Common Live Poker Etiquette Mistakes

Live Poker Etiquette Guide
From how much to tip the dealer to how to stack your chips, we cover all the important live poker etiquette rules that players should make note of.

If you’re new to playing poker in a live environment, whether it’s a home game or in a poker club, it’s important to remember the rules of etiquette at the table. We’ve compiled a list of mistakes that players who are new to live poker commonly make which can put a damper on the other players’ experience.

Getting Too Drunk

It’s a common situation for new players – you might be nervous or just having lots of fun, and you’re getting a bit too tipsy. There’s nothing wrong with having a few drinks at the table, but you shouldn’t be drinking more than you can handle.

Not only do you risk maybe some very bad, very expensive decision; you can also end up ruining the experience of other players at the table. Everyone just wants to have a good time (and win money) so, be mindful of how much you’re drinking and if you’re getting close to your limit.

Not Paying Attention Near Your Turn

When playing poker online, you can sort of tune out when it’s not your turn – but, you should be keeping an eye on things while playing live. It can really slow down the game and get players annoyed if you’re texting your friends, ordering food or watching videos on your phone.

Of course, you can do these things, but just pay attention to when the action might be coming to you.

Failing to Tip

Tipping at a poker room is different to tipping at a restaurant. There’s no hard and fast rule about how much of a percentage you should tip – but, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t tip at all.

Most players state that you should tip $1 when you win a decently-sized hand, $2-plus if it’s a monster. If you really enjoyed your experience with the dealer, feel free to tip them again once they leave the table.

Making String Bets

When you’re new to online poker, you might not be totally sure of how much to bet – which can result in you accidentally “string betting”. What this means is that you’re putting some money into the pot, and then putting a bit more in shortly after.

It’s really misleading. In some cases, if you just put out one chip without saying anything, it will count as a call. Even if you planned on adding more chips, only the call will count.

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What we advise is, just before you put your chips in, say either:

  • “call”
  • “raise to x dollars”
  • “all in”

This will get you in a good habit of not string betting.

Not Being Clear About Whether or Not You’re in a Hand

The dealer can’t keep tabs on who is still in and who isn’t in hands. So, make sure you keep a chip or a market on your card if you’re still active and haven’t yet folded. Otherwise, they could sweep up your cards with other players’ folded hands.

Keeping Chips Hidden

When you stack your chips, make sure they are easily visible to other players. Your bigger chips should be in front at all times.

Live Poker Stacking Chips
Make sure you’re not accidentally concealing important chips when playing poker live.

Being Distracting

One of the great things about playing poker live is that you get to interact with other players, having fun chats and cracking jokes. However, you should be mindful of your conversations.

If someone is in a hand, don’t talk to them – unless they’ve given you an indication that they’re happy to be chatting while they’re playing. Some players don’t mind making small talk while they’re involved in a hand, but you should just make sure first.

This also means keeping your voice down when other players are in a big pot. If the whole table quiets down, it probably means that something important is happening.

Talking About Hands at the Wrong Time

When you play online, you can exclaim out loud about a hand that’s still in progress – because no one will hear you. In a live environment, it gives away information and disrupts the other players.

So, don’t comment on a hand until it’s completely over. Even if you’ve already folded, there are still other players in the hand who won’t appreciate your commentary.

Not Showering

This may come across as harsh, but it’s a common complaint from my friends in the poker community. Those who play regularly will have at least one story a week about a player at their table who smelled awful.

Don’t be that guy.

Trying to Be Mysterious

Some players get a bit too caught up in the drama of a showdown and want to make things more interesting by showing just one card. Don’t do this, unless everyone else in the hand agrees to this. Otherwise, it could be seen as slow-rolling or just being a bit annoying altogether.

Have Fun!

These rules of etiquette might come across a little harsh or make you think live poker players aren’t any fun – but, these are just a few things to keep in mind so everyone has a good time. So, don’t be shy, get involved in the banter and just remember to enjoy yourself.

This also means not playing with more money that you can afford. If you’re playing outside of your bankroll, a bad beat can put your in a horrible mood and some players even have outbursts. That kind of thing tends to ruin the vibe – so, remember that it’s all in the name of fun.

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