An important but largely transparent feature of the online poker table is the chat box. Sitting at one of the corners of the window, the chat box oversees and reports all of the action: it announces rising blinds, informs players of impending time-outs, and of course, allows players to communicate with one another. In my experience, especially at more competitive tables (i.e. more expensive tables), the actual chat feature is seldom used. Even when it is, it consists mostly of players “LOL”-ing at terrible beats or exposed bluffs. But once in a while, the chat box reverts to what some see as its original purpose: a forum for trash talk.

Near the end of my recent stint in Atlanta, my friend Josh and I sat down one evening and decided to play a single Sit & Go table together, laughing and drinking PBR all the while, harking back to the glory days of the Coalition (see About for an explanation of the Coalition). Now Josh has always been an advocate of the chat box; a longtime hockey player and general competitor, he’s well-known in certain circles for his unfailing ability to get under the skin of his opponents. Why should online poker be an exception? On this particular occasion, this resulted:

(The censored word, by the way, is “fag.” Also, given flow566’s avatar, one could claim it’s tough to blame Josh.)

Josh managed to get this in even before the automated tournament moderator was able to get its first words in, both setting the tone for the tournament and cementing our position as table douche bag. Flow566 elected not to respond. However, our encounters with him were not to end there. Well into the tournament, with the blinds up at 100/200 or so, we found ourselves somewhat short-stacked with about 8 big blinds. Nadovivozit7 had busted out by this point,so flow566 was sitting immediately to our left.

The table had been enormously tight and passive up to this point–even more so than these Sit & Go’s usually are–so from the button, we decided to steal a round of blinds by pushing with any two cards–in this case, we were dealt 10-4 offsuit. While this might seem rather reckless, mid- and high-blind play really is about being aggressive about the blinds to avoid getting blinded-out; after all, with under 5 BB (we have 8 at this point), it becomes more or less mandatory to go all-in with any two cards. So at this point, pushing from the button with 10-4 was only one step removed, and at this tight and passive table, we decided it was a sensible move.

Lo and behold, guess who called? Our old pal flow566–one of said very tight-passive opponents–while everyone else folded. He had even fewer chips than we did, about 6 BB, so we were no longer all-in, but just about all of our chips were in the pot. We turned over our ugly 10-4, and he revealed Q-4 offsuit, a hand that dominated ours more than 3-to-1. Now what business, one might ask, did flow566 have calling an all-in with a measly Q-4? Remember, he had exhibited extremely tight tendencies and of course didn’t know we were holding rags. Well, maybe–just maybe–it was because sticks11111 was the jerk that trash-talked him before the tournament even started.

He ended up winning the hand, leaving us with a minuscule stack of 2 BB. At this point, we more or less did have to go all-in with any two cards at the first opportunity (i.e. if everyone folded or called to us). The next hand, we were dealt a very decent-looking J-10 as the small blind, and it even folded to us, leaving us in a great position to double-up and maybe reenter the running.

Flow566 called us from the big blind, and turned over KK. In this situation, where as the only other player in the hand it was equitable for him to call with literally any hand, he was dealt pocket K’s. K, for karma. Our 10 connected on the turn but it was too little too late, and we exited to tournament to flow566’s blank, moronic stare.