The unwritten rules of poker etiquette

The unwritten rules of poker are just as important in some ways as those that are written down. They may not be rules of the game as such, but these codes of behavior are ones that most players are generally expected to abide by. Some may be broken on occasion, but all should be observed as a general principle of proper poker etiquette.

Some of the unwritten rules are just picked up through experience. Breaches can be forgiven in a beginner but will be less tolerated if they keep on recurring. In other cases they are just basic politeness and good manners, that one hopes people would observe in most situations anyway.

Be respectful

 Treat everyone else at the table politely, especially the dealer. It’s not their fault if you’ve been dealt a poor hand, and they shouldn’t be subject to abuse or even what you may think of as a light-hearted expression of your frustration. Swaggering, boastful behavior is likewise distinctly uncalled for, and bad language is similarly frowned upon in most poker games these days.

Announce your action clearly

 When you make a move, whether to call or fold, clearly tell the whole table what you’re about to do. The other players and the dealer can’t be expected to read your mind, and it’s not always obvious what you’re doing unless you state it clearly. Do this just before you make the move rather than just afterwards, using simple concise language. No-one is going to be impressed if you disguise your intentions with hipster slang.

Act swiftly

 Whether you’re playing at a live table or using the best NJ gambling app, don’t take too long in making your move as this holds up the game unnecessarily. There are commonly three reasons why someone might do this: either they’re distracted by something outside of the game, they are deliberately showing off to increase the tension, or (the only legitimate excuse) they are genuinely unsure as to what the best move should be. Part of being a good poker player is learning to make quick decisions: hesitating too long for the latter reason just looks amateurish, but doing so for any other reason is plain old bad manners.

Be modest and gracious whatever the outcome

 No-one likes a bad loser, but arguably we dislike an ungracious winner even more. If you’ve had a big win, the other players are going to be feeling bad enough without you rubbing it in. Instead, play it cool, thank everyone, and tip the dealer and the serving staff appropriately. It’s also considered bad form to ‘hit and run’ by leaving the table immediately after a big win, even at a Sit n Go game. It’s important to be able to quit while you’re ahead but, if you can afford it, give your opponents a chance to win some of their money back.

These are just a few tips on how to behave graciously at the poker table. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it starts to build up a picture of what a polite and well-liked poker player looks like. Pay attention to the game, don’t try to act flash, and control your emotions. You’ll not only win friends (or at least make fewer enemies); you’ll be a better poker player as well.