Poker etiquette: How to behave at the poker table


Strictly defined conduct rules do not reflect the situation fully in all the cases. Rules are just a framework that needs to be filled. Etiquette has this function of filling in. In most cases, players don’t realize this term correctly.

What is etiquette? It is the way to behave that is expected – in this case – by the players at the table. Etiquette is a set of requirements of behavior in any society. Poker society is also social, so it has some unwritten rules.

Etiquette allows society to exist more comfortably and smoothens all the angles of strictly defined rules. More to that, there are plenty of rules in poker that should not exist at all. Not all the people abide etiquette

For instance, swearing at the table. The rules of World Series of Poker strictly say: insults towards dealers and other players are strictly prohibited. Especially using the word “fuck”. BUT! Players swear a lot after a bad hand – "fuck me"! This phrase doesn’t insult anyone specifically, it is headed to no one. It is  against the rules, but the players won’t complain about it (if it doesn’t happen a lot).

Don’t be slow

All the players are willing to speed up gaming process. Why? Well, because it’s slow (it is not online poker after all), and there are plenty of factors slowing it down. He sufficient percenteage of all the etiquette requirements is connected with this. A man is able to slow the game down in many ways, and that irritates everyone.

  1. Show me your hand

Many years before players had to show their cards on the showdown. It is not required now, but many people use this rule to fill their needs: diminish someone or get additional information, slow down the game and so on.

Don’t do that. It is more profitable to not see the opponent’s hand at all. If he calls on the river a lot and loses, therefore, he widens his range too much. He probably does that as he doesn’t have to show his hand. Otherwise, he would probably be afraid to be ashamed and would narrow his range.

  1. Listening to the music

In most cases, it is allowed to listen to the music in poker clubs and casinos, but if the dealer tells you multiple times that some of your actions are inappropriate – it is a violation of etiquette rules. Other players have to wait and no one likes to do that.

  1. Glasses and hats

Wear what you want, but if it slows down the play… in general, if you notice that you see cards worse through your sun glasses or your hat and you have to spend more time – get rid of what’s bothering you.


  1. Bon Appétit!

You’d better get rid of food if you can’t sound firmly with your mouth full – or if you can’t choose what to do – take your fork or your cards. We get it – no one has to sit hungry for the whole day, but you can always have a short break and don’t get other players irritated and distracted from the gaming process.

In addition to that, not all the players respectfully treat their opponents. There were accidents when players user their cards as a napkin to wipe their mouth and folded the hand.  Leave aside ha fact many people eat with bare hands and leave dirt, grease and other unpleasant stuff on the cards.

Are you sure your colleagues wash the hands after using the rest room?

  1. Throwing chips

One can look spectacular at the table without original ways to make bets, Don’t throw the chips to the middle of the table. Firstly, dealer has to collect them and do this as carefully as possible (to show the other players and cameras that he doesn’t take anything away), secondly, it is simply disrespectful.

Some dealers answer players back in the same manner – by throwing towards them a pile of chips like they throw a bone to a dog. They act otherwise with adequate players.

Try not to just carefully stack chips but also form they in a manner understandable for the dealer. For instance, making a bet of $25 – put five $5 chips. Expensive chips on the bottom, chip ones on the top. If there are $220 in your bet, make two stacks of $100 and $120.

Well, do it as much comfortable for you and dealer as it is possible.


  1. Stack

Keep your stack clean. Form the stacks of chips, which the dealer will be able to recognize right away – for instance, 20 chips of a single nominal. Put stacks with expensive chips in front, don’t hide it from the curious eyes. That way other players and the dealer will be able to quickly asses your stack.

  1. Show your hand

In many rooms the one who made the bet last opens his cards first. If you know about it but still hold out for some reason – that would be not appreciated. Especially if you have a winning hand – there is no reason to wait. Open your cards right away, this would save your time.

  1. Time is money

If you need to think more than 5 seconds over some decision, tell the dealer about it. That way he will realize you’re not wondering of upcoming season of “Game of Thrones” and actually think on how profitably play out the hand.

Always consider the fact that the more experienced players recognize the strength or weakness of the hand. If you are a bad actor, don’t think a lot, play in your usual tempo.


  1. Run It Twice

You like to deal board twice in all-ins? Then ask dealer beforehand whether it is possible at the stakes you play and how it happens. These situations take a lot of time, especially if you discuss terms with your opponent. This is not a TV table and not a poker show 0 your deals are only interesting to you. Respect other players.

  1. Stories at the table

And the last but not the least – a one very common problem. Many people like to communicate with other at the table. And that is 100% normal. But when the hand is discussed right in time of the hand – that is too much.

When someone starts to teach you: “You should have played like this”, “You’re wrong here” and so on – this is violation of etiquette rules as well.

Better speak something neutral for your talks and don’t disturb other players. If someone of your opponents tries to talk with you too often, don’t ignore him. This is rude  to say the least. Keep the distance but don’t try to communicate too much as well. Keep the balance as playing table is not bazaar.

We’ll round it up here. These are not all the rules, but the most common of the situations connected with poker etiquette. You should always remember there are other people at the table. Before doing something, ask yourself: “Will I be disturbing towards someone? Will I slow down the play?” The positive answer to these questions should lean your towards denial of these actions.

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