Poker Chat Box Strategy

Published: 30/12/2010

There are several schools of thought regarding Poker chat. One views the chat box as an evil distraction that should be turned off completely or at the very least ignored. Another sees it as a tool to be used in creating an image of oneself as inexperienced, naïve, or simply a poor player. Others insist that the chat box is a useful device for learning more about opponents. There is a grain of truth in each of these, and players should give serious consideration to what role the chat box might play in their own game plans.

Before joining an online Poker table in a ring game (cash game), it is often possible to observe hands of play before being seated. The chat box will be set to its default mode, which is usually “display all” so that every message sent by the players or the dealer can be seen. Within a few hands it should become clear which players are using chat heavily, if at all. This can be a starting point for developing a Poker chat box strategy.

Reading Others’ Chat

Some players find it necessary to comment on every aspect of play. This can be a sign of poor concentration; it is impossible to devote full attention to the game and the meaning of various plays when so absorbed with typing. Also, when a player who is so prone to chatter suddenly clams up, it could be a tell. Constant messaging is never a good sign, and it commonly accompanies loose passive play.

Some players chat about anything but the game, from sports and recent news to weather and travel. They may be trying to throw other players off their game. The last thing a serious player will want to do is engage them in conversation. But it is a good bet they are not wholly paying attention to their own hands, choices, and odds. Look for loose aggressive play and bluffs from these devious distracters.

Those who never chat at all and perhaps toggle the chat box to “dealer only” mode are under the belief that they give away nothing. They reason that it is impossible for others to pick up on their silent body language. While this may be true, it also limits their ability to learn about other players. If they never comment on hands or ask questions, they can’t obtain responses to learn from. What’s more, their “hermitage” may betray a tight passive style of play, which a good player can easily exploit.

Projecting an Image

Many experienced online Poker players recommend using chat to establish a persona. It is easy to be seen as a novice by using chat like one. For example, a player can ask opponents what “NH” or “BB” means when used as chat box abbreviations. They will assume the player is new to the online version of the game.

Another useful tactic is to comment on one’s own play in such a way as to reveal a limited understanding the game. Making comments such as “Just once I’d like to get lucky on the flop” or “I should never call with a small pair” can put invalid expectations into the heads of opponents.

Similarly, commenting on opponents hands can mislead them, too. And when going all-in, a comments such as “It has been fun playing with you” or “I guess it is getting late” can sometimes lure weaker hands into helping a strong hand double or triple up.

The key is to be judicious in the use of Poker chat. Acting like a weak player can backfire if overdone, marking one as truly crafty and deceptive. It is good to be seen as social, but not overly so. Using brief comments such as “GH” for “good hand” or “TY” for “thank you” gives little away and keeps the game friendly.

Published on: 30/12/2010

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