What is ‘Soft Play’?
Soft play occurs in Poker when one player fails to raise or bet in a circumstance where they usually would, to avoid costing another player – usually their partner or friend – money. Soft play, even though the player’s intentions may be innocent, is a form of collusion or cheating.
‘Soft Play’ Explained
When playing casino games against friends, it is easy to understand how players may feel guilty winning money from close companions. From time to time, players might feel an urge to play a hand differently, deciding not to place a bet, or call a raise, to avoid taking chips from a friend. Playing in this way is what is known as ‘soft play’ and, however understandable it may be on a human level, it is evident to see how it can compromise the integrity of the poker game for other players.
Other players in the game may see soft play as collusion, a form of cheating, however innocent the intentions of the player trying to spare their friend’s losses. Alternatively, the friend themselves may become aware that other players are ‘going easy on them’ and not take kindly to what they could take as a slight on their level of skill as a player.
Taken to an extreme, soft play can be used by weaker casino players who are intent on undermining a stronger, more aggressive or more experienced player to win a game in which they may otherwise expect to be knocked out. This is undeniably cheating and one of the key reasons for avoiding any action as a player, no matter how well intentioned, which others may see as soft play, is to ensure that you do not become accused of engaging in this type of behaviour at the table.