Learn Texas Holdem – Table Etiquette

Table etiquette? I thought that was only for Thanksgiving Dinner!

First of all, poker has always been considered a Gentleman’s game (ladies are welcome, too!) so just because you have visions of Doc Holiday playing in an old saloon with a six shooter on his hip – doesn’t mean that you can act like an ass at the poker table. In fact, you’ll find most live games in a Casino are pretty subdued for the most part. Home games may have varying rules based on the host but as a general rule, you should try to adhere to these basic tips when playing.

Live Poker Etiquette

When you’re playing in a live setting, there are a few things that you should always do and a few things you should never do. Let’s start with the “Always” category:


Pay attention to the Button and know when to place your Small Blind and Big Blind bets – No one wants the game to slow down because someone isn’t paying attention to the pace of the game (this can be compounded if you’re listening to an iPod, etc).

Keep your highest denomination chips in plain sight – It’s considered poor form to “hide” your high value chips behind other chips, even if it’s unintentional.

Neatly stack your chips – Messy chips often interfere with the flow of the game and the Dealer will almost always ask you to clean them up anyway.

Protect your hole cards - Leaving your cards sitting out can result in the Dealer grabbing them and tossing them into the Muck. Use a Card Protector or simply place a chip on top of your cards. This will prevent an embarrassing situation from taking place.


Ridicule another player for poor performance - Other than being just plain rude, you run the risk of running off someone that’s contributing to your (and the other players at the table) bottom line. You’re not a poker coach so there’s no need to provide an education to a bad player. Even if you take a bad beat, don’t start talking down to the player thatĀ administeredĀ it. This is a great way to piss off more than just the bad player at the table. No wants a fish to quit or realize they’re making bad plays, so keep your mouth shut.

Make a string bet - The act of placing a set number of chips on the table and then going back to add more is considered a string bet. This can be construed as “angle shooting” and will not be allowed at the majority of cash games (definitely not at a Casino).

Place food on the table - Another no no. It’s not very sanitary and if you’re eating something with crumbs or grease and it gets on your chips, it’s disgusting to the other players at the table that have to touch those chips at some point.

Many of these are common sense but I see players forget these basic tenants of the game all the time. There are many other articles on the Internet about this topic so if you’re unsure of something, please continue to research this so that you don’t find yourself in an embarrassing situation.

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