Playing poker is often one of the most enjoyable ways to spend your time in the casino, especially if you’re someone who enjoys the thrill of competing against other players as opposed to a game of pure chance.
There’s a lot that goes into poker though, and your fellow players will expect you to understand poker etiquette when you sit down at the table. Knowing the appropriate etiquette is critical for enjoying your poker game and preventing other players from competing against you specifically.
Plus, obeying poker etiquette can make the game a lot more fun, and even help you read the other players and predict their moves.
Here’s what you need to know before you play.
Good Poker Etiquette
Stay Polite, Even When You’re Bluffing
One of the most important things to remember is that poker is a polite game. It’s important to stay polite and respectful while you’re playing, even if you’re playing a table that jokes and buffs while you play.
It’s better to keep quiet and keep to yourself than to be impolite at the table. Some casinos and poker tournaments will even eject players that fail to stay polite while they’re playing.
Of course, politeness is about more than what you say. You should also make sure you keep your chips and cards in your section of the table. Try not to interrupt the play when you’re ordering refreshments, and don’t leave the table in the middle of a hand, even if you’ve already folded.
Pay Attention and Keep Up
Poker can sometimes be a fast-paced game, and it’s easy to misplay if you’re not paying close attention to the other players. Most of the time your fellow players won’t be happy if you make an obvious mistake, even if it works in their favor.
It’s also important to make a decision quickly, especially if your poker table is moving quickly. Even if there isn’t a time limit on decisions, players won’t appreciate it if one person is slowing down the hand.
Try to make decisions as quickly as the rest of the table. If they’re moving faster than you’re comfortable, play out the hand you’re on and consider moving for a different table. You can observe games for a hand or two to see if they’re playing at a good rate for you. It’s usually easy to tell experienced players from people who are still learning.
Be Decisive, Don’t Hide Moves
Nothing is worse than when a poker player mumbles what they’re doing or doesn’t make a move clear. It’s important to speak clearly. You should also make it clear when you’re raising, and by how much. Calling and folding should be equally clear.
It’s important to use clear gestures as well as speaking clearly. Try not to shrink into your chair, even if you’re trying to look uncertain. Bluffing is one thing, disguising your moves and slowing the table is something else.
Don’t Influence A Hand You’re Not Playing
It’s important not to try and influence the table when you’re not playing a game of poker. Watchers can influence things just as much as players that have dropped out of a hand, so it’s important to be respectful even when you aren’t playing directly.
It’s also important to stay quiet and neutral when you’ve folded and aren’t an active participant in the hand. You can show interest, and it’s often a good idea to watch how others are playing since it can help you learn, but big reactions and talking smack should be avoided.
That’s because your reactions can change how other players play each hand, and it can sometimes look like you’re trying to intentionally change the outcome, even when you don’t mean to.
Be a Good Winner & Loser
This rule plays into being a polite poker player, but it’s relatively common for players to forget that winning and losing should be graceful, even when they are polite for the rest of the game. It’s particularly important to be a good winner and loser when there’s a big pot on the game.
As a loser, you should be congratulatory or at least quiet. After all, poker is supposed to be about having fun. It’s nice when you get to leave the table with more money than you started, but that shouldn’t be your primary goal.
As a winner, it’s important to acknowledge the skill of the other players. You should also try to stay at the same table for a few hands after a big win. Leaving the table right after a big win can make it hard for the other players to keep going, and makes it look like you’re there to win money more than enjoying the game.
Leaving with a big pot is a good way to alienate other players and make them less likely to join a table with you later. Playing a couple of hands gives them a chance to earn some of their chips back, even if you’re playing relatively conservatively.
Remember, no one minds if you leave the table with more than when you sat down. It’s just about timing. The one exception is if you mention that you can only play another hand or two before making a big win.
Extra Tips For Casino Poker
As long as you’re following the rules we’ve already talked about you should be ready to start playing poker in a casino. These tips will help you be prepared for casino culture and common rules at the poker table.
Tip Your Dealer & Serving Staff
Tipping casino staff is expected unless you’re playing in a casino that doesn’t allow tips. You should tip your servers as they bring you food and drinks since you may not get the same server every time. It’s also important to tip your dealer. Most players will tip every time they win a hand.
For most poker games it’s acceptable to tip $1-2 per win, though your dealer may expect a bigger tip for high stakes games and bigger pots.
Keep Your Chips Visible
Some players like to disguise how many chips they have, but it’s considered relatively rude since your chips can influence your strategy and the rest of the table. Keeping your chips neatly organized and visible is considered much more polite.