August 21, 2010

Annoying Angle Shots—The Two Pair Gambit

Forgive me while I get all Grumpy, but this past week I've seen a couple examples of what is quickly becoming the most common and most odious of lowstakes angle shots, at least at the low stakes games I play—the "two pair" gambit.  Here's how the play usually goes:

The hand is at showdown, and the board is paired—say K-K-9-5-4.  The victim is reluctant to roll his hand, so the angle shooter—who holds a hand like A5 or 54—very loudly says, "Two pair!"  If the victim is fairly new to poker, he may muck a hand like A9 or 88 without showing, focused on the idea he has one pair using his hole cards, not taking into account that the board also has a pair, giving him a decent two pair hand as well.

I saw this angle shot used three times in the past two cash game sessions I've played.  It worked once, and nearly worked a second time.  In the second case, the player rolled up her hand to show she had caught an Ace to pair her AQ; she thought she had gotten unlucky, and inadvertantly won the pot.  In the first case, the angle shooter (a stereotypical young poker d-bag, complete with sunglasses, scruffy beard, and Ed Hardy sweatshirt) rolled his "winning hand" (pocket fours) after his victim mucked, and couldn't stop grinning like the Cheshire Cat when his victim caught on and tried to complain about his mucked hand.  The victim cashed out less than an orbit later, still agitated about the hand.  Our studly angle shooter won himself a nice $30 pot, and drove a bad player and his remaining $200 (and who knows how much more) from our game, and possibly from live play altogether.  I hope it was worth it.

(Image by "Geyzerrr" at DeviantArt).


  1. Yeah, that has been going on for years at Harrahs in KC. It is usually the old timers that do it though...

  2. He's not only an angle shooter, he's a bad one (showing???).

  3. I've also been seeing an epidemic of this lately.

    I used to declare my hand on the river more often, particularly when someone is across the table in a position that might have a difficult sight line. But I've almost quit that small courtesy to stay away from anything that could possibly even resemble a distant neighbor of this virus.

    Is there a weasel's workshop, forum, and self-defeating cretinism training institute somewhere they all use to get on the same angleshot page?

  4. It's weaselly and terribly unsportsmanlike. But it's also why I recommend to inexperienced friends that they always table their cards face up at showdown.

    Personally, I pretty much hate it when anyone declares their hand verbally. Just show your damn cards. Especially if I called you. I'm going to want to see them anyway.

  5. @ Local Rock: I know the feeling. In these situations, I've taken to just declaring my hole card. For example, if I have 98, and the board is K-K-9-5-4, I'll say, "I have a nine" rather than "two pair" or "kings up". I think this usually avoids confusion, and lets my opponent decide to muck if he wants.

  6. Oh, or you can just muck. That's fine, too!

  7. I'm with Grange, I usually just declare my hole cards figuring everyone has that pair on the board. once got into a discussion with a woman on how she could call me down with the hand she had, a 3-4, with a 5-4-K-5-Q board and she kept insisting, "well I had 2 pair". Somehow couldn't get through to her that well doh, everyone had that one pair.

  8. i agree it can be construed as an angle shoot, but really, are the players not being truthful? Isn't "protect your hand" a rule in cardrooms? I gotta tell you, I don't have sympathy for those duped by a player correctly calling out his holding.

  9. @ Anon: That's what distiguishes between angle shooting and cheating. Angle shooting is action that is technically within the rules, but done with the intent to gain an unfair advantage due to creating confusion. Lying about one's hand is cheating if done to get a player to fold. So, yeah, these guys aren't cheating. And yeah, if an experienced player falls for it, I don't have much sympathy. But to me, it's angle shooting when someone pulls this stunt on an inexperienced player.

  10. I've been a victim of this - several years ago. It must have been a good lesson for me as I still remember the game, the room, the dealer, the opponent and the winning hand that I folded (yaks naturally).

    I always figured that pot was part of the tuition I paid for learning the game.

    But yeah, I don't like the move and don't do it myself.

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