“Back in the saddle again!” Hello all! I’m back and all rejuvenated! I took a little time off to enjoy the holidays and get pointed back in the right direction…
Today I’d like to bring to attention some of the implied rules to poker. By saying this, I’m not talking about the actual rules of poker, but the ones that go without saying.
Often you hear phrases at the table like “Good Luck All In” or”Nice Hand” or “Good Game”… These are examples of statements reflecting good sportsmanship. As I’ve been prone to saying over and over again, poker is a game. If you can approach it as that you should never be in the situation where being a poor sport is the label you earn. Everyone knows how much it sucks to lose. No one likes going all in with A-A and losing to the 7-2 that called for “fun”. But it does happen. There are no rules that say you can’t play whatever 2 cards you want. And yes, there are definitely expectations as to what cards are “playable” but that doesn’t mean everyone plays the same way. What I’m getting at here, is the implied notion of respect. Sure you’re going to generate an opinion of every player you play cards with, and sure, you may not like them, but I’m going to say this bluntly. Show them the same respect you want shown to you. Everyone at the table, in the room, or even sitting at home watching on TV is watching you. You may not like what happened at the table, but always walk away from it with dignity. Respect is earned not demanded. Don’t be the person no one wants to play cards with because of your attitude.
Next on my list are the dealers. The men and women who bring this amazing game to you. I’d like to point out that they are only humans, and are not perfect. Please allow them to be as such. Mistakes will be made. 99% of these mistakes can be fixed, if you will allow them to. There are processes and procedures in place designed for them to fix these mistakes. Yelling at them, berating them, blaming them… That gets you nowhere. These people have feelings too… You may have the view-point that these people are the scum between your toes, but guess what? Without them you have no game. If anything, remember one thing, the dealers are watching you. Most poker dealers are poker players too… if you want them to remember you fondly and not use the information they’ve learned from watching you against you, always tip them and treat them kindly. Every dealer remembers the guy who didn’t tip, or the guy that was an ass at their table. If you end up the unlucky guy playing against the dealer, I hope you were respectful, because I guarantee he remembers.
Next up for discussions, is table play. During the course of the game there are several unwritten rules that commonly get over looked. I’ve compiled a list of a few for you.
- If you aren’t in the hand, stay out of it. This can be interpreted several different ways, but I will elaborate a bit here. When you’ve folded, you’re done. Don’t comment on what you folded, don’t react to the next series of cards. Don’t lean over to your neighbor and whisper what you had. No one cares what you would have had. No one cares if it was a hard fold or not. Don’t read aloud what’s on the board. Once you’ve folded, there is nothing left in the hand for you. The best players are the ones who fold their cards and move on.
- Don’t stall. You know what you’re line of play is every time you look at your cards. There really aren’t that many hard decisions in this game. Don’t make you’re folds dramatic. All you are doing is wasting time. The clock is constantly moving, the longer you take to make a decision does nothing but hurt you and everyone else around you. Most decisions can be reasonably made in 5 seconds. you’re actual actions in the hand shouldn’t take you more that 15 seconds… If you are the guy that calculates the math at the table, do your homework before you sit down. Research the math long before it matters, if you have to calculate the math during the hand, then the math isn’t actually helping you because you probably don’t understand it.
- If your cards are in the muck, leave them there! If I need to explain the issues with this then you’re aren’t a poker player.
- Don’t ever touch the pot. Poker is a visual game. If you feel like you’re not sure how many chips are in the pot just kindly ask the dealer to “spread the pot”. The moment you lean over and put your hands in the pot will undoubtedly get a poor reaction from everyone at the table.
- Don’t ask to see mucked cards. Yes, there is a rule in place that allows players to see a “called hand”. That rule isn’t there so players can gain information… It is strictly there to prevent collusion. If a player chooses to fold, let him fold. If you call to have a player’s hand turned over you better have a good reason, because implications can backfire against you.
- If you aren’t in the hand don’t call for a clock. We all know that the guy is taking forever, and yes, you do have a “right” to call for a clock, but it’s a very disrespectful action…
- Keep your cards to yourself. Even if someone isn’t in the game, don’t show them to anyone. The information is for your eyes only. Any reaction that player, or onlooker may have is only giving information to your opponent…
- Don’t over celebrate. I can’t stress this one enough. There are many different emotions throughout the course of a poker game. Ever win is also a loss. Be respectful to that person who just lost. Hitting your 1 outer on the river isn’t funny. The person you hit it against is probably heartbroken. You laughing at it, turns the emotions they are experiencing into rage…
- Don’t slow roll. What this means is, if you make a bet and are called, turn your cards over. don’t wait to see if you are beat, don’t hold out for the last possible second to be dramatic. If you have the nuts, turn them over. You don’t need to see your opponents cards first. JUST TURN YOUR CARDS OVER!!
So this is just a few of the unwritten rules to poker… and I’m sure that there are many more, but one thing is for sure, respect is the root to all of them. Again, you may not like the person or persons you are playing against, but show them the same respect you want shown to you, and your poker experience will be enjoyable. If you have concerns in the area of the unwritten rules to poker, I suggest investigating further for yourself. Here are a few articles I suggest reading on this topic.
Once again, I’m excited to be back and helping you advance in your journey in this game we know and love! May many pots be pushed in your direction!