Poker Etiquette

Poker Etiquette

Anyone who plays poker at a land-based casino is well aware of the kind of etiquette expected of all players.

In fact, common courtesy is also expected at a friendly weekend game at your friend's house.

Most of the etiquette involves proper speech but etiquette can also refer to not wasting time, improper betting, and anything else that bothers the others.

Much of what is considered improper in a live game is also improper online. There are some things that don't apply online, like getting the cards greasy after eating potato chips.

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Improper Online Poker Speech

Online speech is broadcast via the chat box.

  • Cursing is usually a big no-no. First of all, your online opponents are not your pals. Even words or terms that are not offensive at home are often offensive online.
  • Sexist talk is also unacceptable online. Even if all your opponents are using men's names, you don't know that they are all men. Women sometimes use a man's name online to throw you off a bit. They realize that men think sexist thoughts so they use a man's name; but they don't want to read sexist comments in their chat box.
  • People come to a poker room to play poker. The chat box is secondary at best. Don't fill the chat with chatter!
  • Some online players don't open their chat box. A player who doesn't respond to you may not know you have sent him a message. Drop it.
  • Don't talk about an ongoing hand. Never talk about a hand you are still in! But, when you fold, let the hand play out in silence. Also, never react when the cards that turn up would have given you a good hand. If you reveal this information, it will surely affect the future play of the hand.
  • Don't rehash a hand that has been played. While this is quite accepted in bridge circles it is decidedly not in online poker circles.
  • Never taunt an opponent! If a beginner makes a foolish play, keep quiet. Taunting them will often make them leave the game. If they are true novices, your taunting may very well cost you money. First, their leaving means you can't win any more money from them. Second, they may be replaced by a much better player, even one better than you!
  • Keep your cool! No one wants to play with a player who has had a run of bad luck or poor decisions. If you go on tilt you will find yourself alone very quickly.
  • Online you may be playing a veritable U.N. of opponents. The casino cannot speak the many languages native to all your possible opponents. So online casinos insist on English-only in the chat. If you write in any other language the first thought on everyone's mind will be that you are colluding with another player.

Paying Attention on the Poker Table

  • Online poker is much faster than live poker. Online players hate playing against someone who doesn't realize it's his turn to play.
  • If you must leave the game temporarily, let the casino know. Otherwise they'll wait for you needlessly.
  • If you are playing more than one game online at the same time, be sure you can keep them straight.
  • Avoid slowrolling. This is not as obvious as the others. Slowrolling involves taking your time to call an opponent. Taking your time to raise is perfectly acceptable but slowrolling to call is often considered taunting.
  • Never ask an online opponent for a "loan" so you can get back in the game. People even hate being asked to "front" their friends money!

Collusion when Playing Poker

We mentioned this above in reference to players chatting in a strange language. Collusion online is a serious problem. Even when players are chatting in English they may be using a code that only they know. If, as a player, you notice a strange betting pattern from one or more players, don't hesitate to bring it to the attention of the casino. You cannot, of course, report a bluff as a strange betting pattern but, if you are taking notes, as many sites recommend you do, then you may see a pattern emerging that defies logic and the player's normal style of play.


Follow the Golden Rule whenever you play poker online. If an opponent doesn't behave well you can leave the game but, also, you should report the player to the casino. You need not feel guilty about doing so. Players have been known to be banned. All other players will be happy that the jerk is gone.

Posted by CCJ Team