With the spotlight constantly upon the them, poker pros are widely expected to become ambassadors of the game and to adopt perfect behaviour.
But can we really expect that from people who choose to make a living playing cards?
If you want to know what you are not supposed to do at a poker table, just watch these pros
Lesson 1: Do not make fun of another player’s misery – Featuring Daniel Negreanu
One of the first things you learn as player is to not comment on a hand you are not involved in. Another simple etiquette rule is to not make fun of another player’s misery. Losing money is painful, and having someone needling you is unnecessary.
In the 2006 Tournament of Champions, Daniel Negreanu witnessed an insane hero call from Mike Sexton against Mike “The Mouth” Matusow.
Sexton decided to silently take his chips, but Negreanu felt obliged to comment about “How dirty the hand was”
but it wasn’t apparently enough, Negreanu continued commentating on the hand that he wasn’t involved in, for nearly 30 secs…
Negreanu has always wanted to be a role model, but sometimes actions speak louder than words. Sexton ended up defeating Negreanu heads-up, and gave half of his winnings to charity.
Lesson 2: Do not tap the aquarium – Featuring Phil Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth aka “Poker Brat” has always been more than well known for whining and complaining when a hand doesn’t go his way. While some players silently question the quality of their own play after an unfavourable outcome, Phil Hellmuth’s way is to loudly berate his opponent for playing badly and blame bad luck.
While Hellmuth’s childish behaviour often brings laughter from the pros he is facing, when he starts to rip into amateurs, his behaviour becomes more questionable.
One simple rule for any poker player is, don’t tap the aquarium. Don’t remove the fun from the game if you want amateurs to keep losing money to you.
This is a rule which completely escapes Hellmuth in this clip from the WSOP Main Event.
When the amateur builds a big pot with 10,4 and out-draws Hellmuth’s AK, the 14 time bracelet winner can’t resist telling him 5 times that he is an idiot and that he doesn’t like the way he plays.
The amateur ended up putting an end to the verbal circus by reminding Hellmuth that he paid his buy in (unlike him) and could play however he wanted.
Lesson 3: Do not throw your whole chipstack across the table – Featuring Daniel Cates
Purely a product of the online poker generation, Daniel Cates has always created special attention around himself at the live poker table.
His tendency to tilt has always pushed people to troll him, in the hope of seeing more entertainment.
But in the 2015 Aussie Millions Challenge Daniel Cates clearly went too far. After losing for his tournament life with KK vs AA he threw his whole chipstack across the table at Jeff Rossister.
Afterwards he explained that Rossiter had needled him just the hand before and that he was a bit agitated. He also admitted that his actions were “a bit wild”
Lesson 4: Do not Slowroll – Featuring Shaun Deeb
When an online kid makes his first appearance on TV, he can be tempted to try and get the spotlight on him, especially when he is seated at the tables with a well-known figure in the game.
That’s exactly what Shaun Deeb decided to do in an episode of Poker After Dark in a hand vs Mike “The Mouth “ Matusow.
The online tournament legend flopped Quad fives and slowrolled Matusow. Everybody at the table laughed except Mike Matusow, who didn’t take it well at all. He told Deeb that “he had never slowrolled in his life and that he will never do it” and several more angry words followed.
A good reminder that slowrolling is always an attempt to be funny that comes at the expense of someone else’s pain….
Lesson 5: Do not drink at the poker table – Featuring Scotty Nguyen
In 2008 Scotty Nguyen managed what nobody else had accomplished before him – after winning the WSOP Main Event in 1998, he won the prestigious 50K H.O.R.S.E. event at the World Series.
it was his fifth bracelet, and the victory should have been the one that crowned him as one of the best tournament players of all time.
Instead of adulation and glory, he received only criticism for his behaviour during the event, in which he got drunk at the final table. At first, people found his non-stop talking amusing, but he then began crossing lines.
While getting increasingly drunk, he insulted people and cursed. He steamed over and over. He drank beer after beer after beer and complained when they weren’t coming fast enough. His behaviour shocked most of the players and commentators, and he was clearly breaking the WSOP Rules
Scotty made a public apology for his drunken behaviour during the event, In his apology, he said: “This tournament was too important for me, the trophy, the fifth bracelet, and history, my head was zoned in for this event, and for that time, I forgot the fans were watching me. I said things I shouldn’t have said that have disappointed you, and I apologize for my actions”.
He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2013, but this 2008 episode followed him around, as people were still referring to the incident in wondering if he should have a place in the Hall of Fame.
“To keep Scotty Nguyen out of the Hall of Fame would be absurd,” said Daniel Negreanu at the 2013 WSOPE. “He had one day where he got drunk and acted like an idiot and apologized for it.”
Video by Bruno Thienard, Script and Voice by Craig Bradshaw