How many times have you seen it? A poker player gets beat, and proceeds to rant and rave to the whole table about how bad his opponent is, what a lousy play it was, and how much of a donkey the opposing player is. Even after he calms himself, the rest of the table is forced to put up with his snide remarks, and backhanded compliments for the rest of the session. Nobody wants to sit next to a poker player that behaves this way. They make the game of poker more of a hassle than a hobby, more of a chore than a joy. For people who make their living playing poker, these types of rude and obnoxious players get old real fast. So, how do we avoid these players? Easy answer, learn how to not become one of them. Show some respect for your tablemates, and for the game of poker itself.
Don’t act out of turn. If your starting hand is bad, or not the type of hand you want to play, by all means fold it. However you should refrain from folding your hand until it is your turn to act. Nothing cramps a poker player’s style more than people behind him at the table folding hands before he’s had a chance to even look at his cards. Like wise, don’t announce an action such as a raise or bet, before it’s your turn to do so. Think about this for a moment. If there are two people to act before you, and you fold or bet out of turn, then their strategy for that hand has been drastically altered. Most decisions in poker are predicated on table position, and witch players are left in the hand. You can completely change the dynamic of a given situation by acting out of turn. So don’t do it! It makes us angry!
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Don’t comment on hands you are not involved in. This is a big pet peeve of mine. If you have folded, and are not involved in the hand, do not talk about it while it’s still being played. When you talk about what “you think so and so has”, or what “cards such and such a player might have”, you are either helping or hurting someone. Poker players don’t need your help. They have already figured out the odds, and the outs, and what cards the other poker player might have. That’s part of the game, and doesn’t need to be verbalized by a spectator out side of the hand. What if you spew out something the opponent hasn’t considered? I’ll tell you what; you’ve lost the hand for someone. Chances are that someone will be ticked off at you.
Learn to win gracefully. When you win, and you will win, make sure you do it with some class. If the loosing player offers you a comment like; “good hand’, or “nice job”, say thank you. There is no need to rub it in. The rule of thumb for showboating after a win is the same as the rules of engagement. Do not fire until fired upon. If your fish have been rubbing your nose in it all night, go ahead and jab a little. You should however do it tactfully so as not to turn into that witch you despise. If your opponents have been cordial on the other hand, just say thank you. Don’t be a punk and start jumping up and down doing funky end zone dances, telling everyone you are their kryptonite. This just makes you look like a jack@% amp;. This makes us angry…. You wouldn’t like us when we’re angry….
Lastly, learn how to loose gracefully. When you loose, and you will loose…quite frequently at first, you must be gracious in defeat. I can not stress this enough. Nobody likes a crybaby; nobody wants to play with the type of poker player described in this articles introduction. Its ok to act surprised, it’s ok to act stunned even. But, when you loose a hand, be nice and try not to embarrass yourself by going on tilt. You absolutely must understand that loosing is part of the game, it has to happen to somebody, and sometimes that somebody will be you. Even if your loss is the worst beat in history like your quad Aces loosing to runner-runner straight flush, you must remember: IT HAPPENS TO EVERYBODY. Keep your wits about you and focus on the next hand. Chances are he is not focused on the next hand; he is busy trying to rationalize a poor play that netted him lucky win. So, when your opponent reveals his 7-2 that has just cracked your Kings, refrain from jumping over the table to kill him. Instead, simply say “nice hand”, while you smile inside secure in the knowledge that this donkey will try and play that garbage again. When he does, you’ll be ready to rake in ALL his chips.
Until next time remember: A good poker player can dodge bad luck, but a great poker player doesn’t have to.