Poker Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts at the Table
The following article is a poker etiquette guide for beginners and seasoned players.
It comprises a list of things you need to do and or avoid to create a pleasing gaming environment.
What To Avoid At A Poker Poker Table
# Unnecessary Talk
Have you just folded? We know that it is time to relax, but avoid unnecessary chit-chat when you are no longer part of the hand. Unnecessary talk is distracting, and you may unknowingly give away information that can have an impact on the game.
Can you discuss issues related to the game when you are no longer in it? You may have some great insights but avoid sharing your opinions of bet sizes, positions, ranges and anything related to the poker hand when the game is still in progress. You can voice as many opinions as you please after the game.
Slow rollers are often considered the worst players at the poker table. They know they have the best hand at the table, but refrain from showing it on time to make their opponents feel they will win the game.
While you do not have to reveal your hand when you are in the middle of it, you have to do it at the showdown instead of waiting and trying to get your opponent to think that he has the better hand.
# Wasting Time
You can make simple poker decisions quickly, but some players like to annoy their opponents by taking too long to make even the simplest decisions.
Poker is a mental game, and situations requiring deep thought arise at the table. For example, you can take time to weigh the pros and cons of your options to select the most profitable one. But taking too much time to make every move is poor poker etiquette as it creates frustration among other players at the table.
You cannot take a long time to decide whether you want to fold or raise before the flop, as you end up wasting everybody’s time and spoil the game.
Also, do not be the player who pretends to have a difficult decision to make after the flop if all you have to do is fold. You do not have to pretend to have a difficult gaming decision to make just to appear smart. That’s the best way to frustrate players at the table and create an unpleasant gaming environment.
Players at the table should also avoid using the phone, chatting with someone who is not part of the hand, or watching TV when it is time for them to make a move. Engaging in these activities slows down the game. You can do whatever you wish after you fold. When you are playing, you have to focus on the game.
Talking on the phone or doing something unrelated to the game when you need to be making a move is rude. You end up playing fewer hands per hour, and this reduces your chances of winning.
You resort to angle shooting when you intentionally take advantage of certain gaming situations or weak players at the table. You must avoid angle shooting at any cost because nobody likes it and it is considered unprofessional and unethical.
Simultaneously, we cannot say that angle shooting is “cheating“. It is considered a gray area in poker.
You are not cheating if you take advantage of players and situations, but it is poor etiquette, and you must avoid it to have a good time at the table and have the respect of your fellow players.
You are angle shooting when you do one of the following:
- Making a move when it is not your turn
- Trying to peep into someone else’s hole cards
- Hiding high-value chips to make opponents believe you are short-stacked
- Moving chips close to the middle of the table or counting them so opponents think you want to call
- Creating an illusion of having weak hands by announcing that you will raise and then making a call, knowing all the time that the dealer will force you to raise
- Telling everyone that you have a winning hand when you do not have one
Poker players should not intentionally fool their opponents into doing something they want them to do. Playing a fair game is the best way to build your reputation at the poker tables.
# Celebrating Your Wins Excessively
Have you just won a game? Learn the fine art of celebrating wins gracefully without annoying an opponent who has lost a big pot. Nobody likes people who gloat over their success.
You have the right to be happy about your success. However, celebrating wins by swearing, dancing on the table or getting loud and obnoxious is terrible for your reputation.
What To Do At A Poker Poker Table
# Call the Clock Only When Necessary
Do you feel one of your fellow players is taking too much time to make a move? You can call the clock by requesting a floor man to limit their decision-making time. However, unnecessarily calling the clock is rude behavior.
You can call the clock on a player if he has already taken a minute to decide and has still not made a move. Usually, poker players do not mind when someone takes a bit of time to act. But some rude players call the clock often and do not give their opponents a chance to think.
If your opponent needs time to think, you need to respect him or her and give them the time to think about a move. Call the clock only if you feel that your opponent is deliberately trying to delay the game.
# Understand Online Poker Etiquette
Etiquette rules are not just for those playing live poker tournaments or cash games.
# Show Respect
It’s basic courtesy, but sometimes players need reminding that they should treat opponents with respect at all times (we not saying re-enact the scene from John Wick 4 lol) .
Even if you don’t like a certain player at the table, you must remain professional and courteous so that everybody feels welcome and has a good time at the table.
Sometimes new players make many mistakes at the table. You must understand that a new player might make mistakes because they are nervous. Be nice to new players instead of making them feel bad for their mistakes.
If you notice someone who has not understood the rules, clarify things and help them feel comfortable. If you bully a new player, they may not return to the poker table and you don’t want to be someone who is driving away poker players as it does have an impact on everyone’s winnings.
You must avoid being a poker coach to new players. Don’t tell them how to play their hand or how you would have played it. You can advise them at the end of the game, but only if they ask you.
When you behave rudely, it hurts you more than your opponents. You may get ejected for rudeness, and sometimes a casino may ban a player from ever returning. Treat your opponents respectfully, irrespective of how they play.
Also, remember that poker is a game of disagreements. Learn the art of agreeing to disagree gracefully and avoid getting into an argument while playing.
To summarize, here are a few rules to follow whilst playing:
- Be polite if you are using the chat feature at an online table. Do not type in capital letters or use abusive language.
- Do not reveal your cards after folding.
- Do not be rude to your opponents, especially when they are new and trying to learn the game.
- Learn the art of winning and losing gracefully. There is no need for any noisy celebration if you win. Similarly, you do not have to become abusive if you lose. Losses and wins are parts of playing poker.
- Noisy behavior and keyboard wars irritate fellow players and make you unpopular at the online poker tables. It may also impact your ability to make sensible decisions.
- Avoid becoming a poker coach to anyone. There is no harm in giving advice when someone asks for it, but trying to teach poker to anybody and everybody is a waste of time.
- Do not take too much time to make a simple decision. Be quick to fold if you know you must fold, and avoid delaying the move just because you have time in your time bank.
- When you take too long to make simple decisions, you are wasting everybody’s time. Ultimately, you will play fewer hands per hour and hurt your chances of making a profit.
- However, you can take more time to make serious decisions and fine-tune your strategies.
Just like in every walk of life, if you want to build a reputation as a respected poker player, you need to follow these basic poker etiquette guidelines. If for some reason you end up breaching any of these guidelines, be quick to apologize and learn from your errors.
Hopefully, we have addressed some of the unwritten rules of poker so the next time you’re at the table, avoid these common mistakes and be on your best behavior!