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Dangerous Words; or, How Loose Lips Can Lose Chips

Dangerous Words; or, How Loose Lips Can Lose Chips 0001

A couple of weeks ago, Robert Woolley addressed an important topic related to table talk in a column for Learn.PokerNews, focusing primarily on “The One Thing You Can’t Talk About at the Poker Table” — namely, the hand in progress.

As Robert explained, discussion of ongoing action has the potential to influence that action, which is a major reason for the prohibition against talking about a hand as it is playing out.

This week Robert focuses on a related topic, one again having to do with how unmindful table talk can lead to dire consequences. The advice in this case concerns those important “action” words and phrases that can be binding and thus should only be uttered at the table with caution. As he explains...

You have to be really careful about any of the words used to declare your action such as ”raise,” “call,” “bet,” “check,” “fold,” or ”all in.” When it’s your turn and you want or need to indicate your desired action verbally rather than silently, of course it’s perfectly appropriate to use those words. But if they escape your lips when you’re not intending to take your turn, the result can be disastrous.

Robert then gives a few anecdotes relating instances in which players have mistakenly uttered one of those magic words or phrases without intending the action they signify. For example...

In a tournament at what was then the Las Vegas Hilton poker room, I witnessed the following occur. Before the flop, the player who was going to be second to act jumped the gun and started to push his whole stack in when it wasn’t yet his turn. He apparently realized his error and aborted the move before the chips crossed the betting line. The player whose turn it actually was noticed this, and asked him “You’re all in?” The dealer then announced “All in.”

The dealer had clearly heard those last two words from the player, but not what went before, nor the voice inflection of the question. The player protested that she wasn’t moving all in. The floor was called and ruled that the “all in” was binding, even if the player had not meant for it to be. She lost a big pot and was understandably unhappy about it.

This sort of thing happens a lot....

Robert goes on to describe more examples that highlight common circumstances during which this kind of mistake can occur, such as here when an innocent question turned into an unintended declaration.

Read about those examples — including one memorable hand from a past episode of the World Poker Tour — at Learn.PokerNews in “You Can Say These Words at the Table — But Be Careful When You Do.”

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Martin Harris

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