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Poker Table Etiquette – 6 Unwritten Rules That Every Player Should Know (Guide for Beginner Bookies)

Poker is a casino game that requires knowledge, skills, and tons of fast thinking. In fact, one of the main aspects of the game is social interaction. As such, there are a lot of rules to keep in mind. Besides the basic set of poker rules that every player should know and stick to when playing the game, there are also unwritten rules, too, and this is where poker table etiquette comes in.

Understanding these unwritten rules will make for a more enjoyable gaming experience and will transform you from a beginner player to an experienced one. 

With this in mind, this poker table etiquette guide has outlined everything you need to know about the unwritten rules in poker. You’ll notice an improvement in no time!

6 Unwritten Rules of Poker Table Etiquette

1. No Angle Shooting

One of the most controversial topics in poker is angle shooting. In fact, some land-based casinos have even established a set of rules to target angle shooters specifically. 

If you’re unfamiliar with angel shooting, essentially, it occurs when a player makes an unethical and intentional move to take advantage of someone with less experience in a particular situation. 

There are tons of different scenarios where this can take place – so much so that it would be impossible to list. 

That said, one of the most common tactics involves one player sneakily looking over at another player’s hole cards – this is considered an angle shot in poker. 

Likewise, if you are intentionally acting out of turn in order to get valuable information about a player, then that is another unethical and intentional move. 

Moreover, disclosing your chip stack from the other players – so they don’t know how much money you have on the table – can be considered another form of angle shooting. 

As poker players, we all make mistakes from time to time, and, typically, many poker and casino rooms will give you the benefit of the doubt. 

However, if this behavior were to continue, a casino has the authority to take action. This could include a verbal warning or even a one-round penalty. 

2. Never Slow Roll

Every poker player hates slow rolling. In fact, it is considered one of the worst things you can do while playing the game; therefore, avoid it at all costs! 

Usually, these situations take place when a player knows they have a good hand but don’t want to show the results in a timely manner, giving the impression that they are going to win. 

If you try to disguise your holdings while it remains in your hand, this isn’t considered a slow roll. However, when it goes to the showdown, you should make sure you reveal your hand. 

This is all about simple manners and good poker etiquette. There is nothing worse than giving the illusion that your opponent is winning – despite how much you want to win. 

Therefore, instead of slowly rolling and showing bad manners, when you have the chance, show some grace and respect. 

3. Don’t Unnecessarily Prolong The Game

This is also considered “Hollywooding” where you are prolonging the duration of the game. It is another move that, despite not being against the rule, is not good poker etiquette. 

The term “Hollywooding” describes a situation where players hold up the game when it is their turn. This includes situations such as:

  • Using your phone instead of taking your turn
  • Acting like you’re analyzing your move
  • Take to the dealer, a waiter/waitress, or other players

Plus, you should keep in mind that holding up the game not only goes against poker etiquette but makes the game less profitable for everyone involved, too. 

For instance, in a live poker game, on average, you’re provided with 30 hands per hour. Therefore, slowing down the game not only gives you fewer opportunities to play your hand but also to earn more money. 

4. Declaring Your Move Too Soon

Poker Table Etiquette

Make sure you’re paying attention to the gameplay and when it comes to making your move. Here, you’ll want to avoid jumping the gun and announcing action too soon as this is considered bad manners. 

This has the potential to ruin the game since you’re giving the player in front of you more information about your hand. 

While accidents happen, just make sure you’re paying close attention to the game at all times. 

5. Avoid Calling The Clock

While we have already discussed one of the most important aspects of poker: not taking too long when it is your turn.

There is also another element you’ll want to consider: making sure you don’t call the clock on other players too soon. 

As a poker player, you have the power to call the clock on other players. Doing this only gives them 60 seconds to finish their turn – otherwise, they are in the muck. 

Usually, this isn’t a big problem, however, when some players become trigger-happy when calling the clock, it can annoy some players. 

Instead, you should be prepared to provide each player with the time necessary to make an informed decision – this respect will be given back to you by the other players on the table. 

That said, you shouldn’t be scared to call the clock, either, especially if a player is taking longer than necessary. 

Just keep in mind that each player is playing with real money (especially when it comes to cash games), therefore, they are more likely to think about their decision instead of rushing. 

6. Wait For Your Move

This is a quintessential rule when it comes to any game. In addition to trying not to slow down a game of poker, you’ll also want to avoid speeding it up, too, by acting out of turn. 

If you try to do this, the only thing you’ll achieve is disturbing the players around you who are trying to strategize their moves – and breaking poker etiquette. 

In addition to this, by acting out of turn, you are being unfair to the other players on the table, too, since you’re giving out information from the people before you. 

While most people won’t do this on purpose, some can make an early move and call it an accident. Therefore, you should aim to wait your turn and play respectably. 

7. Don’t Reveal Your Holdings With Action Pending

When you declare your folded poker hand while the rest of the table is still playing is considered poor etiquette. Knowing too much information beforehand skills the thrills of the game. 

Therefore, despite how tempting it may be, players should aim to stay as quiet as possible and not give out any further information about the holdings they folded until the pot is awarded. 

Final Thoughts

Poker is a game that requires skill, knowledge, and, most importantly, respect. Most of the time, you’re betting on real money, therefore, each decision has to be carefully considered. 

With this set of unwritten rules in poker, you’ll be able to show your surrounding players the respect they deserve. Plus, they are sure to return the favor. 

Hopefully, this poker table etiquette guide has taught you the unwritten rules of poker to make you a more informed player. 

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