Be Mindful of Table Etiquette
No one likes bad manners, especially in tense situations where everyone is trying to focus. In a live poker game, lack of table etiquette is not only frowned upon but will potentially get you banned from certain casinos, for example, showing up drunk and ruining the game for everyone is an open invitation to receive a boot to the face. Learn both the unspoken and spoken rules of the game before you sit down, and you’ll be welcomed at every table. Here’s some tips that might help:
Impatience is the largest contributor to bad table etiquette. Patience must be maintained at every stage of the game. Before the game, ensure that the seat is unoccupied and it is your turn before you take a seat. Usually, there exists an invisible queue around the table, be aware of your surroundings by asking or simply through observation. When the cards are being dealt with, refrain from touching the cards during the process. If you have lost, stay calm and wait for the next hand. On occasions where you have won, do not reach for the chips prematurely. Winning hands are paid in a specific order, so respect the dealer and wait for your turn to receive payment. Breaking any of the above rules is not only a sign of unprofessionalism but will also complicate the dealer’s job.
Understand the rules of the game.
This should go without saying, but apparently some people need to be more aware of the general rules of poker. Sitting down and distracting everyone with amateur questions at every step of the game is a big no-no unless you wish to get made fun of. If you plan to step into a poker game with no knowledge of poker hand rankings, do everyone a favor and stay home. Read up on the basic rules of the game somewhere else and always sit back and familiarize yourself with the general flow of the game before you decide to try your hand, this will save everybody at the table a ton of time. Some casinos possess unconventional rules, so be sure to take note of them or ask any bystanders nearby. It should also be noted that online experience does not equate real-life experience in a poker game. For example, there is a drastic difference in pace.
Mind your electronic devices.
Looking around in a casino, there are signs put up everywhere to remind patrons to silence their mobile phones. The signs are not decorations and should be taken seriously. Keep in mind that mobile phones do not only distract you as a player but other players at the table as well. If you have received an important call, excuse yourself at the table and step away before you pick it up. Do not constantly check your phone as a distraction like that will disrupt the flow of the game, the same goes for taking photos. Keep your focus on the game and everyone is happy.
Handle your cards well.
Besides getting familiar with your hand ranking, there are other things you need to be wary of when playing cards. The moment a player picks up their cards, the dealer will immediately start keeping an eye out for any suspicious behavior. This is a practice used to fend off any cheaters from the casino. A common method of cheating, usually by amateurs, is to slightly bend the corners of a card to “mark” them. To prevent this, some casinos bar their players from picking up their cards with both hands. With only one hand holding the card, it is easier for the dealer to take note of any sort of deformation on them. If you tend to pick up your cards with both hands due to force of habit, try to sit on one hand if possible, it will be rather uncomfortable, but it’s better than drawing any unwanted suspicion on yourself. If the cards are dealt face-up, the rule is to not touch your cards at all. It is a rather effective method to prevent any form of card tampering. If you’re allowed to pick up your cards, do not lean back or hold your cards in such a way that the dealer cannot see them. This type of behavior is a red flag for dealers trying to spot cheaters.
If at any point during a game you are unsure of what to do, don’t be ashamed to ask questions, no one will mind as long as they are proper and infrequent. With a bit of practice at home or at any unprofessional setting, you can master poker table etiquette within days.