Softplay

  • A term describing players avoiding friends at the table by playing a less aggressive style or reluctant against them compared to against the other players at the table.
    Softplaying is hard to prove, but if proven is a clear misconduct resulting in bans or disqualification.

    It is a more common issue in tournaments where friendly players of equal skill level often agree on swapping their action, meaning each on is surrendering a part of the equity in the tournament to each other. This is done in order to reduce variance meaning if one player makes it in the money, both player will profit.
    In theses cases meeting at a table in such tournaments can become quite the conflict of interests resulting in possible softplaying because the EV of chips, when only those two players are involved, are a lot different.

    Softplaying can also happen in cash games, where it is most likely more an act of collusion due to the players having control of voluntary sitting in or leaving the game. It is different for pool style games like fast fold where the player has no choice but playing the situation at hand.

    Softplaying is an issue in the poker community and players, who are aware that it is public knowledge that they are friends with a certain person at their table, tend to go even more aggressively and tricky when playing against them in order to not be accused of softplaying each other.
    Getting caught softplaying for whatever reason can severely tarnish a poker player's reputation with the community.

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