Consider the following situation. You’re playing No-Limit Hold-em on a table of six players. You are holding K ❤ Q ❤ and the flop comes
8 ❤ 9 ❤ 2 ❤
Well well well! You have flopped the second nut flush. You bet, and you bet big. Everybody folds, except one player, who flat calls.
The turn - 3 ❤
You load a second barrel. You fire. He calls again.
The river - 7 ♦
You load a third barrel, knowing that your opponent very well might have the Ace of Hearts. You fire again.
Your opponent thinks for a bit and says “Raise”, immediately after which he says, “ Oh sorry, call” and puts the same number of chips as your raise.
The dealer says “Sorry, you already announced raise, now you have to put at least 2X the amount of chips put by the initial aggressor.”
Your opponent argues for a bit, then reluctantly min-raises you, and you snap shove, confident that your opponent has a weak hand, and he won’t call your all-in. You’re so confident that you’re about to scoop up the chips but then, to your horror, he snap calls, and shows the A ❤ along with some random card.
This is called angle shooting.
Angle shooting is the worst thing you can do in poker. It is worse than throwing tantrums like Phil Hellmuth and it is worse than being a fish. The act of using unethical and intentionally deceptive techniques to create an edge over one’s (usually more inexperienced) opponents is called angle shooting.
The basic objective of angle shooting is to gain information, make your opponent put in more money or make your opponent muck his/her hand. Seems pretty legal right, considering that it’s poker which is the game being played here? Wrong. When unethical means are used, it is just wrong.
Consider the following example to illustrate the third aforementioned objective of angle shooting. You’re playing Pot-Limit Omaha, and you turned the nut flush. But you rivered the worst possible card as the board paired. You’re obviously scared of a set becoming a full house or maybe even quads. You check, your opponent raises the pot, and you snap call. He simply says, “Full House”. Frustrated and angry about your sick luck, you throw your hand in the muck, muttering curses at that last card. Suddenly, you hear your opponent snigger, as he tables his hand and shows a Ten-high flush! You can’t believe what just happened, but the fact is, he didn’t break any rules. He just used cheap tactics to make you muck your hand, and once you’ve mucked it, there’s no going back. You just got angle shot.
But the most basic, more subtle kind of angle shooting, is done to gain information. Players usually do this by waving their chips over the pot after a big bet, creating an impression that they are going to call the bet, whereas they are only looking out for one tiny reaction from the aggressor, in order to assess the strength of his/her hand.
The simplest way to dodge angle shots is to stick to the basics of Poker. Always stay calm and composed, never muck your hand before you’ve seen your opponent’s hand, always ask for your opponent’s hisand to be tabled, even if you’re mildly confident about the strength of your hand, and finally, always look out for the angle shooter on the table, and be wary of him. Every table has one. Just make sure it’s not you.