Poker Etiquette

Poker Etiquette

Poker Etiquette

For a supposedly cutthroat game like poker, which pits players against one another in mental combat with cash on the line, the concept of etiquette is surprisingly important.

As in baseball, America’s other pastime, an unwritten code governs the game of poker. Experienced players know how to observe these tenets, but for folks just learning the ropes, remembering to remain mindful of proper etiquette can take a backseat to facing big bets and trying to beat tough opponents.

We have got you covered though, with a few essential tips on poker etiquette that apply to both traditional and online play.

First and foremost, pay attention.

Nothing is worse than a slow game, both because good players succeed by increasing their hands per hour rate, and basic common sense. Who wants to sit around watching the proverbial paint dry?

Every player has a responsibility to keep the game moving along at a brisk pace. By all means, take your time when the situation warrants, as there’s nothing wrong with a little deep thinking.

Just don’t get caught staring at the TV overhead to catch the score, scarfing down a quick bite, or scrolling through Twitter. Once again, you can do each of those things at the table – and even all of them together – but always be sure to perk up and pay attention when you hold live cards.

If poker isn’t the priority, simply step away from the table and let the game proceed unimpeded.

On that note, it may seem tempting to fold immediately after peeking down at a ragged hand like 2-7. After all, you’re definitely not playing that garbage, so why sit and wait until the action moves to you?

Folding out of turn, or acting in any way before it’s your move, is a surefire way to catch hell at the table.

The main reason concerns game integrity, because poker is meant to be played using the same set of partial information. You know your cards, and how players before you have acted, but not what players behind you will do. When somebody folds out of turn, or tosses out an early bet, the premature move changes that dynamic entirely.

Extending this point of etiquette, always avoid talking about your cards – or any aspect of an ongoing hand for that matter – until the pot is being pushed. Sure, some stars of TV poker like Daniel Negreanu are chatterboxes, but only when following certain rules.

Just imagine facing a big bet holding the nut flush draw, only to hear a recent folder proclaim “man, I laid down two hearts.” Knowing now that your outs are in the muck, you fold accordingly, radically altering the natural gameplay based on the gabby player’s revelation.

Finally, and most importantly, never “slow-roll” somebody after a win.

At showdown, simply turn your hand over and let the cards speak for you, because taunting an opponent by letting them think they’ve won is practically criminal in the poker world.