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I've started using this technique that has been profitable: when I'm semi-bluffing and my draws brick on the river, I am faced with having to bluff a big river bet. I sometimes start sliding all my chips towards the betting line without any intention of actually crossing the line. This causes my opponent to do one of three things:

  1. Folds his cards before I can finish betting (unlikely but I've seen people give up huge pots this way)
  2. Also starts moving his chips all in (more likely at low stakes, indicates he has the nuts or is a loose gambler)
  3. Does nothing (most likely)

I'm just curious if this kind of tactic is legitimate in poker or considered poor form?

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It's more than poor etiquette, it's cheating. As a floorman, I might just issue a warning to a new player, but if the offense continued or if the player was experienced, I would certainly penalize him.

It is a fundamental principle of the game that you must commit yourself to an action in turn before being able to see your opponent's reaction. Any attempt to circumvent this is an angle shot, regardless of betting lines or any other casino rules that would otherwise allow it.

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  • I'm very much in agreement here. I've also had some chats were I mentioned this to several friends who are floors and they even would just ask the player to leave the room for doing this. – Grinch91 Apr 28 at 9:01
  • It's kinda the opposite of a string bet. – Acccumulation May 1 at 1:59
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Yes, extremely poor etiquette. It could also massively backfire on you as it can easily be conceived as forward motion and thus binding. In fact, never mind conceived, you admitted it as forward motion. As a player I'd wait for you to do it, and call the floor on you to make it binding when I have the nuts and take your stack. I might even do it as a bluff if I picked up that you did it after missed draws too. As a former dealer I'd also call the floor to make the forward motion binding.

I guarantee you, you'll eventually get your hand caught in the cookie jar and be made pay hard for it.

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Not that good of a move really. If you have the betting line, forward motion is irrelevant, you can slide your chips around. I tell you though I would never call for a floor person if you did.

I like people making moves like this one and all the others, because moves are a tell. Your move is generally a tell of bluffer, a little time with you at the table would net enough data where a decent player will have you clocked with that move to a high degree.

So I like it... keep doing it.

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  • As a player you may not like to see someone or you yourself calling the floor, but it's absolutely cheating. Any dealer should call the floor and any floor staff that spots it should deal with this. At the end of it a card room exists to facilitate a fair game. – Grinch91 Apr 28 at 9:15
  • If an opponent on this move asks if this is a bet or not, I say yes, than if the other guy disagrees I call the floor. As far as card rooms exist to insure a fair game, no they don't. They exist to make money. Management rarely does anything except when a player complains. They do not regularly review video. They do not get proactive with players because they do not want to loose players. This is the way it is, one needs to learn how to protect themselves, if your depending on the dealer or the floor person to say something good luck. – Jon Apr 30 at 0:27

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