Weird Ethical Spot in Mixed Game

LotsOfChips

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As a host on Poker Mavens, during mixed games I usually announce the game changes in chat to all players (or at least try to). Many of my players are fairly new to mixed games, and them losing their stacks due to missing the changes would probably result in a diminishing player pool.

But it is really up to the individual players to pay attention.
 

Coyote

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Online complicates things too much.
Live, it would have been much easier to say "this is razz" (a game which, btw, I wouldn't play even if offered as a way out of my grave). :D
I 'd buy the guy at least a couple of drinks, or pour my BYOB whisky bottle into his glass.:)
 

Rhodeman77

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Online complicates things too much.
Live, it would have been much easier to say "this is razz" (a game which, btw, I wouldn't play even if offered as a way out of my grave). :D
I 'd buy the guy at least a couple of drinks, or pour my BYOB whisky bottle into his glass.:)

Mind your own business if aren’t in the hand! During a live mixed game and you make a statement like that you will get some very ugly looks at best and most likely your head bit off!!! I have seen it happen in my basement. It is okay to say something when the hand starts as cards are being dealt. After that keep your mouth shut!

if you are heads up and want to remind you opponent, that is different and fine.

If you are in the hand you can ask the dealer what game it is or ask to see the placard which may clue someone else in that you think is playing the wrong game, that is fine too.

But saying what game it is no different that saying the board has a possible straight or flush on it. It may seem obvious to you and everyone else but someone could miss it.
 
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BGinGA

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saying what game it is no different that saying the board has a possible straight or flush on it. It may seem obvious to you and everyone else but someone could miss it.
Actually, it's a lot different. And one of those ways it's different is the amount of cut-throat mindset involved.

The game being played is common knowledge, and that fact should play no part in anyone trying to gain an advantage.
 

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To me, it's not clear cut. To a point I'm not even sure I'd have an opinion here.

This hand happened at a meet-up: Game had shifted from PLO8 to PLO a couple of hands prior. I find myself heads-up with the Villain on the River. Large pot. Villain pots all-in. I had a good hand, can't remember which, not the nuts but ahead of some value bets. I tanked for quite a while as this Villain would probably never be bluffing on that spot. I make the call. Villain says Nut Low plus pair of Aces, or something close to that. The game wasn't PLO8 though. Villain was confused. I had the best high hand and took the pot. Didn't give a chip back.

Why am I saying that? Because I almost folded and Villain would have taken a really large pot from me. I think it is only fair I keep the pot. Am I wrong? If I fold, we would not have find out Villain messed up the game.

As I said earlier, I'm not sure I have an opinion on Hero's action (who am I kidding). I do however, have a very strong opinion if I were in Villains shoes: I would have expected Hero to take every chip I had. I would have looked at the situation as my fault SOLELY. I would call myself dumb and would have a LOT of respect towards Hero for not treating me like a child. If he had soft played me, I would have felt like crap. That's just me as a Villain.

Maybe that different role point of view is helpful to you, Jim.

* Just to clarify: I'm not saying what you did was wrong, I'm just saying I would have felt like shit as a Villain, not worthy of the game I'm playing in. I would have much preferred Hero would have taken my stack.

* One more: if the game was a ‘let’s teach Villain other games’ kinda thing, I would have felt differently in the Villain spot and would have appreciated the ‘whatchu doing?!?!?!’.
 
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One of the best interviews among Bart Hanson's old free shows (I forget which iteration - could have been Poker Road, Deuce Plays, Seat Open, or the early free eps of Crush Live Poker) was Chris Vitch/DeathDonkey. He was at that time one of the top draw players in the world. The interview was excellent for both the strategy discussion and the live game stories.

One thing Chris said was that the mixed games in LA and LV are often intentionally built to include games that can easily be confused (i.e., a mix with both badeucy and badacey or both stud 8 and razz) and that a lot of value in the game comes from people making that mistake. I guess a lot of the people in this thread would think there's something wrong with that, but I don't know why really.

I assume that if someone is sitting at a poker game that they can afford to the stakes and are willing to suffer the consequences of their own mistakes in whatever form, whether they're steam-spewing their stack off or they forget the game. There have been times I've given someone a very modest rebate after they went broke in a game because they legitimately needed (or appeared to legitimately need) the money (cab fare, food, etc.). But I wouldn't use these outlying cases to define something I'd call an ethical imperative.

All of the above goes as much for my friends. If I know a friend can't afford the game and they lose a lot, I might give them a loan or a gift outside the game simply because I care about them, but in-game they shouldn't expect any mercy.
 

CraigT78

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This hand happened at a meet-up: Game had shifted from PLO8 to PLO a couple of hands prior. I find myself heads-up with the Villain @CraigT78 on the River. Large pot. Villain @MatB pots all-in. I had a good hand, can't remember which, not the nuts but ahead of some value bets. I tanked for quite a while as this Villain @k9dr would probably never be bluffing on that spot. I make the call. Villain @Jeff says Nut Low plus pair of Aces, or something close to that. The game wasn't PLO8 though. Villain @detroitdad was confused. I had the best high hand and took the pot. Didn't give a chip back.

I fixed your post.
 

CraigT78

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We play a mixed game limit format on my server, and have had this problem in the past. We used to chat "New Game' every time the game changed, but quickly realized it didn't matter as a few of the guys had zero idea how to play Razz to begin with. So now we just take their money.
 

ChaosRock

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We play a mixed game limit format on my server, and have had this problem in the past. We used to chat "New Game' every time the game changed, but quickly realized it didn't matter as a few of the guys @ChaosRock had zero idea how to play Razz (ANY GAME FOR THAT MATTER) to begin with. So now we just take their HIS money.

FYP
 

Rhodeman77

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Actually, it's a lot different. And one of those ways it's different is the amount of cut-throat mindset involved.

The game being played is common knowledge, and that fact should play no part in anyone trying to gain an advantage.


nobody is withholding the information about which game is being played. But nobody should offer it without it being asked.

The cards on the board are common knowledge to everyone as well, but nobody should say what hands are possible. Every person that plays should know, but they forget or have tunnel vision.

In my home game we play a mix of 3,4,5,6,5 hole card games to reduce the risk of confusion. With BigO and Dramaha being the only games to use the same number of cards.

And they are pretty easy to keep right when there is a draw or not after the flop.
 

Jimulacrum

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As I said earlier, I'm not sure I have an opinion on Hero's action (who am I kidding). I do however, have a very strong opinion if I were in Villains shoes: I would have expected Hero to take every chip I had. I would have looked at the situation as my fault SOLELY. I would call myself dumb and would have a LOT of respect towards Hero for not treating me like a child. If he had soft played me, I would have felt like crap. That's just me as a Villain.

Maybe that different role point of view is helpful to you, Jim.

* Just to clarify: I'm not saying what you did was wrong, I'm just saying I would have felt like shit as a Villain, not worthy of the game I'm playing in. I would have much preferred Hero would have taken my stack.

This is usually my point of view. In general, I consider it contrary to the interests of the game to soft-play, and I mean any game, not just poker played for money. And, y'know, I also like to win.

I'll crush a grade-schooler's soul at Go Fish without a twinge of conscience. I play Words With Friends with my elderly aunt, and my W-L record is currently 466-126. I used to play hyper-LAG and destroy my own grandmother at NLHE when it was a viable strategy. If you beat me at a game, you legitimately beat me. This is my prevailing attitude in almost all cases.

Hell, I've specifically taken advantage of people not knowing the game in a mixed game too. I don't consider that out of bounds in itself.

It's just that the combination of factors here made me ease up. Specifically:
  • Villain is a new player to the game, and I don't know him at all.
  • The game is very young and may be tough to keep together, even without this kind of thing.
  • I'd been getting hit with the deck all night and maximizing every win to the best of my ability.
  • The game order was unintentionally set up in a way that's likely to cause confusion between the two Stud rounds.
  • There's no cap on betting heads-up.
That last one is a pretty big deal. It's one thing to squeeze 10 big bets or so out of the guy by capping each round. It's a substantially bigger deal to raise back and forth repeatedly to take his entire stack of 40+ big bets.

It wasn't my intent to treat Villain like a child, and I really don't see it that way, but I understand what you mean. In the end, I still took 5 or 6 big bets out of him after the point when I was certain of his error. The lesson was cheap but certainly not free. Taking a lot more than that would have felt abusive.
 

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Daniel was recently marveling at how Doyle continues to succeed at high stakes poker at his age. He said that the biggest hole in his game at this point, is not realizing when the game changed. Because he’s getting old.
He didn’t say people tip him off or play soft when it happens, he just said it was Doyle’s biggest weakness.
 

Jimulacrum

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Daniel was recently marveling at how Doyle continues to succeed at high stakes poker at his age. He said that the biggest hole in his game at this point, is not realizing when the game changed. Because he’s getting old.
He didn’t say people tip him off or play soft when it happens, he just said it was Doyle’s biggest weakness.

I will say that against a seasoned pro, old or young, I'd have no qualms whatsoever beating him mercilessly for missing the game change.

It'd make for a pretty awesome story at future games. "Hey Jim, remember that time you stacked Doyle Brunson at limit Badeucey?"
 

BGinGA

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nobody is withholding the information about which game is being played. But nobody should offer it without it being asked.

The cards on the board are common knowledge to everyone as well, but nobody should say what hands are possible. Every person that plays should know, but they forget or have tunnel vision.
Imo, there's a big difference from somebody pointing out possible hands (violating the one-player-to-a-hand rule) and clarifying the damn game itself being played.
 

Jimulacrum

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Imo, there's a big difference from somebody pointing out possible hands (violating the one-player-to-a-hand rule) and clarifying the damn game itself being played.

It's the offering-without-asking issue that sticks for me here. If he had asked at any point what the game is, I'd have told him immediately, even if it wasn't right there on the screen already.

But to abruptly tell him what game we're playing when I realize he's playing horribly, without being asked, isn't just a casual bit of information. It strongly implies "Stop that, you're fucking up," which is the essence of an OPTAH violation. He may be entitled to know what the game is, but he's not entitled to have someone bring it up at key moments to prevent him from making mistakes, à la "Are you sure that's what you want to do?"

In my case, I'd say OPTAH matters very little because I'm free to tell him whatever I want heads-up. I could choose to forfeit whatever I stood to gain, and it was no one else's business. But add a third player, and it would be objectionable for either opponent to interrupt his mistakes to let him know it's Razz.
 

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It's the offering-without-asking issue that sticks for me here. If he had asked at any point what the game is, I'd have told him immediately, even if it wasn't right there on the screen already.

But to abruptly tell him what game we're playing when I realize he's playing horribly, without being asked, isn't just a casual bit of information. It strongly implies "Stop that, you're fucking up," which is the essence of an OPTAH violation. He may be entitled to know what the game is, but he's not entitled to have someone bring it up at key moments to prevent him from making mistakes, à la "Are you sure that's what you want to do?"

In my case, I'd say OPTAH matters very little because I'm free to tell him whatever I want heads-up. I could choose to forfeit whatever I stood to gain, and it was no one else's business. But add a third player, and it would be objectionable for either opponent to interrupt his mistakes to let him know it's Razz.

exactly this!!!

Like I said as well, if a players asks the information is to be given. Blurting it out is influencing the action for sure and helping another player.
 

BGinGA

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@Jimulacrum @Rhodeman77

So what about another player who legitimately asks what game is being played (oblivious to any current action with no ulterior motive)?. Clearly has the right to ask and be answered.

Yet that same player does NOT have the right to comment on the board cards.

There is a difference.
 

Rhodeman77

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@Jimulacrum @Rhodeman77

So what about another player who legitimately asks what game is being played (oblivious to any current action with no ulterior motive)?. Clearly has the right to ask and be answered.

Yet that same player does NOT have the right to comment on the board cards.

There is a difference.

If the third player has folded already then they should not say or ask any questions about the hand/game while it is going on, it can influence action. If they have a live hand then yes, they can ask what game is being played.

I have told this before, a friend that is a dealer was reprimanded for splitting the pot in an O8 limit game before the hand was over since it could influence action by giving information that a low is possible in case someone didn't realize it.
 

Jimulacrum

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@Jimulacrum @Rhodeman77

So what about another player who legitimately asks what game is being played (oblivious to any current action with no ulterior motive)?. Clearly has the right to ask and be answered.

Yet that same player does NOT have the right to comment on the board cards.

There is a difference.

That out-of-action player would likely get away with it, but it would be an unintentional OPTAH violation.

People also comment non-maliciously about the board and get away with it regularly. The most anyone usually gets is a quick verbal reminder to cut it out. But it is against the rules.

Doing it intentionally to affect the action is a much more serious offense.
 

BGinGA

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If the third player has folded already then they should not say or ask any questions about the hand/game while it is going on, it can influence action. If they have a live hand then yes, they can ask what game is being played.
That out-of-action player would likely get away with it, but it would be an unintentional OPTAH violation.
Just feels.... slimey. Unfriendly. Too cut-throat, with players simply looking for extra ways to screw you over instead of relying on skill to win. Not a place I'd want to play.
 

Chippy McChiperson

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I’d have told him it was razz way earlier in the hand, and I don’t consider that slow playing, just being honest. But there’s nothing wrong with what you did, and ultimately its you who has to live with the results. If you have no regrets more power to you.
 

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If I was in a casino, I'd take all his chips.

If it was a not so serious home game I'd remind him it's Razz when he started pounding the pot.

I wouldn't give a refund, ever. Don't think I'd go soft on my betting either.

But in your circumstances, I'd certainly remind him it's Razz, maybe even more than once.
- Easy game change to miss, especially online.
- New to mixed games.
- First hand of new game.
- Don't know from OP, but sounds like first time he's made this mistake.

Be nice to change the rotation in the future, helps avoid this all together.

If it wasn't the first hand and wasn't the first time he's made this mistake then I'd take him for his whole stack.

Easy for villain to make that mistake online, in general poker is about capitalizing on people's mistakes, but I think you were correct in letting him off easy in this case.
 

Jimulacrum

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Just feels.... slimey. Unfriendly. Too cut-throat, with players simply looking for extra ways to screw you over instead of relying on skill to win. Not a place I'd want to play.

It's not that I'd be looking for an extra way to screw someone. People make mistakes, and one of the core tenets of the game is that it's out of line for anyone to prevent anyone else's mistakes. That's important and ought to be upheld.

I'm not adamantly against your point of view, though. I can see overriding OPTAH via Rule #1 in cases like this; I just disagree that that's where the line should be.
 

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It is the player's responsibility to know what game they are playing.

However it's in the best interest of the game to help new players feel comfortable and want to come back. We don't need to provide strategy advice, but it's definitely good for the game to point out glaring errors that put a another player at risk.

From a moral standpoint its the right thing to do.
From a financial standpoint it keeps potentially loose money in the game long term.
 

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Devil's advocate:

1. Even if villain didn't realize the game change right away (which I agree can be difficult sometimes online) there is the fact that he is not leading on fourth street on (not to mention the initial bring-in). That should be setting off alarm bells in his head about which game he's playing. OP is of the opinion that villain isn't a complete newb and knows how to play somewhat decently. That's on villain for not paying attention to not only the game change, but the action in the specific hand he's playing in. That's A LOT of info to be missing/ignoring, and I don't know if it's really up to hero to point it out.

2. On fifth street, villain has two queens showing and hero has 7h8h5c and is just pumping the pot up. I guess hero could have a made straight already and could be chasing a flush draw too, but villain has to question at some point why on that board hero continues to raise it. Hero might not just go crazy with a straight and/or flush draw when villain has a pair on the board because even if villain only has trip queens at this point, he still has outs to a boat if he doesn't already have one. So again there's even more information that villain should be considering that he did not.

3. It's online and it's definitely different than a live game. Playing online, I'm probably surfing the net, playing other tables, talking to my gf, eating a snack, completely ignoring the chat box, etc. I honestly might not even realize that he didn't notice which game he was playing.

I'm not saying that I wouldn't have said something, but there are some other important points to consider.
 

BGinGA

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Devil's advocate:

1. Even if villain didn't realize the game change right away (which I agree can be difficult sometimes online) there is the fact that he is not leading on fourth street on (not to mention the initial bring-in). That should be setting off alarm bells in his head about which game he's playing. OP is of the opinion that villain isn't a complete newb and knows how to play somewhat decently. That's on villain for not paying attention to not only the game change, but the action in the specific hand he's playing in. That's A LOT of info to be missing/ignoring, and I don't know if it's really up to hero to point it out.

2. On fifth street, villain has two queens showing and hero has 7h8h5c and is just pumping the pot up. I guess hero could have a made straight already and could be chasing a flush draw too, but villain has to question at some point why on that board hero continues to raise it. Hero might not just go crazy with a straight and/or flush draw when villain has a pair on the board because even if villain only has trip queens at this point, he still has outs to a boat if he doesn't already have one. So again there's even more information that villain should be considering that he did not.

3. It's online and it's definitely different than a live game. Playing online, I'm probably surfing the net, playing other tables, talking to my gf, eating a snack, completely ignoring the chat box, etc. I honestly might not even realize that he didn't notice which game he was playing.

I'm not saying that I wouldn't have said something, but there are some other important points to consider.
If they were playing stud8, it's not uncommon for a very strong high hand and a nut low hand with a high hand draw to both be pounding the pot. Not necessarily the alarm bells you think it might be.

But agree, the fact that the low hand is starting the betting should raise some concern, although it's pretty easy to get a little giddy when you hit quads.
 

Jimulacrum

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Devil's advocate:

1. Even if villain didn't realize the game change right away (which I agree can be difficult sometimes online) there is the fact that he is not leading on fourth street on (not to mention the initial bring-in). That should be setting off alarm bells in his head about which game he's playing. OP is of the opinion that villain isn't a complete newb and knows how to play somewhat decently. That's on villain for not paying attention to not only the game change, but the action in the specific hand he's playing in. That's A LOT of info to be missing/ignoring, and I don't know if it's really up to hero to point it out.

2. On fifth street, villain has two queens showing and hero has 7h8h5c and is just pumping the pot up. I guess hero could have a made straight already and could be chasing a flush draw too, but villain has to question at some point why on that board hero continues to raise it. Hero might not just go crazy with a straight and/or flush draw when villain has a pair on the board because even if villain only has trip queens at this point, he still has outs to a boat if he doesn't already have one. So again there's even more information that villain should be considering that he did not.

3. It's online and it's definitely different than a live game. Playing online, I'm probably surfing the net, playing other tables, talking to my gf, eating a snack, completely ignoring the chat box, etc. I honestly might not even realize that he didn't notice which game he was playing.

I'm not saying that I wouldn't have said something, but there are some other important points to consider.

Yeah, there are a lot of details he could have caught that would make him at least think to look at the corner of the table to see what the game is. I think I said this earlier, but anytime it's heads-up and my opponent seems ready to raise his whole stack in, it's time to look closely at what's going on before I get all my money in.

Villain may well have done that if I'd taken the correct line for my hand against his instead of slowing down. I can't imagine he'd get through all 40-something bets without pausing for a moment.
 
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