Learn Online Poker Etiquette Essentials

Largely because of its unique bluffing element, poker can be a very intense and mentally taxing game. Many players enjoy poker as much for the social atmosphere as for the challenge of bluffing and the thrill of raking in a big win. So treating other players with respect and not spoiling their fun – and, ultimately, your own – is of the utmost importance.

And this does not only apply in traditional brick-and-mortar poker rooms. Players often make the mistake of forgetting their manners when they are safely on the other side of an internet connection half way across the world. But it is just as easy to get kicked out of an online poker game as it is to be removed from an offline casino – easier, in fact. Online poker etiquette is simply essential in this highly social game.

Here are a few invaluable dos and don’ts of online poker etiquette that novice players should find particularly useful:

Table Talk

  • Do Engage in Friendly Table Banter

Part of the magic of any kind of poker is the camaraderie and good-natured ribbing amongst players. It adds to the fun and can work well into a player’s bluffing strategy – remember: bluffing is a long game. In fact, participating in friendly table talk is an essential part of online poker etiquette. After all, no one likes a boring poker player.

  • Don’t Criticise or Verbally Abuse Other Players

The golden rule of both offline and online poker etiquette is simply: be nice. Do not berate and insult bad players. This is called “tapping the glass”, which sours the atmosphere in the chat room and can cause players to leave the table. Don’t be sore loser who resorts to abusive language when the cards don’t fall in your favour either.

Decision Influencing

  • Do Utilise Levelling

Levelling is an age-old poker practice that is completely acceptable – and even expected – in all poker rooms. Levelling involves using table conversation to influence your opponent’s decisions. This means talking about your own hand and contemplating whether to raise or fold out loud. This feature of online poker etiquette is a standard aspect of bluffing.

  • Don’t Interfere with Other Players’ Hands

Levelling does not extend to commenting on hands that you are not actually in. It is considered very poor online poker etiquette to offer advice to other players about what they should do in order for weak players to remain at the table and strong players to fold. Also, don’t talk about your hand if you fold. Wait until after the game is over to avoid unfairly influencing the way the game plays out.

Speed of Play

  • Do Keep up Pre-Flop

There is a very big difference between pre- and post-flop decisions in online poker – the latter are far more significant and merit carefully considered decisions. It is extremely annoying, however, when players waste time humming and hawing over relatively insignificant pre-flop decisions. The best online poker etiquette is to make pre-flop decisions as quickly as possible.

  • Don’t Deliberately Delay your Hand

Deliberately holding back on playing what you know is a good hand when you are certain that you are going to call is known as “slowrolling” and is considered extremely rude in online poker etiquette. Slowrolling frustrates and stresses out weak players and annoys everyone else.