Knowing the poker game rules is essential, but that doesn’t mean proper poker etiquette should take a back seat. Poker is a social game where you’ll be interacting with other players. Therefore, you should know how to behave to make the experience more enjoyable for everyone, regardless of where you’re playing.
This article will cover the basic and standard unwritten rules of poker that all players must follow. Doing so will ensure that you improve your game while having a pleasant presence at the table.
So, keep reading this ultimate guide to learn more about proper poker etiquette.
Poker Etiquette: Common Basic Rules
Every poker player needs to know the basic rules that govern poker etiquette. Knowing them will help improve their overall game and avoid ruining it for other players.
Either live at the table or online, almost every player has encountered rude people when playing the game. If you’re someone who wants to be polite and well-groomed at the table, here are the basic etiquettes of playing poker you can follow:
Even though it’s advised you take your time when playing poker at the table, it doesn’t mean you should hold up the game for everyone. Instead, try playing swiftly while keeping your strategy and cards in mind. Play smart and promptly to ensure you don’t ruin the playing experience for other poker players.
Always be attentive to the speed of play and the flow of the game when playing poker. If you’re distracted by music or are watching the game behind the table, it can cause an unnecessary delay. Additionally, you can’t expect other players to update you on the details you missed when you didn’t pay attention to the table.
Don’t be rude to other players even if they are causing you distress in the game. Show them respect by not swearing during the game or berating their style of play. Everyone has a different way of playing, so you shouldn’t start a fight with other players based on that, and you should never be rude to the dealer either.
Don’t Get Into Arguments That Don’t Resolve Anything
When playing poker, you have to have discipline, so avoid unnecessary arguments with other players and the dealer. If you lose, keep calm and try not to accuse others of cheating or not playing by the rules. Getting into unnecessary arguments at the table will only paint a negative perception of you and won’t help you win the game.
Don’t Unnecessarily Disturb Others
You may have a friendly personality, but that doesn’t give you the right to disturb other players by talking too much or too loudly at the table. It’s best to switch off your smartphone and not make loud noises or play music while at the table. Being disruptive and acting as a nuisance isn’t part of good poker etiquette.
Never Do or Say Anything to Influence Action in a Hand That You’re No Longer In
Never try saying anything or doing something to influence the action in a hand that you’re no longer playing. That means not announcing things related to the current hand, not discussing the current hand, not visually or verbally reacting to the hand in progress, and not saying what your hole cards were. It’s best to remain silent and let the hand play out.
Don’t “Angle Shoot”
An “angle shoot” is when a player intentionally makes an unethical move to take advantage of less experienced players at the table. Naturally, everyone looks down upon it, and even though it isn’t cheating, it’s not proper etiquette and should be avoided.
Examples of angle shooting include, but are not limited to:
- Acting out of turn intentionally
- Trying to see the hole cards of another player
- Hiding your high-value chips
- Stating you have a winning hand when you don’t
Don’t “Hit and Run”
Even though it may be tempting to gather all your winnings and check out from the game, you should never attempt a “hit and run.” This is when you win a large pot and immediately pack up your chips and leave the table without giving the player a chance to win back their losses. It’s a cowardly move and isn’t proper poker etiquette.
Be a Gracious Winner
When you win big, don’t try and rub it into the other players’ faces, no matter how competitive or intense the action. Likewise, please don’t insult the losing players by celebrating in their faces to provoke them. It’s rude and irritating, and you should always be gracious about winning the game.
Be a Gracious Loser
Don’t throw a tantrum when you lose the game because there is nothing worse than a bad loser at the table, especially if you start complaining about your cards and accusing other players of cheating or using unfair means to win. Instead, be gracious in defeat and accept the loss like a professional.
Poker Etiquette in Online Games
Most poker players believe that proper poker etiquette is only reserved for playing at the table and shouldn’t be considered when you’re playing online. However, that isn’t true, as you need to follow basic poker rules and proper poker etiquettes whether you’re playing poker live in Las Vegas at a casino or poker websites online.
When playing poker online, ensure that you’re well-behaved and that other players at the table feel good and are having fun playing the game. Generally, you communicate with other players through the online chat option, but you must never abuse it when playing poker.
Here are other things you should avoid doing while playing poker online:
Don’t Reveal Your Cards to Other Players
You shouldn’t try and cheat other players by revealing your cards after you have folded. That creates additional tension and doesn’t serve any purpose for you in the game.
Never Insult or Berate Other Players
Keep calm when playing poker online, which is easier said than done. Most people believe they can act with impunity because they are behind a computer screen and often abuse players. Avoid doing that, and don’t be rude with other players, even if you lose.
Don’t Give Unsolicited Advice
It’s always best not to waste your time disrupting others during the game by giving them unsolicited advice. It may be out of noble intentions, but there is no point in teaching others or explaining things to them during the game. Instead of worrying about others, you need to focus on your game.
Avoid Typing in All-Caps
It’s not only rude and annoying but also signals that you’re shouting at other players. Nobody likes reading what you’re typing in all-caps, and players will most likely ignore you.
Don’t Delay or Hold-up the Game
Another thing you should avoid doing when playing poker online is holding up the game unnecessarily. If you already know you will fold your hand, you should do it immediately instead of taking several minutes to decide what you should do. Keep the game’s flow fast, and ensure you’re not using delaying tactics to frustrate other players.
Poker Etiquette for Texas Hold’em
You must follow the same poker etiquettes mentioned above when you’re playing Texas Hold ’em. You need to ensure that you’re having fun, but not at the cost of ruining other players’ experiences. Therefore, here are some more basic poker rules for Texas Hold ’em:
Always Play in Turn
Don’t try to jump the gun and play when it isn’t your turn. Instead, try to keep the game fair and ensure that everyone is playing according to their turns. That means being attentive and knowing when your turn is coming so that the game continues smoothly.
Be Aware of When It’s Your Turn to Post the Blinds and Do So Promptly
Don’t delay when posting the times, and be aware of when it’s your turn. You want to ensure that the game moves forward and that you’re not wasting time or getting distracted. That will ensure everyone is having fun playing the game.
Talk to the Dealer If There’s a Discrepancy
Avoid complaining or talking to other players if there’s a discrepancy, and air your concerns to the dealer directly. If you’re not satisfied with the dealer, you can discuss it with a floorperson. You don’t need to talk with other players about your problems as they can’t do much about it.
Place Your Bets in Front of You
Never splash your bets into the pot but place them in front of you. That shows respect to the dealer and allows everyone to get a good look at your bet. Again, it’s something that everyone around the table will respect.
Do Not Show Your Hand to Other Players When a Hand Is in Progress
There is no need to show your hand to other players at the table, especially when the hand is already in progress. It’s bad practice and does nothing to help you in the game when playing Texas Hold ’em.
Tell the Dealer When You Intend to Raise
You should notify the dealer when you decide to raise. Then, you should announce the total on the table or move it forward so that everyone can see it. This ensures there is no possibility of a “string raise,” and the game is fair for everyone.
Don’t Forget to Tip Your Dealer
Don’t forget to be generous to your dealer, as they work for minimum wages, and their primary source of income is tipping. So you can make a massive difference by ensuring they have something at the end of the game.
Live Poker Etiquette
You need to ensure that you’re following proper etiquette when playing live poker at the table to enhance the experience for everyone.
Here are some of the live poker etiquette you should be aware of the next time you play:
Do Not Slow-Roll in Poker
A “slow-roll” is one of the worst things you can do when playing poker, which is why you should avoid it. The slow-roll is when you have had your best hand, but you refuse to show it, making the other players think they will win. It’s a matter of respect and proper poker etiquette, which is why you shouldn’t try to deceive or cheat the other player with a slow roll.
Always Act in Turn
Again, remember not to act too soon when it isn’t your turn, and always act swiftly when it is. When you play outside your turn, you are giving valuable information to the next player after you, which is unfair to others on the table. You may not do it intentionally, but it’s an accident you can easily avoid by paying attention.
Put Your Most Valuable Chips in Front
It’s unethical to hide your most valuable chips behind a stack of lower ones. It’s mainly done to deceive other players and can be considered cheating. So don’t try and hide your stack of high-value chips with your hands and ensure that they are visible so other players can make informed decisions.
Do Not Show Your Hand to Other Players
You shouldn’t reveal your hand to other players, even if they’ve already folded. It may give away the strength of your hand unintentionally and also goes against official poker rules. You should play your poker hand yourself and not seek help from outside or help others by showing them your hand.
Bad Poker Etiquette Examples
If you’ve played poker before, you’re familiar with the playing etiquette and what you should avoid at all costs during the game. Poker is a social game, which means you must consider other players’ feelings and respect them during the game.
Here are some more things you should never do when playing poker to avoid bad etiquette:
Never try and be a spoilsport by slowing the pace of the game down intentionally. Stalling when you’ve already made up your mind about your next move is unnecessary. Also, avoid delaying the game by attempting to multitask while playing.
Not Maintaining Good Hygiene
You will be seated around other players during poker, which means you have to show respect by maintaining good hygiene. Take a shower and ensure you don’t smell by wearing fresh clothes when seated around the table.
Misrepresenting Your Hand
One of the worst things you can do at the poker table is claim that you are holding a winning hand when you have nothing. It’s frowned upon in the poker community as you’re essentially misleading and cheating the other players around the table. A lot of beginners seem to think this is a proper way to bluff – it is not.
Even if you don’t know the proper etiquette for playing poker, most unwritten rules are basic, and it all boils down to common sense. Overall, you should be respectful to the dealer and other players around the table at all times and avoid sharing misleading information about your hands.
By following these basic rules, you can ensure you have an excellent time playing the game and even improve your chances of winning.
Don’t worry if you still have doubts, as we have shared some frequently asked questions regarding proper poker etiquette:
What should you not do in poker?
Always act like a gentleman and don’t try to cheat other players or bother them in any way to ruin their strategy. Also, don’t use underhanded tactics to disrupt the game and gain an advantage, as it’s highly frowned upon in the poker community.
Can you leave the poker table whenever you want?
The official rules of poker at casinos allow players to leave the poker table anytime they want. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about leaving the table if you no longer want to stick around.
Can you leave in the middle of a game?
No, it’s common courtesy to stay at the table even after finishing your turn or folding. Therefore, you can’t simply get up and leave in the middle of the game, as you must wait until the round is finished. This happens when a winner has been declared.
Do you shuffle after every hand in Texas Hold ’em?
Poker rules vary depending on the actual game. In Texas Hold ’em, the official rule states that the cards must be shuffled after every hand. The top card is never dealt with, and the bottom card needs to be covered. So, the answer to that question is yes.