Come on, read me...you know you want to...
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As I'm sure you've noticed, the wife has taken up poker lately, and has been doing fairly well.  She's proven to be a battler, and is quite fun to play against.  In the previous blog it was mentioned that her and I did well together once again, so I wanted to address playing with your spouse, or even a close friend, at the poker game. 

To begin with, I want to make it clear, that my wife and I have no signals or such during a game.  We are playing to win.  In the past, other couples have been accused of this, and I have never noticed it myself.  So if anyone is accusing us, I am not aware of it.  I just wanted to state that right up front. 

So how do we play against each other?  I mean, honestly, we have to go home afterwards and live with each other....so it wouldn't make sense to try to piss each other off!  At the same time, I would feel terrible knowing she intentionally did something that improved my finish in the game, or vice versa. 

The answer is quite simple:  We play each other straight up, but we do not try and bluff each other.  If that's collusion, then we're guilty.  That being said....the reason is completely different than you are thinking right now.  This is actually more obvious than most people think it is.....AFTER 25 YEARS OF MARRIAGE, SHE KNOWS WHEN I AM LYING. 

There, I said it.  I hate to admit it, but it is the truth.

So if I look down at 2-7 offsuit, and I prepare to take a stab at the pot with a well timed bluff....but she jumps in ahead of me and raises.....why would I take that stab knowing she'll probably figure it out and come back over the top again?  Then I'll have to fold, and I'll lose my entire table image. 

Now, does that mean she doesn't bluff?  Of course not.  She's fearless with her bluff.  What I'm saying is....she'll read MY bluff, and bluff right over top of me if necessary.

Now, that being said, I believe I have the same sort of mental agreement with other players in the game too.  There are certain players, that I play with on a regular basis, that I have a healthy respect for their game.  We don't work together....we just don't try to BS each other.  Not because we don't want each other's money, but because (my opinion here) we believe we can read each other and sniff out the bluff.  So when we raise each other....we're saying "we've got it".  They are free to respond in any way they want.

Another time this "respect" comes into play is in the cash games.  If it is me, two guys I have a healthy respect for....and 2 or 3 big ole donkeys....well why should the three solid players beat up on each other when the donkeys have a wallet full of money they're willing to share with all three of us.  We're not intentionally picking on the donkeys...but if we start battling against each other, one of the donkey may swoop in and steal MONSTER pots that they otherwise wouldn't have been entitled to.

Here's a perfect example from the other night.  One guy I play with a lot was very short stacked.  He had about 2900 total, and then as the big blind had to throw in 1600, leaving him 1300 and a critical stack.  But I had K-K, and had to raise preflop.  My thoughts were....get rid of all the limpers, and if he feels like he has to move all in then I have no problem with Kings heads up.  But this person, knowing I'm not going to BS him in that position, folded his junk hand.  Against a weaker player he might have called, thinking he had two live cards and a shot at doubling up.  Against me, I'm sure he know he was toast if he called.

Another example, when we were four handed, and paying three places.  Wife small blind, me, AdamD big blind...me under the gun, and 3rd in chips.  I look down to A-K suited.  I can't just raise with my stack size, so I just shove all in.  Button immediately folds her small stack, and smartly so.  Without Aces, she's betting someone calls me and wins, and she slides into the money.  But then my wife looks back at her cards several times.  I'm thinking she has Aces or Kings, and is hesitant about calling her husband.  But eventually she folds, and so does the big blind.

In discussions on the way home...she folded A-K offsuit.  I asked her why she folded.  She didn't say "because I didn't want to take out my husband".  She said "Because at best I was in a 50/50 race, because I knew you wouldn't bluff in that position".  That's the answer I wanted to hear, because it means she wasn't worried about taking her husband out....she was worried about losing 3/4ths of her stack on a coin toss.

Anyway, the point of today's discussion is this:  Don't cheat.  For any reason.  Don't go to a game with your buddy, and work out a "when I touch my watch I have pocket pair over 10's" system.  By all means, try to avoid heads up battles with a spouse or friend, if you can and so desire.  But sometimes the spouse moves all in with Kings, and you've got Aces.  If you fold that....you're cheating.  Take her out!  The money all goes home to the same house no matter what.

By all means:  Discuss below.

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