Poker Table Etiquette for Newbies

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People take gambling seriously. Very seriously. Even games that aren’t such high-stakes attract players who are very passionate about the game.

Poker especially brings out the competitive side of people.

You might have some gambling experience from playing in an online casino, but land-based gambling is a little different. If you’ve never played a high-stakes game in a casino, you might not know how to avoid making enemies, simply because you aren’t displaying proper etiquette.

Before heading to the casino, it is essential to know some general etiquette rules to act appropriately. And to realize that pretty much each casino has etiquette rules based on the game you play (check out this article from GamblersDailyDigest on blackjack etiquette rules, and compare them to what we’re writing about below!)

Most casinos have a dress code, varying from black tie formal to casual. It is essential to know how to dress, so you look like you belong.

These general rules are true for all situations, but the poker table is a whole different scene. When there is money on the line that depends on how you play, games can get intense.

These tips for proper poker table etiquette will help you play more confidently and keep the game rolling smoothly.

Keep Your Cards on the Table

Playing cards at home might mean doing whatever it takes to hide your hand from nosy family and friends. Securing your hand might involve blocking them with various objects or hiding the cards under the table.

Taking the cards off the table is a big no-no during a game of poker. It could lead to being led out by security because it is a way people try to cheat.

Instead of putting your hands or cards under the table, keep them face down on the table and only lift them slightly to see what cards you have. It is the best way to keep them completely hidden from neighboring players.

It is also smart to keep them on the table so the dealer can see if he’s dealing correctly-without skipping you or dealing too many cards.

It might not be the most obvious practice to keep your cards on the table, but it is the right way to play a game of poker.

Pay Attention to the Game

Casinos contain many distractions that might tempt you to look away from the game. A TV, other players, or big wins on a nearby slot or table might try to steal your attention.

Keep your head in the game, so you don’t end up slowing down the pace. Make sure you are not holding up the game by taking a long time to make decisions. Think quickly and stay smart to make the game more fun.

Another fundamental way to eliminate a big distraction is to keep your phone hidden away or even in the hotel room. If it rings, it could distract you from gameplay and also disturb other gamblers. At the very least, put your phone in ‘do not disturb’ mode.

Don’t let yourself get lost in things outside the poker table.

Don’t Talk About the Hands in Play

It might be challenging to hide your feelings about your hand, but it is a huge part of poker to keep the cards in play a secret.

Don’t discuss your hand or the hands of others. If you happen to see another player’s cards accidentally, keep that to yourself.

If you are out of the game but still observing, don’t talk about what others have. It’s best to maintain a “poker face” to keep the playing field even and fair.

Mike Tan from Online Casino Gems also suggests that players should be very careful not to discuss what hand they’re currently playing: 

“You also should avoid discussing the cards that you throw away. Remember that there are only a certain number of each card in a deck. If you tip the other players off that you discarded one, seasoned players could figure out the odds of another one being in play.”

To avoid making any mistakes, try not to talk during play unless it is to vocalize the action you are taking.

Brick-and-mortar casinos are still fun if you know how to play them right. Enjoy a land-based game of poker and keeps those cards a secret.

Tip Servers and Dealers

While it is not a requirement, it is always a nice gesture to tip the dealer at the poker table. They work hard, so if they do well, let them know.

Dealers spend long hours on their feet, showing you a good time, so it is the right thing to do to show your appreciation.

The same goes for the servers that check up on you and bring you drinks. They’re just like any other serving staff  working primarily for tips.

It won’t put you in the poor house to give even just a dollar to the people making your night more exciting.

It is proper etiquette to tip the people that help you enjoy your time.

Don’t Be a Sore Loser or an Ungracious Winner

With money at stake, it is easy to get passionate. Despite your feelings, it is essential to always keep it classy during a win or a loss.

If you lose, it’s proper etiquette to not bang on the table or curse. You’ll look silly and make everyone else feel uncomfortable. Acting out could also mean a visit from casino security.

While winning is exciting, you want to take it graciously. Bragging and loudly cheering for a while is just rude, so take the win calmly.

Making a scene in either situation is not necessary for the casino setting.

Always Be Polite

“Please” and “thank you” go a long way in any situation. During a game of poker, respect the other players, dealers, and servers to demonstrate proper etiquette.

Nobody appreciates a rude player that shows no manners, no matter how angry you might be at the cards you get.

Stay kind and maintain a friendly demeanor to enjoy the game more.

Poker games are fun when you know how to play and act with respect. Don’t let the wins and losses get into your head.

Play for fun and remember these few critical etiquette rules to make sure you and the other players have the best game of poker possible.

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