Last night a friend of ours had a graduation party and hosted a Texas Hold’em tournament. We had 16 players at 2 tables with 12 minute blinds. 4 Places were payed with the payout being $80, $50, $20, and $10. I had a very good night and even managed to land a Royal Flush! Ironically the Royal Flush only netted me about 200 in chips while later an off-suit 7-2 on the big blind netted me about 1500 and eliminated 3 players when a 2 2 K flopped. The cards kept falling my way and by the time we combined everyone into a final table with only 8 left I had single handedly eliminated all but 1 person. No one wanted to merge to my table, which had now been termed, “The Table of Death”. But then the question of ‘poker ‘etiquette’ came up.
With 4 places paying out we where down to 5 people. I had a commanding chip lead with well over 3000 in chips while everyone else had less than 500. Blinds where at 200 and I was the Big Blind and dealt a 4 6 diamonds. The player to my left went all in with 150 and everyone else called (I checked). The flop showed rag cards. I don’t even remember what they were other than one of them was a diamond. It was something like a rainbow 2 7 9. I needed a runner runner to have anything and would normally just have checked or folded out.
However, I had a thought. As everyone checked it occurred to me that I could take command of the board and force commitment by the players. 2 of the remaining players had 200 or less in chips, while the person to my right had about 300 left (and the person on my left was already all in). Losing the pot would not really affect me and even allowing for one of them to quad up still wouldn’t really affect my position. Forcing the situation would get us past the bubble, and as strong as my position was I’ve learned never to take anything for granted.
The 2 people called the bet and went all in and the final person folded. From my left on around the hands were AQo, A10s, and KQo. As soon as I turned my 46s complaints of my betting immediately began. The turn showed a 6c and the river was a rag. I won the pot with a pair 6’s. I tried to explain myself and that seemed to only get myself into deeper water.
The argument was : since I was betting when I had absolutely nothing and was not betting to win showed that I was interfering with someone else’s play. My play did effect the outcome because had I not been in the hand the person to my left would have placed in the money. As it stood he took 5th because he had the shortest stack when the betting started. The problem was not my being in the hand, but <b>why</b> I was in the hand (to stir things up and force all ins). Had I not been in the hand he would have won the hand and tripled up. The other players all stated that they would have simply checked because they didn’t hit so there wouldn’t have been any eliminations. It was pointed out that because of my chip stack there was no reason to get involved in that hand and ruin someone else’s chances because had the game been closer I most likely would not throw money away in order to commit other players while I had no intent of winning (which is simply false, I’ve done it before to get people committed and eliminated in order to get myself closer to the bubble).
Frankly, with the blinds taking up a significant portion of someone’s chips any calling of the blind should have been an all in regardless. Had the people just called all during their action then my reaction would probably have been to fold. My goal was simply to get them to commit and had they already committed then I’d probably had not called the hand – then again, with that big of a chip lead with everyone involved I probably would have just by the pot odds alone and on the off chance of winding things up that much faster.
So. Anyone with any comments on this? Should I be beaten for my improper poker etiquette? Set aside the fact that I won the hand (and ultimately took 1st). I’m really interested in understanding if I acted in some improper way with my betting. Is it wrong to try and manipulate the board or if I have no intention of winning the hand should I leave the game to the others as they make their scramble to place? Is it acceptable for a chip leader to bet in such a way as to control/effect who gets what place or should I have kept my chips out of it?
**Edit : It just occurred to me, had I done nothing, I <b>still</b> would have won the hand. I was in it because I was big blind. If no one else would have bet and the hand played out with no further bets then the player on my left (whom I apparently screwed out of position) would <b>still</b> have been eliminated outside the bubble. His only chance was for me to be chased out of the pot by someone else betting. Since my pair came up on the turn and the <b>most</b> that someone could have bet was 200 then I rather doubt I would have folded.
I was simply feeling a small bit of guilt that I may have ruined someone else’s game play, but the more I think on this the more I become convinced that regardless of my actions the hand would have played out with the same results.