Top 5 Live Poker Etiquette Mistakes

20 August 2008, Created By: Sean Lind
If you've never played live poker before, you probably aren't familiar with all the nuances and quirks in the book of poker etiquette.

As a rookie at the tables, you're inevitably going to make a few missteps before you understand the lay of the land in a poker room. Not a big deal.

And although there are a lot of faux pas you can make, only a few are really viewed as being big etiquette breaches.

These should be pretty obvious. And, in theory, you should be able to avoid them just out of common sense.

That being said, though, common sense can be a scarce commodity in a poker room, so here's a list of the Top 5 biggest blunders players make at the table.

If you'd like to become even more well-versed in poker etiquette, check out an in-depth article here.

Nikolay Evdakov
Nobody likes a staller.

5) Stalling. It's true that poker is a social event, and many people are just playing to have a good time.

But in today's post-online poker world, the rate of hands being dealt at a live table is marginally bearable at the best of times. The last thing the table wants is for one player to slow the game any further.

I've seen players, with the action waiting on them, get engrossed in receiving their food order, chatting, paying, flirting, asking questions ... all of these things would be just fine if we didn't have to sit and watch you do it.

Play your hand first; get rejected by the waitress second.

4) Not Showering. Ladies and gentlemen, for the love of whatever you find holy, take a shower at least some point in the 24 hours before you step into a poker room.

I am constantly being seated next to people with a personal bouquet strong enough to make your eyes water. I understand that you're playing cards rather than going on a date, but that doesn't mean you're allowed to smell like a Fremen's stillsuit.

You want to keep fish on your table; making them run away in disgust is a poor tactic for accomplishing this.

3) Asking to See Mucked Hands. What a player does with their own money, or cards, is up to them. Any player can play any hand any way they like (as long as it's within the house rules).

If after losing a pot a player chooses to muck his hand, not showing anyone the losing hand, it's up to them.

Mickey Appleman
For some, disheveled is just a look. For others, more of a lifestyle.

Even though there are rules in place that will allow any player on the table to request to see a called hand on the river, it is very, very, very poor etiquette to do so. The rule is there to safeguard against players cheating by collaborating.

That means that if you invoke it, you'll be seen to be questioning the integrity of the other player. So don't use it as a method to gain information on the hands of your opponents.

2) Misrepresenting Your Hand or Action. One of the biggest faux pas you can make is to misrepresent your hand or action. When I say misrepresent your hand, I'm talking about saying you have a strong hand after all action is complete, when you actually have a weak hand.

The opposite of a slow roll, misrepresenting your hand can cause your opponents to prematurely fold the best hand, thinking you have them beat. This is against the rules in most poker rooms, but qualifies as an etiquette breach as well.

Misrepresenting your action is another frowned-upon maneuver. Players who tailor their actions or words to convince their opponent that they intend a certain play, when in fact they don't, are going to find themselves persona non grata at the felt.

Puggy Pearson used to be notorious for sliding a stack of chips across the line inside his fist without letting go so that his opponent, thinking he was just called, would turn over his hand.

At that point, if Puggy was beat, he'd pull back his chips, saying that he never intended to make the call in the first place.

Men 'The Master' 
Seriously: don't slow roll. People hate that.

I've seen fights break out in poker rooms when players say or do things that appear to be a check. When they see what action their opponent makes, they claim that they never checked, and try to act anew with the information they now have. Not recommended.

1) Slow-Rolling. First off, don't get this confused with slow-playing. Slow-playing, or sandbagging, a hand is just fine. Sure, people get upset when they lose to a slow-played monster, but that's their deal.

Slow-rolling is very different. If you say or do anything that purposely makes another player believe that they've won the hand, when you know you have the best hand, you are slow-rolling.

This maneuver is hands down the greatest breach of poker etiquette you can make. People have been shot over such actions, and I can't say I blame the shooter all that much.

More blogs by Sean Lind:





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