Things You Shouldn’t do at The Poker Table

We all know that sometimes in poker, emotions can run high. Tempers can flare as variance deals out what are often perceived to be injustices, left and right. Poker can feel like you’re in an emotional wrestling match at times, but we can’t go round behaving like wrestlers. Long haired men don’t run around casinos in tight vests hitting each other over the head with chairs, because most bad beats just don’t warrant that sort of reaction. In playing poker, we must all find that civil part of ourselves that can smile and say “good game” no matter what has happened. The following examples, are those who sometimes stray a little off the etiquette script.

 1. “Trash talking”

Tony G is renowned for his trash talking, and goes completely overboard against Ralph Perry in the International Poker Championship, mostly after the hand is won. Relentlessly berating a player after you’ve won their chips is one of the worst breaches of etiquette because it isn’t an emotionally charged reaction to losing a big pot. You’ve won the pot, you should be happy. Choosing this moment to try and humiliate someone you’ve already defeated shows a complete lack of class, empathy, or humanity.

Tony G “You are gone, gone , gone!”

 2. Drinking and eating 

‘Men ‘The Master’ Nguyen is also a player whose mouth has got him into a little trouble before, but not always in the most obvious way. Despite being known as a talker at the table, Men used to like a drink during the late stages of a tournament. During the Seven Card Stud event at the WSOP he once sprayed a mouthful of beer everywhere, which to be fair, was by accident. There are still a couple of lesson there though. Firstly, consider saving the celebrations until after you’ve won the bracelet, and secondly, any food and drink you eat should end up in your mouth, rather than strewn across the felt, the dealer, your opponents, or yourself.

“Drinking like a men”

 3. String betting, Splashing the pot, Grabbing the chips

Other things you shouldn’t do at the table, involve the manner in which you move chips around. When you make a raise, don’t throw them into the pot. Chips are circular which means they bounce and roll, hitting other peoples stacks which can cause confusion and annoyance. Push neat stacks, don’t launch handfuls. That brings us to string betting. When you make a bet, don’t push forward some of the chips you want to bet, then go back to pick up more. Push all of them forward in one motion, or verbally declare the size of the bet first. String betting is an illegal bet and could cost you. One final piece of chip advice – When you win the pot, don’t reach across to grab the chips, allow the dealer to push them across to you.

Tiliting without manners

 4. Slow Rolling

One episode of ‘Poker Night in America’ demonstrated perfectly one of the biggest breaches of table conduct, when Shaun Deeb and Mike Matusow got involved in a pot together. In recent times there has been a trend of one or two players who know each well, slow rolling each other and both taking it in good spirits. Perhaps if you are the best of friends with someone and it’s a joke you play on each regularly then it’s ok, but as a general rule, never slow roll someone. You’re just adding to their misery for your own enjoyment, which is unlikely to be well received. Be respectful at the tables.

Waiting before calling your opponent with the nuts is always extremely impolite. But if you could do it on TV and against a player famous for his trash-talking abilities, would you resist ?

There are a few more general rules which you should respect at the table, such as not talking loudly on your phone, and taking care to ensure you don’t have a powerful body odour. Most aspects of poker etiquette are about common sense and respecting the people you are competing against. One or two technical rules such as string betting and not grabbing a pot you’ve won aren’t so serious, as they are easy mistakes for first timers to make. Acting out of turn is another mistake which can be made once by accident, just don’t do it repeatedly like Daniel ‘jungleman12’ Cates did in the ‘Party Poker Premier League VI.’ Scott Seiver wound up accusing him of intentionally doing it. So along with being respectful at the tables, you must always try and stay focussed on the action. One mistake you make could affect another player still to act, who may be holding a big hand.

Scott Seiver accuses Jungleman Daniel Cates of angleshooting and cheating at the table

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Louis Hartwell

Graduated in Media Communication at the University of Lausanne, Louis Hartman is a co-founder of He began his career in Cambodia as freelance journalist. In same time he was making his living by playing poker every night at that time. Intense learner, he read dozens of poker strategy books to improve his skills during many years. With a strong interest about poker "behind the scene" in Asia and his communication skills, Louis launched Somuchpoker in 2014.

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