What is Behind a Log?
When a poker player is described as ‘behind a log’, they are doing well in the game and therefore only opting into the best hands. It also describes when a player with significant gains decides to slow their play down and avoid taking risks. It suggests that the player is ducking out of sight to avoid danger, and returning to the game only when that risk has diminished.
Behind a Log Explained
In poker, players adopt different strategies during the game, depending on their desired outcome. A player who wants to intimidate their opponents into folding often might play aggressively, betting high and often on most of their hands. However, another player might take it steady and play a fairly tight game, only betting high when the cards are very good.
If a player has enjoyed a successful game so far and has built up a decent stack, they might shift their play style to protect those gains. Opponents who lost their chips may well ramp up the aggression as they attempt to win back their money! Often, a player will revert to a very conservative style of play to protect their winnings, rather than making big gambles and risking losing what they have earned so far. A player like this could be described as playing from ‘behind a log’. This phrase comes from the idea that the player is hiding from any potential risk, but emerges from ‘behind the log’ when the coast is clear and they have a strong hand.
Most often, the phrase is applied to players who are in the lead and way ahead of the other players – and therefore facing the biggest risk of a significant loss. A player with the biggest stack who opts to play only the strongest hands is ‘behind a log’ and using their winning position to their advantage.
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