Playing Against Friends

Hi everyone,

Today I wanted to talk about playing poker against friends. When I first started playing Poker I would always feel bad if I was playing against a friend and winning their chips. Over time I realized that I shouldn’t feel bad.

I realized I shouldn’t feel bad because we all signed up to play the game and the objective of poker is to win the most chips as possible and be the last player standing if your playing in a tournament.

Over time I realized that my friends don’t have a problem taking my chips away from me and I shouldn’t feel bad for taking chips away from them. Understand that it’s nothing personal. It’s simply just business. Now whenever I play against friends I try to play the best to my ability simply because we both signed up for the same game.

Their goal is to take my chips and my goal is to take their chips. Don’t get me wrong we can still be friendly at the table and have a fun conversation but their goal is the same as mine. Win the most chips as possible. I notice this problem in mostly new players. They aren’t sure how they should play against a friend at the table. My advice is to not feel bad if you win your friends chips. It’s nothing personal. It’s just business.



Good advice, I don’t have different strategies for friends and other players either. The only difference being sometimes I show rather than muck when playing against a friend :sunglasses:


It took me a long while to realise that if you soft play against a friend you are being unfair to the other players on the table, and also that strategy may win you more friends but you will lose all your chips! I now do as Mark says, put friendships to one side on the tables but remember to say hi and chat if they wish to talk.


There are a small number of players that I “play soft” against, as that seems to be their preference, but in general, I think most players will be insulted if you are not trying to play your A game against them, and have come to the site to play poker, after all. I started playing poker as a child playing against uncles and my brother, and so it was always friend against friend, unless I’d recently blown out my brother’s birthday candles when I wasn’t supposed to…


Back in ancient times in the USMC, we had a saying for Marines on guard duty: “On duty, we have no friends.” Playing poker is currently our duty. Marc is ight to think of it as Godfather Corleone would: it’s just business and has nothing to do with friendship.


If a “Friend “ takes offense to your winning their chips you have to ask yourself “ are they really a friend? “ All is fair in love and war and poker lol :+1:t2:


Winding down an SnG, I had a substantial chip lead, playing with 2 active players, and one sleeper who had left the table a while back. I was in a hand with the low stacked player who was thinking he had the best hand. I was sure he didn’t, since i had the nut, but I’m pretty sure he would have called any raise I made, including all of his stack. The sleeper player was down to his last BB, and would have been out at the end of the next hand. I didn’t think it fair the the active player should lose the last money spot to someone who had abandoned the table, so I left him a few chips to get him through the next hand and secure 3rd place.

Probably wouldn’t have given it another thought except, a few hands later, the player staged a comeback and knocked out the other active guy, who was in second place.

I’m not sure if this fits the thread since i didn’t know any of the other players, but I kinda felt like I was unfair to the guy in second place to let the low stack survive the trap I had set. and hang around to bust him. Probably wasn’t fair to the guy who had left his avitar to post and fold, either. I prefer that people who have to leave the table do that with their chips, opposed to dumping them on one person, who i then have to play against.

Anyway, since\then, any slack given consciously, most likely has some sort of devious intent behind it.
As for friends, they’re all better players than I am, so I’m usually just trying to keep from getting trounced.

I don’t “soft play” my friends, but I tend to play my game, no matter what. Sometimes I actually try to switch it up because I know the player (and know they know me), but 9 times out of 10, I am playing my game and my friends have the advantage only because they know me well enough to get out of the way :slight_smile: