be covering table talk, poker etiquette guidelines, and sportsmanship
We’ve noticed over the past year that the general demeanor of
the newer player is leaning toward bad taste. Now we are not saying
that every new player is behaving this way, but there are enough of
them out there to make us write this article and try to help everyone
Perhaps the problem stems from these new players never being
taught, and personally, we sincerely hope that’s the case. So lets
go and do it!
First off, a lot of new players who are playing in real brick and
mortar casinos and card rooms have graduated from playing online
poker. This helps in the rapid development of new players, as they
are able to get years of experience and playing time in just a few
short months. While this is great for the game in terms of bringing
lots of new players into poker, the internet and its level of
anonymity can be a breeding ground for bad behavior.
We have read a lot of online message boards and blogs, not just
poker stuff, but on a wide variety of topics. The one thing we’ve
noticed universally is how people behave when the interaction is not
It seems respect flies out the window. It’s easy to post a
comment on a message board on the internet when you are anonymous and
don’t have to back it up. You’re not sitting in the same room
with the person, and can just close the page and move on.
Internet poker is really similar in that regard. Players are not
interacting up close and personal, so if a bad beat occurs at a
table, it is often followed by some type of written verbal attack.
Here is a simple example of what can and always goes wrong when
playing poker online with strangers you never have met or will meet
The blinds are 300-600 and both players have close to 6000 in
chips. Player 2 on the button raises up to $1500 to go, and Player 1
in the big blind flat calls. (Everyone else has folded). There
is $3900 in the pot. The flop comes 10s-Kd-4h. Player 1 checks in the
big blind and Player 2 bets $1000. Player 1 quickly calls. The
turn comes the Qd. The pot is now at $5900, and each player has
around $3000 or so chips left. Player 1 checks again and Player 2
takes the maximum amount of time, then bets $2000. Player 1 only
takes a few seconds and calls. The pot is now at $9900 and each
player has around $1000 left in chips. The river comes -
10h. Player 1 moves all in for $1150 and Player 2 rants in the chat
window for the maximum time allowed then calls. Player 1 wins the
pot, and Player 2 is left with $300. Now if you have any degree of
poker knowledge, you can see a lot of bad play in the previous hand.
The sad part about the previous hand is that it’s not some
isolated incident. In many online tournament play we see exchanges
like this at least a couple of times per tournament, and usually the
cash games are worse. Why do people behave like this?
There are two likely reasons: one is that they just don’t know
any better, and the other is that blood tends to boil a lot quicker
when losing “real” money.
We all have experienced bad beats. We all get run down a three
Since it happens to everyone, why doesn’t everyone behave the
same? Why are some players able to take it in stride, while others
kick and scream like spoiled children?
In general, we believe the players who are able to take losing in
stride, hold their heads up, and not give into the ranting and raving
are the smarter, more experienced players. The better player knows
that over a period of time, that three outer your opponent just hit
on the river to knock you out of the tournament isn’t going to have
a negative effect.
Sure, the tournament is done and it’s on to the next one, but
over 90% of the time in that particular situation, you’re going to
double your chips and push on. You want people to make those types of
long shot calls against you! And yes, part of the danger is that
sometimes--a very small percentage actually--you will lose.
Daniel Negreanu quoted an article in LA Weekly Magazine a while
back when he talked about more experienced players berating a
newer, less experienced player, for playing bad cards in a bad
situation, and getting lucky.
Daniel calls these newer players “producers” and without them,
it would be a lot tougher to play poker and win. Everyone starting
out is a “producer” just because you don’t have the experience
or skill yet to be able to match wits with a more experienced player.
These “producers,” while they are learning their new skill,
will continue to produce profits for the better player, unless
someone modifies their behavior by ridiculing and berating them.
Then, as they progress, they will in turn become the better player
who is helping a new crop of “producers” to learn the game. How
these players behave when they advance may be seriously influenced by
the experienced players who are currently setting the standard.
So don’t be afraid to set a good example at the tables; win with
class, lose with class.
Well this article was a little more of a rant than a post, but
it’s a hot button topic right now and not just for us. If you’ve
watched any of the World Series of Poker coverage, you’ll get what
we are getting at. Some of the behavior displayed is just plain
embarrassing. That is all for today and remember – Stay classy and
don’t go full tilt.