If you’re serious about poker, the chances are that you’ve been a victim of an angle shoot in poker at least once.
Angle shoot tactics are used to disrespect players and will always be present in this game, so your best bet (pun intended) is to get familiar with them and learn to play around them.
But what does the term angle shoot in poker refer to exactly, and why is it considered bad? If you haven’t heard of the term before, you’ve come to the right place!
This article will tell you all about unethical angle shoot tactics and show you how to handle them like a pro!
What is an Angle Shoot in Poker?
In layman’s terms, an angle shoot in poker is a strategy that is meant to:
- Trick your opponents and gain an unfair advantage
- Win money by fooling your opponents
- Discover your opponent’s strength in an unethical way
When a player uses angle shooting, they gain an unfair advantage that they wouldn’t gain by playing fairly.
Angle shooters resort to numerous strategies, such as pump fake or string betting, to throw their opponents off guard and win hands. Technically, angle shoot strategies in poker are not against the rules, but they go against etiquette.
Fair players hate these strategies because players who resort to them can’t be punished, as they’re usually not breaking any official rules.
Why Angle Shooting in Poker Is Bad
Angle shooting goes against poker etiquette, so it’s best to stay away from it if you don’t want to lose your reputation at a poker table. It’s generally perceived to be unethical and bad because:
- It is toxic. When there’s an angle shooter at the table, they make everyone else uncomfortable and ruin the overall mood of the game. The environment can also become extremely toxic if the players who angle shoot keep getting away with their tactics.
- It kills all the fun. Poker is undoubtedly one of the most fun games out there, but if you’re playing with an angle shooter, you’ll feel cheated on and your thrill for the game will diminish.
- It can’t be punished. Because there are no official rules against angle shooting, it means that casino managers and dealers can’t punish people who opt for these strategies..
5 Common Angle Shoots in Poker to Watch Out For
Now that you know what an angle shoot in poker is, let’s read about the five most common angle shoot examples you should watch out for.
#1. Pump Fake
Poker is a game that’s all about predicting your opponent’s hand. If you’re a veteran and a respectful player, you will use your experience and knowledge to read other people at the table and understand their body language to find out whether they’ve got strong cards or not.
On the other hand, if you aren’t worried about your reputation, you can opt for an angle shoot tactic called “pump fake”—one of the most common strategies of this kind.
It refers to a situation in which an angle shooter pretends to announce a raise by moving the chips forward, but quickly pulls the stack back if they don’t get the desired reaction from their opponent.
With “pump fake,” the angle shooter aims to gauge a reaction from their opponent and see if they have a strong or weak hand. If the opponent looks as if they’re going to call the bet, the angle shooter will simply pull back their stack of chips and pretend as if nothing happened.
#2. Hiding Big Chips
During a game of poker, all players need to have their chips laid out on the table so that everyone can clearly see them. This is especially important at high-stakes tables where large denomination chips are used.
Some angle shooters like to get around this rule by hiding their high-value chips (e.g., stacking high-value chips behind small-value ones) when they have a small number of them, so that their opponents get the wrong impression of their stack size.
This puts the angle shooters at an advantage because they can go all in while it appears that they don’t have much to play with. It’s quite an unethical move, and most dealers will remind players to keep all of their chips in sight.
To make sure you don’t fall under the trap of these kinds of angle shooters, watch out for players who are frequently moving their chips around.
#3. The Fake Misclick
Although the term “fake misclick” originates from online poker, nowadays it’s often used in live poker games, too. In online poker, the term is used to describe a situation when a player accidentally places a comically large bet, whereas in live poker, it refers to a situation where a player uses the wrong denomination of chips.
Fake misclick is used to provoke opponents into calling really large bets. For example, during the early stages of a tournament, an angle shooter might call a raise during preflop by saying “five” and throwing a $5,000 chip instead of a $500 chip. Then they wait for their opponents to call their raise, and act shocked and surprised afterward, saying how they accidentally raised the $5,000.
The angle shooter will make it seem as if they’ve made a mistake, while in reality, they have a strong pair, such as double aces or kings.
Technically, this angle shooting strategy isn’t against the rules, but it’s against poker etiquette because it involves manipulation, which is never the right way to win a hand or two.
#4. String Betting
String batting refers to an angle shooting tactic where a player bets in multiple motions. This move is against the rules because an angle shooter can use it to trick players into betting more than they initially wanted to.
For example, an angle shooter will throw a $50 chip into the betting pool, and if they see their opponents reaching for chips to call the bet, they will throw an additional $50 or $100. This way, the opponent will have to bet a larger amount of money.
String betting is a manipulative move, and if you see someone pulling it, be sure to point it out to the dealer. Usually, players will receive a notice if they are caught string betting, and if their behaviour doesn’t change, the dealer will move them away from the table.
#5. Mis-Declaring Hands
Last but not least, mis-declaring hands is a strategy used by angle shooters to trick their opponents into mucking hands first. It allows them to see the other player’s cards before they’ve revealed their own.
Angle shooters trick players into mucking their hands by verbally announcing a strong hand before revealing it. If you don’t pay attention and if you aren’t careful enough, you’ll declare your hand and it’ll be considered dead. This lets your stack of chips go to your opponent, even if they have a weaker set of cards than you.
Luckily, as online poker has been developing like never before, most casinos consider this tactic cheating. Any dealer will move angle shooters that resort to this strategy away from the table. There are also casinos that require the winning player to reveal all hole cards so that verbal declaration is avoided and the right player is awarded the pot.
To stay safe, you should always wait for your opponents to muck their hands if it’s their turn, and never rush during the showdown. If you wait too long during the showdown, however, it might be considered slow rolling, so use your own judgement.
Angle Shooting in Online Poker Games
Did you know that angle shooting also exists in online poker games? Here are some of the most common angle shoot strategies players use during online poker.
#1. Abusing “Disconnection Protection”
When a player gets disconnected from a poker website secured with “Disconnection Protection,” the remainder of their hand gets played as if they held nothing back. This means that the player will go all in, and if they have extra chips in their hand, they’ll be placed into a side pot so they’re distributed between the remaining players.
Angle shooters abuse this feature in cases when they aren’t sure whether they have the best hand and they don’t want to bet any more money. So, they’ll simply disconnect from the table until the hand is over.
Many online casino sites nowadays let players use this feature only a limited number of times or within a given timeframe, so it can’t be abused as much as it used to be before.
#2. Giving Misleading Information in the Chat Box
If you want to score big bucks in online poker, one of the best tips you can follow is to never give much credit to what is said in the chat box. That’s because most people use it to throw other players off guard, tilt them, and most importantly, try to angle shoot them.
The most common example of this would be a situation in which an angle shooter says they’ll go all in to lure you or other players out, when in fact, they’ll simply check or fold.
As you can’t report these kinds of actions as cheating, and the table dealer can’t do anything against angle shooters, your best bet would be to either mute them or simply look away from the chat box. That will ensure you don’t fall under their trap and lose your hard-earned money.
#3. Going South
Going south is another way of angle shooting in online poker and it refers to situations when players exit an online table after they score big and come back to keep playing with the minimum amount of chips. They do this in order to secure their winnings.
The angle shoot method can also be done during live play, but it’s usually not allowed if another player or the dealer notices such behaviour.
If you encounter an angle shooter that keeps doing this to you during an online game, you should either bring it up to the dealer or consider changing the poker room.
Is Angle Shooting Considered Cheating in Poker?
There’s a fine line between angle shooting and cheating in poker. Most players consider angle shooting to be unethical and unfair, but people who opt for such tactics find them acceptable, as there are no official rules against most angle shoot tactics.
The biggest difference between angle shooting in poker and cheating is that there are no punishments for the former, while there are for the latter. For example, if a player gets caught angle shooting, they might get a warning, or be moved away from the table for a while, and that’s the best case scenario. But if a player gets caught cheating, they will be banned from the table and face serious penalties.
What to Do if You Notice an Angle Shoot in Poker
At the majority of poker tables, dealers can’t do much against angle shooters since angle shoot strategies are not always against poker rules. That’s why you and other players have to ensure there’s minimal angle shooting at your table throughout the game.
The first thing you want to do if you spot someone being fishy and trying to pull a trick on you is to warn them. If they’ve made a genuine mistake and weren’t trying to angle shoot you, they’ll apologise and the game will go on as if nothing had happened.
But, if you encounter players who know that what they’re doing is wrong and they keep at it, you should:
- Warn other players at your table and point out what the angle shooter is doing (e.g., hiding away their big chips behind lower-value ones),
- Ask the dealer to pay more attention to the unethical player, or
- Call the floor manager if the situation gets out of hand and the game is becoming unpleasant.
Understanding angle shooting in poker will help you dodge players who resort to these kinds of tactics. Most importantly, it will help you notice angle shooters right away, whether online or live.
Here are some key points to walk away with from this article:
- Angle shooting in poker is a way of gaining an advantage over your opponents by misleading them.
- Angle shoot moves are against poker etiquette and they kill the fun of the game for all players.
- Common angle shoot strategies are pump fake, hiding big chips, fake “misclicks”, string betting, and mis-declaring hands.
- There’s a fine line between angle shooting and cheating, but angle shooting strategies aren’t always against poker rules.
- You should warn other players if you notice an angle shooter and avoid falling for their strategies.