Live Poker Etiquette

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Live poker has developed its own set of etiquette rules to help keep the games flowing smoothly and fairly. Many of the live card rooms that you may play at have a basic set of etiquette rules that are commonplace in every room.

However, each poker room and casino may have their own specific rules on what is acceptable at the table and what is not. For example, what may be acceptable at The Bellagio in Las Vegas may not be acceptable at The Moncton Casino in New Brunswick. It's always good to familiarise yourself with the house rules before you start playing.

Despite the possible minor differences from one B&M Casino to the next, below are the top guidelines for basic live poker etiquette.

1] Don't ‘Slowroll’.

Slowrolling is a term to describe the way a player waits for a time before showing the winning cards at a show down. If you believe that you hold the winning hand then you should lay your cards down on the table for your opponents to see instead of waiting for other players to show their losing hands first.

The reason behind this rule is that slowrolling slows down game play and gives other players a false sense that they have won the pot. It is not good poker etiquette to lead a player into believing that they have the best hand and have won the pot until the last moment where you show them your winning hand.

2] Don't talk about your cards in the middle of a hand.

By discussing the cards in your hand, you are influencing the course of play of that particular hand. Even if your cards are in the muck and you are no longer involved, you should refrain from discussing the cards that you were dealt whilst the hand is in play. This also involves not showing any emotion when cards come down that may have made you a big hand.

This rule is in place because the cards you mention may have an impact on the way the hand develops as some of the players may be drawing to the cards that you are holding or have mucked. This could cause the players to play the hand differently and so is considered as bad poker etiquette.

3] Do not splash the pot.

‘Splashing’ the pot is where you make a bet or raise and throw the chips recklessly into the center of the table. This is poor poker etiquette because it makes the pot size difficult to calculate and generally makes things awkward for the dealer and winning player.

It is far easier to collect a pot consisting of a few ordered stacks of chips rather than scooping in a number or singular un-ordered chips. When you make a bet consisting of a number of chips, you should place that bet into the center of the table in an orderly stack.

4] Do not string bet.

String betting is where you declare a raise and reach back and forth from your chip stack to place the chips into the pot. This causes problems because a player that acts after you may believe that the first stack of chips that you put into the pot was your total raise and proceed to make their action on the hand.

String betting is one of the most common mistakes made by new players to the live game.

When making a bet or raise it is best to put the chips into the pot in one motion rather than one stack at a time, or to verbally state the raise before moving your chips into the pot.

5] Do not act out of turn.

Always keep an eye on your table position and wait for the action to get to you before making your play in any hand. You may have no interest in the hand at all, but you should always wait you turn before throwing your hand into the muck. By acting out of turn you disrupt the flow of the hand and may influence other players in the hand to act differently.

6] Do not be rude or offensive.

If the cards are not falling your way or you are receiving a number of bad beats, it does not give you the right to be offensive to the other players at the table. Poker is meant to be enjoyable, and by making rude or offensive remarks it simply makes the game less enjoyable and creates an uncomfortable atmosphere.

Remember that each of the players are playing with their own money, and so it is ultimately up to them how they wish to play with it.

7] Pay attention to the game.

When you are involved in a hand you should always pay attention and keep up with the action. It can become very frustrating to other players at the table if they constantly have to remind you that it is your turn to act. It also slows the game down if you frequently have to ask, “How much is the raise?” or “who is it on to act.

Live poker etiquette overview.

Some of these rules are put in place by casinos or card rooms, whereas other rules have evolved from the common decency and fair play that is expected by players at the poker table. The difference is that the casino rules will earn you a caution if you go against them, and the general player rules of etiquette may frustrate and annoy other players at the table if you go against them.

This may sound as if card rooms and players are strict on how you are expected to act at a poker table, but in fairness the rules of etiquette are probably in accordance to the way you would intend to act at a live table anyway. It as always best to familiarise yourself with these rules of etiquette beforehand rather than by finding out the hard way and frustrating other players at the table.

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