I was playing a $5 online tourney the other day, it was the last four tables from around 1000 players, and the game was, predictably, intensifying.

The top prize was about $1500, which is a large bankroll injection for anyone regularly playing poker at the $5 buyin level, and I understand emotions run high.

This hand happened, and I offer the video for your perusal:


I’m not about to start excessively critiquing anyone’s play, because I’m not really qualified. At the beginning of large field $5 MTTs, I reckon I’m better than the majority of my opponents, but by the time we hit endgame, I have to admit I’m probably in the bottom end of the skillz zone, so I’m not claiming I know better than the guy with QQ.
Personally, I hated the turn play and the river play from QQGuy, but I’ve had such a bad couple of months, that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing at the moment. He claimed “that was a sick line with QQ” and that “I was too clueless to understand that”; could be a fair comment… whatever.

I also think he got pretty unlucky with the guy binking the ten on the river, so harsh on him there, even if I think he lost more than he needed to.
After his check-call on the turn, I would have expected a check-call on the river too, but if he had the guy soul-read for an underpair to his ladies then he can’t be expected to be scared of his opponent suddenly getting fellatio from the river, can he? Again… whatever.

The point of this is how he exploded into super-mega-ultimo tilt rage immediately after.
Everybody at the table was suddenly an idiot/noob/fish/c*nt, or my new favourite insult, “a clueless pigeon”. He was calling everybody out on everything for five full hands before I just had to weigh in and tell him to shut-the-fuck-up.crying baby

As you can imagine, he didn’t like that very much, and the rage turned exclusively onto me.
I thrive on that shit. Winding men up is one of my favourite hobbies; it’s fun and it’s easy, but I pick my targets carefully.
I pick the ones who’ve already started having a go at someone else, someone who either doesn’t want to, or cannot, respond.

I get really annoyed with people who attack others in these low buyin games, even if they are the worst players in the world, because that’s what we want at the table, right?
I’m happy to watch videos and read strategy articles from the best players in the world, but I don’t want to play against them with my own money, because I’m doomed if I do!

I want shit players at my table, and I want to tell them how well they played, and how nice their hand was because I don’t want them to get any better… ideally, ever.

QQGuy’s reaction annoyed me because if there was a total noob at that table, they may have thought that this behaviour is part of poker. A new player may be led to believe that if you play your hand the way you want, because you paid your money to do so, then it’s okay for someone else to attack you and make you feel small when you do.

A lot of players at micro-stakes are not “thinking” or “serious” players, they are just having a nice punt and probably drinking beer and smoking weed at the same time. Good luck to them, welcome to the game, nice hand, well played, come again.

Why do some players who take the game seriously want to scare these guys off? I just don’t get it.

anger-management-buddha-styleQQGuy tilted himself out of the tourney a few hands later by 4bet jamming 60bb with KQos against a SuperNova guy with very respectable stats. After he busted, he typed into the chat box:

“Go on Baffer, celebrate” like I would be happy that he got knocked out and the guy who was clearly a better player than me now had four times as many chips as I did.

I responded with: “No mate. I’m not a c***. It’s a $5 tourney. GG.”

Of course, what I meant was “I wish you’d luckboxed that hand so there were some easier chips available at this table because I need all the help I can get and people who tilt like you are beautifully wrapped presents. Go and read a book, you dribble-faced window-licker.”

I wonder what would happen to poker chatboxes if everybody had to be a known entity, if you couldn’t just be an anonymous person, hiding behind a screen name.
The biggest players in the world don’t get this luxury online, their screen names are most often public knowledge, so they’re not calling anyone out, because they’d be doing it under their own personality.

QQGuy knew who I was, probably because although I don’t use my actual name as a screen name, I post my blogs under the name, use the same screenname on all sites (or close variations), and tie my blog up with my actual name on Twitter/FB.
If I’m going to call a guy a c**t, he’s going to know who’s doing it; I’m not going to hide behind anything.

I saw the same sort of thing in the Global Poker League Twitch stream chatbox this week whilst watching the games; and it was making me really angry.
I want to see these people call Alex Dreyfus a “failure”, “loser” and “sportifying c**t” face to face… except they wouldn’t, would they?

I know that Chatbox Chumps aren’t exclusive to poker, it’s just that I personally don’t encounter them anywhere else, and I worry most about them being damaging to poker because that directly affects me.
If we’re telling new players that they are “stupid c**ts”, then we’re putting them off playing because they might believe it and stop depositing at the weekends.

I’m not sure how helpful I’m being by being a re-active Chatbox Chump myself, and giving these nasty buggers a piece of my mind. I think there’s an element of it being slightly therapeutic for me, enjoying it a bit too much, and justifying it to myself with the old adage “he started it”.
I have to admit I’m probably a bit hypocritical in this issue, because I like a fight, and I’m always happy to take on someone else’s fight when I think they’re being hard done by and don’t/can’t defend themselves.online-anonymity

I defend free-speech, and support someone’s right to air their opinion 100%, but I don’t think it counts when the person is anonymous and protected by that anonymity.
If you have an opinion, you should have to stand by it, and not be able to hide behind it.

If poker game sites, or streaming sites, or any site with anything to do with poker are really in support of keeping the poker industry growing from the bottom up, I think they need to be more involved with shutting these a-holes down, or making their identity public.

There should be a “zzzz” button available, and with one click everyone should be able to show that they have had enough of a Chatbox Chump. If one player gets enough “zzzz” clicks, he’s automatically excluded from chat for a period of time; no need for the expense of a human moderator, just a fixed amount of people thinking he’s boring is enough to shut him up.
Or, to even begin to participate in chat, your account has to be linked to a FB page with your actual name, meaning people can play or watch anonymously, but if they want to comment, they have to do it as their real selves, not as “AnonChump278568”.

There’s no easy solution, I see that, and maybe I’m too naïve in imagining that this online vitriol can be stemmed in online poker games.
What I do know is that it does not happen as often or as viciously in live games, because if they don’t shut up fairly quickly, they get kicked out and/or slapped about in the car-park.

Poker is a competitive game, people are passionate and emotions run high, I don’t expect, or even hope, that will ever change. What I do want to see change is the over-excited pettiness that comes from anonymity, because it’s scaring off noobs, and more importantly, putting me on tilt in a way that I’m not good at controlling.

If you’re a chatbox chump, I’m coming for you and you’ll know who I am, because I’m not ashamed of what I say and do, even if it’s not always right.
Put time into your game development, it’ll be good for you and the resulting peace and quiet will be good for poker; in short… shut the fuck up.