Online poker is fantastic because it offers gaming entertainment in the comfort of the gambler’s own home. It also means people can play poker even if there are no casinos nearby. This is why it is the most popular card game in the world, and there is more people playing than ever before. On the other hand, when these online players eventually make it to a land-based casino they have little knowledge of the etiquette.
Get the etiquette wrong and a good night could turn into a very bad night. Confrontation and embarrassment are two things the majority want to avoid. Luckily, actually conforming to these rules is extremely easy and a little knowledge can go a long way. Here are just some of the conventions to stick to.
Acting Out of Turn
Online players have the privilege of being able to not pay attention until a small sound indicates it’s their turn. Real world players do not have the same luxury. Acting out of turn means to fold or place a wager when it is someone else’s turn. It also gives information to other players about the person’s move because they have acted early. Whilst it is a general rule of thumb to avoid any problems, it is also a money saver, so pay attention!
String bets happen when players announce a call and then continues with a raise. It is traditional in films and normally happens in heads-up situations. It is unethical in the real world as it allows an extra second or two to gauge the reaction of the other person. Announce the raise verbally immediately. Remember, verbal declarations bind players like a legal contract, so announcing it clearly and in one utterance allows the gambler to get their chips together.
Splashing the Pot
Splashing the pot is basically what happens when someone gathers their chips together and throws them in the middle of the table in one humungous mountain. This is unethical because it slows the game down. The dealer has to gather all the chips together into a manageable pile, which they do not appreciate, and every other player needs to wait until they complete this action.
Avoid this by just stacking them in noticeable amounts and gently guiding the pile into the middle of the table.
Every player has one hand. This basically means no outside help and no resources available. Each person is responsible for their own hand. Whilst asking someone how to play the hand does not break any legal rules, it can get people thrown off the table because it is unethical and unprofessional. It is also unfair on the other players as it gives them an unfair advantage. Prepare to deal with some serious problems if there is someone else making the calls for a gambler.
Card protection is not necessarily as unethical as some of the other rules outlined above. It is more about reducing the chances of losing money unnecessarily. When the dealer deals a card, other players should not be able to see it. If they accidentally catch a glimpse of what is hiding underneath the face-down cards, there is nobody else to blame but the offending player. However, sometimes mistakes happen. If the cards look like they are out of play because of a lack of protection, the dealer could mistake them for a dead hand and throw them away. Gamblers therefore automatically forfeit whatever they have placed into the pot.
The best way to avoid this issue is to put a chip or another object onto the cards to declare it still in play. Keep hands cupped whilst looking at the cards to make sure a lingering glance does not reveal anything.