Welcome to “Poker Etiquette – The Basics”.

We will be covering table talk, poker etiquette guidelines, and sportsmanship in general.

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 out.
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 face-to-face.
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 again.
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 outer.
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.