Rant: I Don't Get This Poker Etiquette Nonsense

Phil Hellmuth

I was recently fortunate enough to play the PartyPoker-sponsored "Road to Old Trafford" event held at the home of Premier League Champions Manchester United

bwin.Party are an official sponsor of Man United and let’s hope there are many more of these types of events, because it was amazing.

Not only did I get a £250 buy-in for the poker tournament I also got to chew the fat with the United midfielder Darren Fletcher.

I nearly wet my knickers when I interviewed United and England legend Bryan Robson and I got free tickets to watch the Rio Ferdinand testimonial match

To cap off a wonderful weekend I even made the money before I busted in 19th place for a £390 profit (Sam Trickett went on to win the event for £10,000).

“It sounds like you had better put the lottery on tonight,” said my cab driver on my way to the train station after my weekend had ended.

So if it was that great what exactly have I got to rant about? Poker bloody etiquette that’s what.

Bryan Micon
Why let him sweat a loser?

I Also Had Pocket Fours

There are 23 players left in the tournament and only 21 get paid. I haven’t played a hand in an eternity and my stack has dwindled from 25bb to 10-15bb.

I am seated to the right of Ben Carpenter, who is a regular online tournament player on PartyPoker and also a pretty handy live tournament player.

I know Ben quite well and we were talking and having a laugh when the cut-off opened and I look down to see pocket fours in the small blind.

I know I'm supposed to jam from this spot. The cut-off is opening a wide range and is sitting on a stack of around 20 bigs. But I stop myself and decide to fold my hand and hope for a better spot

“I’m all-in,” said Carpenter from the big blind.

The cutoff calls and flips over pocket sevens. As I wish Carpenter good luck I see he has pocket fours.

I didn’t think. I instantly told him that it was over because I also had pocket fours.

Bad Etiquette to Crush Dreams?

A few weeks later and I am at the WPT Merit Cyprus Classic when I bump into Ben’s brother Tom who starts talking to me about the hand.

We're laughing and joking when Tom tells me that although what I did was hilarious - and he would have done the same thing to his brother - it’s bad etiquette.

I was confused. I would have thought it was bad etiquette not to tell him immediately and instead let him sweat over a lost cause before telling him I had pocket fours.

Hevad Khan
If you let me sweat a hand you know I can't win, shame on you.

I approached Jesse May to seek his opinion. After all, he is the voice of poker.

“Yeah…that’s pretty bad,” said Jesse all the while chuckling in that addictive Jesse way.

Every professional poker player I have approached since has said the same thing. To tell an opponent he has no outs is bad etiquette.

So why is this bad etiquette? Apparently, I am not supposed to crush a player's dreams by announcing my hand.

This is Why I Write and Don't Play

Hang on … this doesn’t make sense to me. He can’t win the hand. Why should it matter that he gets to sweat over a hand he cannot mathematically win?

It’s the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard, and so far I'm the only person on the planet who thinks so.

If I am ever in the same situation, and you allow me to sweat before telling me afterwards I had no chance of winning, then shame on you.

I want to know what my chances are beforehand -- not after I've made a complete dick of myself by pouring sweat over a hand I cannot win.

This is why I write and don’t play. I just don’t have a clue.

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