poker.com " target="_blank" rel="noopener">Poker is a great game that can be enjoyed by people of all skill levels and backgrounds. However, there are poker etiquette guidelines that every player must know.
Knowing basic poker rules is one thing, but poker etiquette is just as important. There are certain customs that players must follow to maintain a fair, respectful, and enjoyable environment at the poker table. Though largely unwritten, these guidelines are generally accepted and almost expected as the right way to conduct oneself in a game.
If you’re new to poker or just want a refresher on the game’s code of behavior, then this article is for you. We’ll go over some of the most important do’s and don’ts of poker etiquette, so you can be sure to always act like a pro, be it in a live game or an online tournament on poker sites like GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room.
What to do at the poker table
Let’s start with the best practices. You should always do these things when playing poker to keep the game fair and fun for everyone.
1. Be respectful to other players and the dealer.
This should be a no-brainer, but it’s still worth mentioning. Just like in any social situation, you should always show respect to those around you. This means conducting yourself in a polite and friendly manner, avoiding trash talk or belittling comments.
You don’t need to rub it in your opponents’ faces if you win a big pot. Likewise, if you make a terrible play and lose, don’t get angry or take it out on others. Sportsmanship is as vital in poker as in any game, so always be respectful at the table, even (and especially) when the chips are down.
2. Follow the rules and regulations set by the poker room.
Every poker room, whether a brick-and-mortar casino or an online poker site, has its rules and regulations. You must familiarize yourself with these before sitting down to play.
For example, some poker rooms don’t allow cell phones at the table, while others have a dress code. Breaking these rules can result in penalties like being asked to leave the table or even being prohibited from playing in the poker room again.
3. Protect your hand.
This is poker basics: once you’ve been dealt your cards, keep them visible only to you. If another player sees your cards, it gives them an unfair advantage.
To protect your hand, hold your cards close to your body, and don’t let anyone else see them. You can also put a chip or poker marker on your cards to ensure they don’t accidentally get exposed.
Some poker rooms may invoke penalties upon players who expose their cards before they act.
4. Keep your chip stack organized.
Your poker chips should always be neatly stacked in front of you. You should ideally keep them in stacks of 20 and divide them according to value. This makes it easier for the dealer and other players at the table to count their chips and keep track of the game.
5. Be mindful of the time.
It’s essential to be aware of how long you’ve been taking to make your moves. If you’re taking too long, it can slow down the game and disrupt the flow for other players.
There isn’t usually a strict time limit for making your move, but it’s generally considered inconsiderate to take too long because it affects everyone else’s game. An opponent may “call the clock” on you if they feel you’re taking too long, giving you limited time to decide.
6. Act in turn at every hand and every game
Only declare your action when it’s your turn. If you declare your action out of turn, such as when a player before you is still making their decision, it can give them an unfair advantage.
7. Verbalize your action
When making your decision, always verbalize your action. For example, if you’re going to call a bet, say, “I call,” rather than just placing the chips in the pot.
This is important because it prevents any confusion or misunderstanding about your actions. It also helps the dealer keep track of the game and ensures everyone is on the same page.
8. Tip the dealer
When you win a good pot in a live game, it’s customary to tip the dealer and the servers who bring you drinks. How much you tip is up to you and the game or poker room you’re playing in. You can look to the regulars for guidance on how much to tip.
What not to do at the poker table
Now, let’s look at a few things you should avoid doing.
1. Don’t be a distraction
Remember that poker is a game of focus and concentration. You need to be able to read your opponents and make the best decisions possible.
That’s why avoiding being a distraction at the poker table is important. This means not talking loudly, not using your cell phone, and not doing anything else that can take away from the game—especially if you’re no longer in a hand.
2. Don’t “hit and run”
Hit and run, in poker, is when you leave the table immediately after winning a pot. This happens in cash games and is considered bad etiquette because it’s seen as taking advantage of the other players.
Poker is a game of giving and taking, so finish at least a few rounds of poker before cashing out.
3. Don’t “string bet”
String betting is when you make a bet in increments rather than declaring the total amount at once. For example, let’s say you have 1,000 chips in front of you and want to bet 500.
The right way to do it would be to say, “I bet 500,” then place the chips in the pot. The wrong way would be to say, “I bet 500,” and then put out a few chips at a time until you’ve reached your desired amount. This latter can cause confusion and misunderstanding.
The string bet rule can vary per poker room, depending on which city or country you’re playing in, so it would be wise to check the house rules before you play. Alternatively, you can simply announce your betting amount before placing your chips in the pot.
4. Don’t “splash the pot”
Splashing the pot is when you toss your chips carelessly into the middle to “splash” them all over the table rather than placing them neatly in front of you. This can disrupt the game and make it difficult for the dealer to count your chips.
5. Don’t “angle shoot”
Angle shooting is when you take advantage of less experienced opponents through unethical or dishonest behavior.
Examples of angle shooting include deliberately acting out of turn, trying to peek at an opponent’s cards, hiding a portion of your chips to deceive players into thinking you have a shorter stack, and more.
6. Don’t “slow roll”
Slow rolling is when you have a winning hand but take a long time to show your cards, to tease or psych out your opponents. It’s considered bad etiquette because it’s seen as unnecessarily prolonging the game and adding to the already-high levels of tension.
7. Don’t make comments about other players’ hands
You should never comment on another player’s hand, even (and especially) if you’re not in the hand yourself. This is considered bad etiquette because it can give away information that other players may use to their advantage.
Create an enjoyable time for everyone at the poker table with these tips
We hope this poker guide has given you a helpful introduction to basic poker etiquette. Following these simple guidelines will help make sure you have a positive and enjoyable experience at the poker table.
Remember, poker is a game meant to be enjoyed by everyone on the table so do your part to ensure that happens. Good luck!