From play money games to the nosebleeds, online poker is filled with assholes who will use chat to demean other players and celebrate their own superiority, real or imagined. (It’s almost always imagined). You can’t win an argument with such people, because it’s not like they are actually interested in debating to reach logical conclusions. Most of them are willing to sacrifice real money EV in order to feel like big shots at the virtual tables by blabbing instead of focusing on their games, so they’re certainly not going to lose a war of words over something as trivial as reality. And, even if you could convince them that you bought your chips and have the right to use them however you want, it’s not worth your time. So here are three better ways of dealing with them.
Turn them off.
This is really the way to go. Other methods are really just for fits of boredom. 99% of the time, you should just leave chat off. Online poker legend, Dusty Schmidt recommends turning off chat for a number of very good reasons. Simply reading it or having it in your field of vision can be a distraction. Negative chat might get to you and throw you off your game a bit, or you might find yourself wasting time and energy responding.
I just like the idea of bitter trolls unknowingly shouting into a void. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a button players could push, which would cause some asshole like Phil Helmuth to unknowingly disappear into solitude? He would be standing there, yelling about how unlucky he is, trying to humiliate his foe and to put on a big show . But the TV cameras would be gone and all the other players would have beamed away to other tables, or perhaps to do some shopping or watch some videos. Phil would be left with only holograms of opponents and TV crews, which he would engage with like the fool he is. Online, we can achieve pretty much the same result just by turning off chat and directing our attention elsewhere. Ideally, we’d add another table or focus more on the ones we are playing. In reality, most of us might find ourselves spending some time on Amazon or Youtube.
“Ooops. Did I do that?”
With stricter rules about account sharing when playing online poker, you might want to be cautious here. But a dealer told me about how he was besting a guy who was, even by the standards of online assholes, going ape shit over the results. His response was, “I’m real sorry mister, but this is my dad’s account. I’m only ten years old, but I’m trying my best.” It was a needle for the ages, especially as the opponent believed him enough to report the exchange. The dealer had to answer a phone call and assure them that his son was not playing the account. But the asshole had to accept, at least the possibility that he, self-proclaimed poker expert that he was, had just been cleaned out by a ten year old.
“You’re the expert.”
This one is similar. I once accidentally sat down in a heads up sit n go at a stake significantly higher than I normally play. Before long, my opponent was berating my play. Now, while a good number of players at this level were certainly much better than me, I didn’t feel like this guy was one of them. But maybe he was. Who knows, really? It was just one game.
In any case, I decided to tell the truth after I won a fairly big pot and he started in on me. I said something like, “yeah, I meant to sit in a smaller game and clicked on this one by accident. Maybe you guys play different up here.” He didn’t really have much to respond with, but it seemed to massively tilt him. Not only was he going to lose to a player he thought was inferior. It was going to happen because that player was too incompetent to even sit at the table he intended to. At that point, I started asking him for specific advice. “Do you think I go all in too much?” “How can I improve my raise sizing?” He stopped chatting for a couple minutes, which was all I needed to win the tournament. Then he began with the normal stuff, about what a lucky idiot I was. I stuck the needle deeper by apologizing again. “I’m really sorry man. Again, didn’t even mean to sit in this one. My mistake. GL.”
Needless to say, you don’t actually need to be sitting in the wrong game to use this tact to drive an asshole over a cliff. Another version is to pretend you sat in the wrong game variation. “Oh shit, this is Omaha HIGH?” The general point of both of these last two is to reinforce the source of their anger. They’re even more unlucky than they thought. They’re losing to an even more inferior player than they thought. Fate must really be stacked against them today. It must really be the case that, no matter what happens, they can’t win. Not only will this all annoy them more than any insult you come up with, it’s great stuff to have going through your opponent’s mind.