The live poker scene is a very colorful environment. In any poker room almost anywhere in the world, you’ll find people of all ages from different walks of life and various cultural and educational backgrounds. It’s often a true melting pot that allows you to expand your circle of friends and get to know many new people if that’s what you’re after.
But having this kind of a mix at one place comes with certain downsides as well. Not everyone knows or cares about those unwritten rules of poker that exist for the sole purpose of making the game more enjoyable for everyone.
If you’re new to live poker, the last thing you want is to become known as “that guy”, and there are many different ways you can earn this unflattering title. Doing one of these annoying things while playing will likely get you there in no time so you should really try to avoid them as much as you can.
1. Constantly complaining about your bad luck
No one likes a crybaby! In life in general – and in poker in particular, no one really wants to hear about how unlucky you are and how everyone seems to be luckier than you. First of all, it probably just isn’t true and secondly, even if it were true, no one cares.
I’ve known people with a talent to take complaining to a whole new level. They don’t just complain when they lose but they do it even when they win a pot. Yeah, they won, but if they had just a bit more luck, they could have won so much more…
You may convince yourself that other players at the table are sympathetic to your hardships but the reality is, most people will get extremely annoyed after a while. Even if you’re a great guy away from the tables, you’ll be perceived as an annoying individual that most people will want to avoid.
2. Drinking excessively
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a few beers or some shots while playing live poker, especially if you came to have a fun night out and aren’t focused on the results. It’s your money, after all, so if you want to give yourself a break you have every right to do so.
What’s not fine, though, is getting so hammered that you start losing control. If you start yelling, insulting other players, or have problems even putting chips into the pot, things quickly go from entertaining to annoying. Other players might tolerate your behavior because they know you’ll be giving your chips away left, right, and center, but you can be pretty sure they’ll be happy to see you leave once your wallet is empty.
3. Constantly talking
Live poker is a social environment and having light, non-poker related conversations throughout the night is not just allowed but it’s even encouraged. Not everyone’s a professional player and some people just want to have some fun and forget about their everyday problems for a little while.
However, you don’t want to be “that guy” who just never shuts up. If two people are talking about something, you don’t have to always chime in with your opinion. If there is a big pot going on, respect the players involved, and keep quiet. Don’t let it get to a point where others have to be rude to you just to get you to stop.
4. Flaunting your “success”
As already mentioned, the live poker scene represents an interesting melting pot of people from all walks of life. You’ll often have millionaires sat next to your average Joe and nobody bats an eye. It’s just the way this game is.
Except when it isn’t.
You may be rich and successful but people at the table don’t really care about your two houses, three cars, and a boat. I mean, why would they? You’re all playing the same game, stakes are the way they are, and your wealth isn’t really relevant here. Talking about these things is tacky and annoying and it paints you in a bad light.
5. Eating at the tables
I’m not opposed to eating at the tables. I’ve done it myself quite a few times and I don’t mind others doing it. However, if you do have some food brought to you, try to pick something that’s not super greasy or messy.
If you want to eat something that will get your hands covered in grease or sauce, step away for a few minutes, enjoy your meal, wash your hands, and come back. It’s really unpleasant for everyone when you leave traces of your food all over the chips and the cards and this one will annoy players, dealers, and floor managers just the same.
6. Giving free poker lessons
Every now and again you’ll get the urge to share your view on a particular hand and give a player free “advice” on what they should have done differently. When this happens, you should resist the urge and keep your opinion to yourself unless the player in question is a good friend and you discuss the game in your spare time as it is.
First of all, most people aren’t there to receive tutoring. They came to play and they really don’t want someone telling them how bad they play. Secondly, unless you’re a really great player yourself, you aren’t really qualified to give advice. And, finally, even if you see someone playing badly, why on earth would you want to give them advice and help them get better? There is nothing stopping you from setting up a poker school if you feel qualified but lessons have no place at the table.
7. Abusing dealers and staff
I’ve played countless hours of live poker and only times when I’ve gotten into any kind of argument with the casino staff was when there was something unclear about the rules. Other than that, I try not to address the dealers or floor people unless it is to tip them or give them a compliment of some sort.
Abusing dealers because you’re not happy with the cards you’ve been getting or because you don’t like how they look at you is simply unacceptable. I feel like many casinos and poker rooms don’t really do enough to protect their staff so people get away with all sorts of things but that’s not an excuse. They’re there to do their job and make you feel at home but they’re also human beings like the rest of us. Don’t take your frustrations out on them just because you can!
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