The unwritten rules of live poker games

15 April, 2009

advertorial - Other than the rules of the game itself, there are very few rules in online poker - since you are playing by yourself on your own computer, you can pretty much do and behave however you want. At a live poker game, however, things are quite a bit different. There are certain rules and ideas adhered to that, while unstated, are accepted by everyone at the table. Even though you seldom have to dress up and be as classy as James Bond, there are certain rules of etiquette that you need to be aware of before you take a seat at a texas hold em poker table.

Tipping the Dealer

There's no rule in a public card room that says you must tip the dealer. However, it is a general practice to do so. The usual tip is $1 or $2 out of every pot you win, though you are certainly entitled to give more, and a tip is not expected if all you win are the blinds.

In a private home game where the players deal to each other, of course, there is no tipping. However, you may wish to give something to the host of the game if he has provided refreshments.

Chopping Pots

In a blind vs. blind situation online, there is nothing to do but play out the hand. At a live casino, however, when only the blinds are left, many players feel the hand is not worth playing out, that the pot will be small and the House will take a large percentage and be the only one that truly benefits.

As such, many players agree to "chop," taking back their blinds and letting a new hand begin. If you chop, proper etiquette is to chop every time, not only when you have a weak hand.

Giving Away Information

If you are not in a hand, you should not do anything that gives information to those still in a hand. This includes revealing the contents of your hand, either by showing your cards while folding or by announcing them, as well as reacting to the flop in such a way that might indicate what you held or did not hold. Such behavior is not fair to players who are still in the hand and may be trying to represent they do or do not hold cards similar to the ones you have revealed.

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