Playing Poker for the first time one learns that there is a certain Code of Etiquette for the game. The tips listed below are separated according to those suitable for physical Poker games and those appropriate for play in online Poker rooms.
Dos and Don’ts at Physical Poker Games
1. Play at reasonable speed – Every once in awhile you are confronted with a situation where you must carefully consider your options, but after pausing to think, you must quickly get back to the game. If you consistently play at a slow speed, you will make the game less enjoyable for others.
2. Be polite – Poker can sometimes be frustrating, but swearing at other players or being critical of their play is counterproductive. Don’t abuse the other players or the dealer.
3. Play in turn – You should not fold your hand or leave your seat until it is your turn to bet.
4. Don’t reveal your cards before the showdown – If you are folding, gently toss your cards to the dealer face down. If you expose them, accidentally or intentionally, this gives important information away, and can affect the outcome of a hand.
5. Don’t take chips off the table – Winning players are tempted to take some of their chips off the table and pocket them, but proper Poker etiquette obliges you to leave all of your chips on the table until you leave the game for good.
6. If you’re not in the hand, keep quiet – If you’re not in the hand, you have no business affecting its outcome. Even body language or gestures can be very telling. Observers of Poker games should make sure not to disturb the seated players: don’t comment, don’t ask questions and don’t stand so close as to make them uncomfortable.
7. Don’t abuse the dealer – Throwing cards at the dealer or using foul language only brands you as an immature, unsophisticated player.
8. Don’t “splash the pot” – When you make a bet, place your chips neatly in front of you in easily countable stacks within the dealer’s reach and let the dealer pull them into the pot. Tossing chips directly into the middle will not allow the other players to know if you put the correct number of chips in.
9. Don’t offer or ask for assistance from other players – “One player to a hand” is a fundamental poker axiom. Asking for advice is considered bad form, as is offering help.
10. Don’t mis-declare your hand – Don’t lie or joke about your hand.
11. Don’t “slow roll” other players – If you realize you hold the winning hand, waiting a long time to show it after the other players have shown their hands is considered very bad form.
12. If unsure, let the dealer read your hand – Inexperienced players should turn to the dealer to determine the value of their hands only as an emergency backup plan.
13. Don’t mess up the table or cards – Keep food and drinks at a side table if at all possible and take care to wipe your hands before handling the cards.
14. Show one, show all – If you win a pot uncontested and show your cards to another player, you have a duty to show everyone else at the table what cards you folded.
Dos and Don’ts at Online Poker Games
1. Play at reasonable speed – This rule is true for online Poker games as well, although most Poker rooms have timing mechanisms that force you to play within a given amount of time. Avoid playing at multiple tables if it slows down your play at one of them, which would disturb the players there.
2. Play games for free until you understand them – This is solid advice for a novice player but also serves as a courtesy to experienced player playing for real money.
3. Be polite – The online version of this rule refers primarily to the Chat facilities at Poker rooms. Abusive players run the risk of getting their Chat privileges removed, or themselves banned, for this sort of behavior.
4. Speak English – Most sites use the English language only, and this should be respected unless otherwise stated. Chat exchanges in any other language are looked upon with suspicion and regarded as bad manners.
5. Chat appropriately – Do not use the chat facility to criticize the site at which you are playing, to advertise other Poker sites or promote personal businesses, or to discuss a hand in progress. You can think or say things, just don’t type them. Do not type in capital letters as it appears you are shouting.
6. Only register once at a website – Creating more than one playing account per person per site will almost certainly bring the wrath of the management down upon you and is generally forbidden on all sites.
7. No cheating or collusion is allowed – Cheating, collusion and fraud are the enemies of every online player and every site and are grounds for instant and permanent blacklisting. Don’t fold intentionally to throw hands in favor of a friend.
8. Avoid possible security lockdowns – Inform site management if you and a friend or family member play from the same computer on different accounts, or if you usually play from a particular location and then change that location. If you and a friend or family member play from different computers but at the same location, avoid playing together at the same game.
9. Don’t tie up a seat – Players are allowed to sit out of a game for awhile, and very often need to for very legitimate reasons, be it the call of nature, dealing with children, or a phone call (this is one of the great benefits of playing from your computer). However, if you know you are leaving a game, please go ahead and leave it rather than keeping your seat tied up, because someone else is waiting to play.