If you have ever played in live cash games you know that there is a decision to be made when everyone folds to the small blind—“Do you chop?” For those of you that are unfamiliar with chopping basically this means that both blinds fold their hands and there is a reduced or no drop. This makes a lot of sense in smaller stakes drop games as a good percentage of the pot is taken when only two players remain. In a $1-$3 no limit game where the drop is $4+$1 eighty percent of the pot is dropped if limped when headsup.
In deeper stacked games or games with a time collection it is in many cases +EV not to chop. The biggest reason I do it is because it really gets under my opponents’ skin. You would be amazed how angry people get when you tell them that you do not chop. They think to themselves “I’m going to get this guy” and it makes them play terribly throughout the entire hand.
Let’s look at an example of a hand that I played last week at the Bicycle Casino. It was $5-$10 no limit, uncapped, and I was in the big blind with K ♠ K ♣. Action folded around to the small blind who immediately went to throw his cards in and take his money back. I stopped him and said “I don’t chop.” “You don’t chop?”, he replied perplexed. I could see the anger brewing in his face. He then threw in a $5 dollar chip to complete. I raised $35 more and he slammed his chips in for a call. The flop came out Q ♠ 5 ♦ 7 ♦. He checked and I bet $75, he called. The turn came the 2: h:. He checked again, I bet $200 and he snap called. At this point I thought that there was a really good chance that he had a queen and I was going to basically value bet any river. Fifth street fell a T ♣. I knew that he was pissed off and that my line looked like I was trying to put pressure on him. He checked again and I decided to bomb it and bet $700. He insta-called and tabled Q ♣ 3 ♣.
Later I learned that this particular player was extremely tight and never would have played Q3 suited in any situation. He was so frazzled however by the fact that I didn’t chop that he lost over 100bbs with a garbage hand.