Casino Poker Etiquette – The Basics
In general, poker etiquette means a set of unofficial rules that players are expected to follow during gameplay and on the poker table. While not following most rules will not get you disqualified or asked to leave the table, it will show a lack of respect and sportsmanship towards your fellow players.
We will also talk about online poker etiquette, but that will come later in our guide as most of these guidelines are for players that physically sit on a poker table in a gambling establishment. Below, we will list the most notable points of casino poker etiquette that you should follow.
Don’t Disturb Other Players
Don’t Waste Time
Don’t Get into Arguments
Do Not Act or Say Anything to Influence a Hand That You’re No Longer In
Don’t do Angle Shooting
Avoid Leaving the Table Immediately After Winning (Hit and Run)
Don’t be a Sore Looser
Win with Grace
On the one hand, most unwritten rules seem easy to understand, but others will require a deeper explanation, especially for new players yet to learn proper poker etiquette. We will next go over each DOs and DON’Ts that will promote sportsmanship and a healthy atmosphere.
Even when you’re playing at the best online poker sites, there are still some guidelines to follow, especially when communicating with other players. Poker is a competitive and stressful game, especially when the wagers increase. Being generally accepted as a respectful and fair player that follows casino poker etiquette shows understanding and sportsmanship.
Showing Respect at the Poker Table
One of the foundations of good casino poker etiquette is to be polite and respectful to other players and keep the atmosphere friendly. You should not comment or react to the way other people are playing. You can affect their psyche or even show them the true level of your skill. Don’t verbally abuse the dealer or serving staff. Swearing or ruining the game in any manner is also not acceptable.
Don’t Disturb Others
This rule can also be considered a part of the way you show respect at the table. It is considered impolite and disrespectful when you disturb other players, especially when a hand is still in play. You should keep the tone of your voice at a lower level, and you should not talk too much as others are thinking and keeping their head in the game.
Don’t Waste Time and Act Swiftly
Proper poker table etiquette dictates that you should not be disturbed while thinking during your turn. On the other hand, you should not be wasting the time of other players and try to act swiftly. Try to focus and play your hand without paying attention to other things or talking to the staff. In some cases, especially during tournaments, players can “call the clock”, which will put a time limit to your turn. Some poker tournaments even have a fixed time for each turn.
Focus and Pay Attention
This is an important part of poker etiquette because when all the players are focused and don’t waste any time, it promotes good game flow and speed of play. While it is quite common nowadays for players to have their headphones on and listen to music, you should still ensure that you are not distracted from the game. There is a wide range of poker tells that you should look out for to improve your gameplay.
Avoid Unnecessary Arguments
Understandably, the game can get tense, especially when the stakes are high but you should refrain from starting any arguments with other players. If you also value good poker table etiquette and have a discrepancy with another player, advise the dealer (staff) or contact the support team if you’re playing online. If you’re to accuse another player of cheating, you must be 100% sure.
Do Not Influence Hands You Are No Longer a Part Of
This rule is important and another one of the foundations of proper poker etiquette. If you fold and are no longer a part of a hand that is still being played, keep comments and actions to yourself. It is frowned upon and frustrating for other players if you do something that will influence a game you are not a part of because you folded.
Do not announce your folded cards, do not show your cards to another player before you fold and keep any reactions to a hand being dealt to yourself. It is also considered bad etiquette to discuss a hand that is still in play.
Angle Shooting – Unethical and Deceptive
Angle shooting is when a player is deceptive and intentionally tries to take advantage of other players. A great example is to be talking to another player about how they should act out their hand while still involved in a multi-way pot. Angle shooting can also be considered when you’re being intentionally unclear about your actions or misrepresent your hand. This is considered very unethical by poker players.
Avoid Doing a “Hit and Run”
Hitting and running refers to a player almost immediately leaving the table after winning a large pot. It is considered disrespectful and improper casino poker etiquette. Of course, something can happen, or you will have a respectful reason to leave. In that case, apologising to your fellow players is considered a courtesy and excuses yourself.
Avoid Being a Sore Loser
No one likes to lose, especially when real money is involved. But also, no one likes a sore loser. Avoid swearing, slamming the table, throwing cards and chips around and showing aggression. While it may be frustrating, you should not complain or criticise the play of others when you lose. You lost for a reason, and it is respectful to appreciate your opponents and lose graciously.
Win with Grace
In some cases, winning can be exhilarating, and you can be overwhelmed with endorphins. While you are allowed to be happy for your winning hand, it is frowned upon when you overdo your celebration. Do not try to rub your win in the noses of other players and add salt to the wound. It is perfectly acceptable and proper poker etiquette to quietly tip the dealer and stack your chips.
Poker Table Etiquette and General Gameplay Guidelines
After going through the 10 basic rules of proper poker etiquette, we would like to go over some more rules you should follow while at the poker table. Maybe the most important thing that you will need to learn is to carry out your actions on the table with clarity.
A great example is the way you view your cards. You should make sure to protect them from other payers’ views. Another example is the way you put chips forward. Whether you’re sure you will be understood or not, you should still clearly announce what your intentions are.
The way you stack your chips in front of you is also something to consider. It is considered proper poker table etiquette that you stack your chips in neat, easily countable piles of 20 without hiding one stack behind the other. This is because many players decide upon their actions based on how many chips the opponent has, and in general, it shows respect towards the other participants.
We would like to note two more general casino poker etiquette tips that are frequently overlooked. The first one is personal hygiene. We will not go in-depth here as it is self-explanatory. The second one is to tip your dealer or serving staff. Tipping the staff after receiving a drink or meal is considered customary. Also, after winning a medium or larger pot, you should also tip the dealer. See what other veteran players are doing if you’re ever confused about how much.
Poker Etiquette Guidelines During Gameplay
After getting the general poker table etiquette points out of the way, we would like to talk more about the unwritten rules applied during gameplay. It will not be enough to act properly on the table; the way you play should also be respectful and inoffensive.
By this time, you might think that poker players are either quite gentlemen or fussy. It may seem that way, but you should consider that large sums are frequently played in this game. The stakes are high, and the pressure is on, so players accept these unwritten rules to ensure a friendly atmosphere.
Let’s start off with the way you place a bet. You should clearly announce your action so that everyone, especially the dealer, knows what you’re doing. When making a bet, whether a raise or a call, you should place your chips forward carefully and avoid what is called “splashing the pot”.
If you just throw your poker chips unannounced and unclearly into the pot, it will be a hassle for the dealer and the players to figure out how much you’re placing forward. This is regarded as highly disrespectful and very frowned upon. You should also know that placing one chip in the pot in many cardrooms means you are making a “call”, no matter the chip’s value.
When you want to make a raise, you should make sure that you put into the pot at least double the size of the previous bet and ensure to specifically call out “raise”. If you announced that you were making a raise and then said that you wanted to call, this would be considered an angle shoot. It is considered unethical by most players.
Showing your cards also affects others’ perceptions of you. If it is your turn to show the cards, do so without wasting any time. This should be done even if you have one of the best hands in poker at the showdown. Taking your time before turning your cards can confuse others that you’re hesitant or not sure of your hand, giving them the idea that they still have a chance to win. It is quite unethical and called a “slow roll”.
Proper poker etiquette also dictates that when you fold, you should keep your cards low to the table and not expose them. You should also push them forward enough so that they are within hands reach of the dealer. Mucked cards stay mucked. Don’t ask other players what their mucked hand is, and certainly don’t turn them over yourself. This is quite disrespectful.
Although it might sound like common sense, you should also make sure that you know the rules of poker. It is amateur and considered disrespectful to sit at a table without knowing what the rules are. Some might debate whether poker is a skill or luck game, but in the end knowledge is essential.
Poker Etiquette in Casino Tournaments
When you’re attending a tournament, except for maintaining a proper casino etiquette, you should also keep a few things in mind. First, you should never verbally agree to check it down. This is the case when a player is all-in in a game with three or more participants, and others decide to check it down and let the hand play out until the showdown without any additional bets.
Tipping your dealer or serving staff during tournaments is considered customary. Do not forget to do it. Some casino establishments include a gratitude fee towards the dealers as part of the entry fee. It is good poker etiquette in casino tournaments that the winner tips the dealers.
General Online Poker Etiquette
You should follow some unwritten online poker etiquette rules, even though you are behind a screen. While most of the guidelines that we covered so far are not applicable in online poker, there are still some rules that you should follow.
Typing in the Chat Box in Capital Letters – avoid doing it as you appear angry and annoy both the players and dealers.
Observers Should Not Over-Indulge in Chatting – if you’re on the rail and observing, keep most comments to yourself to avoid distracting other players.
Avoid Verbal Abuse – this goes without saying, but it is proper online poker etiquette to keep the chat box clean of any abusive comments towards the dealer or other players.
Don’t Reveal Your Hand – revealing your hand in the chat box is considered bad poker etiquette.
Don’t Comment After a Fold – you should avoid commenting on a hand in play that you’re no longer a part of after folding.
Congratulate Others – feel free to congratulate the winners and keep a positive atmosphere.
You Can Mute Others – if by any chance there is a player that annoys you or has improper online poker etiquette, you can mute them in the chat box.
Don’t Waste Time – this is the same as with live poker. Do your best to act swiftly and not waste other players’ time.
If you’re new to the idea of playing poker online and would like to practice it a bit before risking real money, then you can join one of the free online poker sites. There, you can also practice proper poker etiquette, as it is welcomed there even when no real money is involved.
Final Thoughts About Poker Etiquette
As a conclusion to our guide, we would like to mention the most notable points of good poker etiquette. In general, you should avoid wasting the time of others, avoid disturbing or ruining the game, act with clarity and not overly show any emotion that will disrupt the game. Maintaining good poker etiquette in a casino will make you a respected regular player and a wanted addition to any table, even by the best poker players.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, we will showcase the most popular queries that players have towards maintaining proper casino poker etiquette. If you don’t manage to find what you’re looking for below, you can always contact us with your question, and we will do our best to answer it rapidly.
1️⃣ What should you not do while playing poker?
There is a variety of unwritten rules that poker players like to follow in order to keep the atmosphere healthy and promote sportsmanship. Learning the basics of poker etiquette is your first step towards becoming a respected player.
2️⃣ What to avoid while playing poker?
If you have the basics down, then your next step is to maintain proper poker table etiquette. Great examples are to clearly announce your actions, stack your chips in a visible manner, and tip the dealer after winning a hand.
3️⃣ What is bad poker etiquette?
A great example of bad poker etiquette is to be disrespectful towards your fellow players verbally. Another great one is to “splash the pot” when you call or raise. You should ensure to remain respectful and carefully carry out your actions as not to disrupt the game.
4️⃣ Is it rude to leave a poker table after winning?
Yes, it is considered rude and disrespectful towards the players. Making a hit and run right after winning a medium or large pot is highly frowned upon. If there is a respectful reason for your leaving, you should advise your opponents calmly and collectedly.
5️⃣ Is it rude to slow roll in poker?
Slow rolling is wasting time before turning over your cards at a showdown when you are sure you have the winning hand. This can negatively affect other players’ psyche, and it is very disrespectful. Please try to avoid slow rolling and follow the poker etiquette while playing.