Soft Play in Poker
Table of content:
Let’s say that you, your best friend, and two others are playing a game of ludo. There are no official teams in this and everyone is playing individually. You and your best friend decide to not make any moves against each other that will bring either of you down. This way, you are not only improving your chance of winning the game but also eliminating the stronger player in the game. In the world of poker, a situation like this is termed as poker ‘soft playing’. You are using a soft or easy hand against your friend in order to gain an advantage over the stronger player.
Meaning & Definition of soft play poker:
Soft play in poker is a form of collusion where a player plays a hand softly or less aggressively because either the opponent is a friend or someone with whom they share some swapped profits. You can understand this as an agreement between two or more players where they play, taking it easy with each other.
This gives an opportunity to gain advantage to some players while creating disadvantages for others at the same table. A soft play poker avoids potentially eliminating a player from the game.
Ideally, players should play every hand with their maximum capability without considering any of their opponents. However, in poker soft play, the players play their hand differently with different opponents. This violates the integrity of the game for other players.
In simpler poker terms, it is a form of cheating but it cannot be spotted easily. There are a few reasons for it. It is done very precisely in a way that no one can notice it. The players involved might call rather than re-raise, or check rather than bet. They might play very casually, so that their friends get the chance to catch up. This is a case of soft play in poker where the other players involved are completely unaware of it.
The reason that you should know about soft play in poker is so that you don’t put yourself at the receiving end of such situations unknowingly. Soft playing poker is penalized whenever spotted in any game. Therefore, you should refrain from it ideally. However, some players still use this tactic to team up with a friend and win more money.
Is Soft Playing Against the Rules in Poker?
Soft playing is against the rules of poker and could potentially end us with a lifetime ban. Despite this, poker soft play is generally considered a lesser evil than intentional collusion with someone and often flies under the radar.
Soft playing is usually detected by the poker room's security team who actively looks for any patterns that indicate possible collusion. Patterns are much easier to detect in the context of online poker where teams can draw on a large amount of historical data, including all the hole-card information.
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