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Poker Strategy With Gavin Griffin: Pot-Limit Concerns -- Speaking Up At The Table

Griffin Shares His Thoughts On A Recent Cash Game Situation

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I almost exclusively play pot-limit games now and, as a result, have to deal with some different issues while playing than I used to while playing limit or no-limit. In case you’re reading this and don’t know the difference, in no-limit games, you’re allowed to bet any amount from the size of the big blind to everything you have in front of you. In pot-limit, you’re allowed to bet any amount from the size of the big blind to however much is in the pot when you make your bet. If you have less than the size of the pot in your stack, you can go all-in and bet everything in front of you.

As a result, almost all regular pot-limit players have a running total of how much is in the pot in their head or some close approximation thereof. Some don’t of course, and that’s ok because someone else at the table, ideally the dealer, will know how much is in the pot and they can ask. It’s very common for someone to bet the pot by just saying “pot” and then the actual amount is figured out if the nobody knows it.

Gavin GriffinRecently, I was playing in a pot-limit game and there was a hefty amount in the pot, something like $500. The action was checked to an experienced player who had about $100 in his stack. It was clear to him that he had considerably less than the size of the pot in his stack and he said “pot.”

Dealers have quite a bit to do in a pot-limit game and this one took a bit to calculate the pot in his head. In the meantime, I said, “He doesn’t have a pot-sized bet, it’s around $100,” because I was sitting next to him and we were on the other side of the table from his opponent. The opponent folded and after he did so, the person who bet $100 into $500 by saying “pot” turned to me and asked, “Are you supposed to say that?”

Let me start by saying that I’m not sure of the exact rule in this casino with regards to this situation. My guess is that there isn’t a rule clarifying this exact spot, but there might be. It’s an incredibly nuanced situation that really doesn’t need to be spelled out in a rulebook ahead of time.

I told him that I wasn’t sure, but that I feel like it was up to me since nobody else had done so to protect the other player in the pot from what I thought was innocent until he asked me the question. Once he asked me the question about whether I should say anything in the situation, I knew for sure that he was attempting to deceive the player as to the size of the bet he was making.

If this was no-limit and he said “all-in” or if, even in this game, he had said “all-in,” I wouldn’t have said anything unless another player in the hand asked how much it was and then someone gave an incorrect estimate or count. However, because he said “pot” and only had about 20 percent of the pot in his stack, I felt like it was incumbent upon either the dealer or another player to say that he was all-in for less than the pot.

Poker is a visual game and it’s important to protect yourself from people who are looking to take advantage of you not paying attention. However, it is also a social game and if this player had pulled this move against someone who was in a conversation or only mildly paying attention, they may have been able to get a fold with a misleading announcement of a bet.

In different games, there are different ways that people can try to mislead you. This is one way in pot-limit. In draw games, a player who is in later position can start putting cards to the side to try to influence you to draw differently than you would have. No-limit has all kinds of ways that people have been trying to shoot angles over the years. It’s important to protect yourself, but it’s also important to protect others in the game.

I made it clear to this person that I knew what they were trying to do and why they were trying to do it and since then, I’ve attempted to speak up in similar situations. I don’t always think this is done maliciously, but when the amount bet is considerably less than the size of the pot, I want to make sure that both sides are protected.

Make sure that you’re paying attention at all times, especially when you’re playing in a new casino or a new game and if you have questions about something you see when you’re playing, don’t be afraid to ask the dealer or the players around you. Each casino and each game may have differing rules that govern situations that you’re used to from your home casino. And, if you’re experienced in a game and you know someone does something that is questionable to try to influence the situation in an unfair manner, don’t be afraid to speak up to help yourself or someone else. ♠

 
 
 
 

Comments

BryceFox
29 days ago

I get your concern on this from some perspective but I gotta disagree. A blatant angle "call out" is one thing but that isnt even close to what happened here. The player did nothing wrong. The player facing action has every opportunity to ask for a count. If I'm in a hand and you say something like that in the middle of it I'm not going to be happy. Not your place to open your mouth.

 
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notCIA
28 days ago

Gotta agree with Bryce here. How do you confuse someone with your stack of chips that come to a grand total of $100 unless you threw them in a Cuisinart? If you are not in the hand, Gavin, shut up unless something clearly wrong has happened. The guy said "pot" instead of "all-in." Whoop-de-doo. None of your business.

 
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bahduggi
28 days ago

The 'pot' bettor was wrong. Would that kind of crap be permitted in a no-limit situation, and if not, what's the difference? It was up to the dealer to correct and clarify. Whether you had the right, or the duty, and if you had a duty how that would appropriately be carried out, are all open to debate imo. I understand the 'never give a sucker an even break' mentality, but I don't concur.

 
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wildthought
28 days ago

I have to disagree as well. Perhaps, its how I was raised in poker. In NYC underground games, you do not talk about live hands you have no stake in. If you are not in a hand shut the hell up. The only exception to this would be cards speak. I would speak up if a naive player was getting screwed by another player hustling a dealer in a high/low game for example.

As to the angle shot, after the hand call the player out if you feel it was one. What you did was not justified during a hand.

 
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Texaspoket
27 days ago

I agree with you as someone that’s played pot-limit for over 20 years , in this situation there is 500 in pot , guy says pot and only has 100 ! Number one the dealer should announce he is all in , at least ..In the past most dealers would announce all in for less, I understand that in no limit this is a different situation.. If you don’t handle it this way your allowing someone to what I see is almost angle shouting.. He is not betting the pot , he’s all in for less.. I’m sure most poeple that have played no limit will not agree with this but it really logical him announcing pot is just pure misleading in this situation.. It’s not no limit where it’s different he would jam his money in then ask for a count bye the player in the pot , it would his responsibility!You did right thing

 
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notCIA
26 days ago

We can all agree the player who announced "pot" did something mildly on the sleazy side, not illegal, just sleazy. So, that's not the issue. The issue is whether or not it was Gavin's place to open his mouth.
As a player, it's not Gavin's job to be "room monitor." He wasn't in the hand, he's not the dealer, no rule had been broken, and it should be pretty obvious to any reasonably conscious player what a $100 stack looks like, so just STFU during the hand.
And I do think it would have been much more effective and totally appropriate to call the player on his sleazy move AFTER the hand as "wildthought" proposed in his post. In that way Gavin would not have interfered in the hand but would have put the player and the table on notice that sleazy behavior is going to be called out. Problem solved.

 
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Texaspoket
26 days ago

I totally disagree, this is same as a a player that tables his hand!! It is a rule getting broke he’s not betting the pot!!! I would agree with you if the guy said all in.. Then ur reasoning behind it is totally flawed about a normal person can see , many poeple have eye trouble and as a older person to have this chicken shat move allowed is amazing to me Gavin is only one that spoke up!!! Is he betting the pot ?No.. You say it’s a visual game, well ok ! Obviously you saw rule be broke also , he did not bet the pot!!! He was all in for less!! Only place you are correct is in a no limit setting!This is not allowed in pot limit , unless they have changed things to allow angle shooters in past decade!

 
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Msbaa677
26 days ago

I feel that protecting the integrity of the game is the responsibility of everyone at a poker table. If you came up in an environment that protected angle shooters then you must realize how far the game has come since we all started playing, and how much better it is that the shadiness and shady mentality of 20 years ago is left in the past. A man announcing pot in this situation is the same as a man with 100 in front of him announcing 500 in a no limit hold em pot, would you allow that? And if your answer is yes then ask yourself why. If your’re not shooting angles why would you feel it’s your obligation to remain silent when others are? I feel if you’re not actively stoppping it then you are activley promoting a side of the game better left in the past. I frankly find it sad that most of the comments here are suggesting Gavin was wrong.

 
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