Do Poker players have morals?
That makes for an interesting question. Do I worry about anyone on the other end of the computer as I hit my 2 outer on the river to stack them? Not at all, in fact I don’t even give it a second thought. Does that make me a bad person? Personally I don’t think so, we play a game where there are winners and losers and both winning and losing can involve decent sums of money, we take a choice to play in the games we playing knowing we could lose our money.
How far do we go to push the boundaries though? Is it ok to try and put somebody on tilt knowing that we could win additional money by doing it? Is it ok to talk shit to someone at the table to try and get them to spew off their stack or even bankroll? Is it ok to call someone out on a forum to try and put them in their place or put them in a situation they would rather not be in because you feel that you have an edge over them?
The latter one i will come back to in a moment but the nature of poker is that we have young testosterone driven males, who’s egos are out of control because of the amounts of money they win and lose, locking horns with each other to try and prove who is best. I guess that I am quite lucky in that most of my dealings in Poker, be it coaching or just chatting about Poker, have been with people that are nearly the same age as me and at 34 I was quite a late starter getting in to Poker having only been playing it for the last 2 or 3 years. Been a bit older Poker wise probably means that I have a ton more life experience than a lot of the young guys and generally have got my shit together and although I do occasionally indulge in the odd bit of occasional `friendly` banter on the whole im a pretty level headed guy and it takes quite a bit for someone to get under my skin. I`m a heavy user of 2+2 and that’s where the hormone fueled discussion is at its highest with people stroking each others ego or hating on people who’s face doesn’t fit.
This brings me back to the how far would you go question and the thing that actually got me thinking about this and the thread which lead this to coming about.
The short story is that zachvac stooped incredibly low to try and out mashall28 for reasons that only he knows but probably not limited to not liking the way marshall posted on the forum, jealousy over marshall`s claims that he is a very good player (which it seems can be backed up by numerous people and means), and probably ego problems that lead him to take the route he did. I don’t know either person personally but have read zachvac`s posts on 2+2 some good, some blatantly aimed at winding people up, and I read marshall28′s blog.
Its hard to say how its going to turn out but on paper it does appear that Marshall28 will have an edge and in creating this situation zachavc has put himself in the position that his bankroll and ego could very well have a big knock. Will he learn from it and become a much better person? That's really hard to express and still returns to the first question of what morals Poker players have and where do you draw the line?