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Poker Lessons pt.3 Logistics: Etiquette2

Paul MetheneyWe will continue with some pointers so you don’t embarrass yourself when going to play poker for the first time in a casino.

  1. Bet in the proper manner.
    1. The Betting Line on the Table – There is sometimes a line that circles the table in front of each player. At some casinos, if you cross that line with chips, everything you have in your hand is the bet. Some players take a whole stack and just “cut out” a few chips across the line. They could be doing this to get a read on their opponents, or to psych them out, or to make sure they get enough chips across in one move (see String Bet). Regardless, know what the casino allows. The best method is to clearly verbally declare how much you are going to call or bet and then stack them on YOUR side the line and then move them out in one motion. No confusion.
    2. String Bets. Pretty much everywhere you have to place the amount of chips you want to bet or raise with in ONE motion. You can’t put some out and go back and get more in a second motion. This rule stemmed from a time when players would do this to gauge their opponents reaction to the move. Illegal everywhere now. Doing this marks you as inexperienced, drunk, or an idiot. The best method is to clearly verbally declare how much you are going to bet or raise.
    3. Don’t play out of rack. When they bring you your chips, very likely they will be in a plastic rack. IF the chip runner doesn’t neatly stack them in front of you OUT of the rack. Playing out of the rack slows the game down and marks you as a Dweeb.
    4. Don’t do ANYTHING out of turn. Don’t bet out of turn. It disrupts the flow of the game. Don’t fold out of turn. It gives someone information about how many opponents he is facing. Info that might not have been available to his other opponents.
    5. Don’t talk during a hand. Don’t talk about a hand (your cards, speculation on who might have what, etc.) while a hand is still live, even if it is your turn to act. This is similar to collusion or cheating. Don’t talk about a hand at all if you are not in it. Some casinos are okay with some table talk if you playing “heads up” (down to you and one other player) but the best move is to just not talk during a live hand.
    6. When putting chips out, put them in front of you. Made infamous in the movie Rounders, “splashing the pot” is throwing chips towards the pot in the center of the table. It makes it difficult for the dealer to know how much went in and disrupts the game. Place your chips in front of your seat, across the betting line, or just in front of you. This makes it easy for everyone to see who made what bet and keeps the game running smoothly. Players that fling chips are begging for attention, egotists, or morons. No need for drama. Put you bet out in front of you so everyone knows where everyone else is, It also helps signify where the next action is.
  2. img_slider_royalflush2Don’t “Hit and Run” – This is when a player wins a big hand and then immediately gets up and leaves. Happened to me recently. A guy hit a “2 outer” to win about $700 from me and then immediately packed up and left. That he won the hand didn’t bother me. I want anyone who will call with only two cards in the deck that can save him, to keep right on playing like that. Besides, that’s poker. Luck can run good or bad. But RUDENESS? To getup and run out with out giving me a chance to win it back? It WAS probably a smart move on his part. If he stayed, I WAS going to win my money back. But just because it was smart, doesn’t mean it wasn’t rude and low class. Besides, a poker players reputation is all he really has and now every time I see that guy, I will point him out to everyone at the table. The “etiquette” thing to do is stay for at least an hour to give any one who lost big a chance to win it back.  The smart thing to do was for him to run like a scalded dog, because now I (and everyone else at the table) was going to be gunning for him to keep playing like that. He was outgunned and he knew it. Sadly, he was outclassed as well.
  3. Sit your ass down! Many players (it seems to usually be older players for some strange reason) get up and walk around. Sometimes to skip their blinds every other round. This is rude. It prevents someone who will actually PLAY poker from getting a seat (re: reduces the pot size because their is one less player at the table). Sometimes they go get dinner for an hour and then come back and pick up their chips. That was an hour that a “Fish” could have been sitting in that spot. This hurts the game of poker. Some people are rude and selfish and just give a crap.  You (and everyone at the table) came to play poker. Play poker. Don’t wander.
  4. Tipping – Tip your dealers every time you win IF you think they performed efficiently, quickly , with good customer service. Dealers that joke with the table and deal fast and accurately always get a bigger tip from me. Grouchy old bastards who never talk, smile and deal slow, usually don’t.If you win a BIG pot, you should consider tipping more than a chip or two. I saw a guy tip a great dealer $2 for a $2000 pot. Lame.
  5. Tipping waitresses. It is pretty customary to give a waitress a $1 chip when they bring a free drink. Even if it’s slow. I know. That’s stupid, But, it was a free drink.

To Be Continued…


Paul MetheneyAbout the Author

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