Familiarize Yourself With Good Poker Etiquette

Make sure you follow proper etiquette whether you play live or online poker.

Etiquette’s definition is the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group. All groups and professions have etiquette to adhere to. Poker has its very own set of rules on how to behave at and away from the table.

Breaking poker etiquette won’t result in you being disqualified from a tournament or thrown out of a cash game, but it will see several frowns aimed in your direction. There is literally no excuse for poor etiquette at the tables. Feast your eyes on these examples and gain the respect of your peers at the felt.

Acting Out Of Turn Is Poor Etiquette

It is impossible to act out of turn if you play online poker because the software doesn’t allow it. Playing live poker, however, is a completely different story.

Avoid acting out of turn and angering your opponents by concentrating on what is going on around you. You can also avoid looking at your hole cards until the action is on you. Doing this means you don’t give any clues about how you’re going to act before it is your turn. Even shaping to fold, or looking disinterested, can affect the decisions of those still to act.

Talking While Others Are In A Hand

Have you noticed online poker sites stop you using the chat feature when a player is all-in? There’s a good reason for this: it’s poor etiquette. Your comments have the power to influence the outcome of a hand. We’re not saying stay in silence at all times because poker is a social game, just be aware when one of your tablemates looks to have a difficult decision and keep it schtum.

Would you like it if someone was nattering while you were trying to concentrate? No, you wouldn’t. So don’t do it to someone else.

It Is Bad Etiquette To Say What You Had

Talking about what you held is considered bad etiquette if a player, especially if they lost a hand. Your tablemates don’t need salt rubbing into their wounds when they have handed over a chunk of their chips. Saying “you wouldn’t have won anyway because I held both of your outs” just makes you look like a jackass.

This advice, of course, goes out of the window if your opponent asks you what you had. Feel free to lie to them if you think it will help you. Lying and deception is part and parcel of playing poker.

Don’t Berate Your Opponents

Berating your opponents is seriously poor etiquette. “Tapping the glass”, as it is called, should never be done even if you are majorly frustrated.

It is bad manners for one. Everyone is entitled to play poker how they wish, they’re investing their own money. The second big reason for not slating players actually helps you in the long run. You want opponents to make mistakes, even if that means they suck out on your occasionally. Telling them they played a hand badly will make them analyze their play and improve at poker. There’s also a chance they’ll get fed up with your rants and leave the game. Both of these are bad for you and your tablemates.

Suck it up and tell them “nice hand” when they beat you with a ridiculous holding. You have plenty of chances to win your money back and more, but not if they’re no longer seated at your table.

Show Good Etiquette By Not Being An Ass To The Dealer

It is also bad etiquette to berate the dealer. Here’s a free tip: don’t be a jackass to any of the casino staff. Your dealer is most likely working for minimum wage and boosting their hourly via tips. They work long hours and often love poker as much as you do.

They don’t make mistakes on purpose, they’re simply human. Likewise, they’re not dealing you cooler hands because they don’t like you. Lady Luck doesn’t like you!

Instead, be nice to the dealer. Actually talk to them and make sure you tip them, even a measly dollar when you win a pot. Without dealers, games don’t run, period.

Please, Please Wash Your Hands!

Having worked around the world reporting on major poker tournaments I can tell you that my biggest bug about poker players is not washing their hands after using the bathroom. Yes, really. I don’t care how clean you think you are, wash your hands after using the facilities.

Everyone has to touch the cards you touch. They handle the chips you handle. Don’t be a bum and wash your hands, the chips are grubby enough as it is.

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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