is a snake draft which is pretty simple and boring, but the Poro is an auction draft which requires so much more skill. I don't watch ANY College Football, and I don't watch too many NFL games, but I am a stats geek, and I've been doing auction drafts in hockey for the past 20 years, seriously. So despite not really having a clue how good or bad the players really are, if I can put together a decent ranking sheet then I am pretty good at filling out a team from there.
I love fantasy sports, though, so I don't just rely on a sheet. I started doing homework about three days ago and will spend all of tomorrow getting caught up. Should be a fun day on Friday!

After that, it's more wcoops, then off to LA, then off to NY, then off to London to play the WSOPE. I seem to do well in WSOPE events and I'm hoping that trend continues, plus I'm looking forward to hanging out with some of the newer friends I made out there, Sam Trinkett, James Dempsey, Liv Boeree, JP Kelly, and the rest of the boys. Really cool group of people and there are also some brilliant poker minds amongst them.

Daniel Negreanu is the 2004 CardPlayer Magazine and World Poker Tour Player of the Year. He presents his poker strategies in one-on-one virtual training at and writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column.
Read all of Daniel Negreanu's poker blog and poker articles at Full Contact Poker.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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