Losing a big pot can be one of the worst experiences in poker, especially when you are beaten by overwhelming odds. Nothing boils the blood more than a vicious river suckout. In live games, most players are able to keep their cool (unless you're Phil Hellmuth) and handle themselves in a professional manner. At online tables, people have the anonymity of playing at home so they often berate their opponents in the chat box. In short, they act like rude and disgusting pigs.
You've seen it happen before ... where a verbal war erupts and two players fire barbs back and forth as their spat spills over into the next orbit. Some of skirmishes last for several hours. Yeah, some people take the game too seriously and can't let things go. Sadly, bullying is one of the uglier aspects of the internet.
Sometimes trolls get out of line in the chat box. You shouldn't freak out if those chat clowns blow up against you after they lose a pot. They're simply frustrated and career losing players. Some of them are emotionally disturbed degenerate gamblers, while others are plagued by a miserable home life. Still, others experienced horrendous upbringings or a nasty case of acne during their teenage formative years so they take out their inner rage by verbally accosting you in chat. There are thousands and thousands of excuses out there about why people are mean and outright nasty to others in public forums like the online poker tables, but that doesn't justify it.
If someone is using extremely offensive language at you, by all means, ignore their chat. Nothing gets a hothead angrier than when you do not dignify their existence. There are functions on all sites that allow you to turn off the chat. Take advantage of it.
You should also contact the support staff if the problem persists. Major online sites are extremely vigilant about cleaning up filthy online chatter. If your comments are too raunchy or racy, you will get censored. I found out the hard way and received my fair share of stern emails from the support staff-the "chat police." They monitored my potty mouth and decided that my salacious statements were below their moral standards. The chat police warned me to clean up my act; otherwise, my precious chat privileges would be revoked.
Once in a while, if I'm feeling saucy, I'll antagonize one of the clowns in the chat box. As Sun Tzu said, "If you enemy is angry, irritate him." I like to goad them into senseless arguments. Several of my friends prepared witty responses when someone rants about their bad play. Here's an example, after you suck out on your opponent and they spew, "nice catch @%#&*!" or "nc" into the chat, I'll respond with, "Thanks. I have a large glove." One of my poker buddies, BadBlood, came up with that gem which always gets lots of laughs from the peanut gallery.
My number one response that is guaranteed to tilt a furious opponent? Type, "nonsense" into the chat. It works. One of my favorite bloggers, JuliusGoat, came up with that stunning response. He explained, "Whatever they say, just answer with 'nonsense.' This is the magic word. It's the auto-tilter."
If your opponents routinely remind you about your atrocious play, then quickly type, "Nonsense." If they call you a donkey or a fish, then respond with "Nonsense." The best way to beat a bully? Bully them back. After a while, they'll simply give up and hopefully, tilt their stack off your way.
Paul 'Dr. Pauly' McGuire is the author of the upcoming book 'Lost Vegas'. You can read his poker blog, Tao of Poker, over at www.taopoker.com.