Playing online poker provides some liberties and freedoms compared to playing live. We’re at home, we’re comfortable, and who’s to stop us sitting at the computer in our pyjamas and being relaxed? Well no one, but that doesn’t mean that the unwritten rules of poker etiquette don’t apply when playing online. Some people feel emboldened knowing that their opponents are miles away, even in other countries, to act it up and that the rules don’t apply to them but this is not quite the case in reality. There are still a number of rules we can all follow to ensure that games remain civil, fun and that everyone at the table enjoys themselves. Here we present several of these unwritten rules of poker etiquette to help keep the fun factor up while eliminating as much drama or negativity as possible.
A player may simply be trying to help a fellow player but no one at the table wants to hear unsolicited advice no matter how badly they are doing. We are all developing and working on our own poker tips and strategies and while punters are playing they don’t want other people to tell them that they suck, even if they are bleeding cash. Unsolicited advice can be annoying enough but criticising players is even worse. This can lead to a ramping up of emotions, confrontations, and creates an overall atmosphere of bad vibes which is just no fun at all. Besides, if someone is playing poorly you want to do everything you can to keep them in the game and contributing to your stack. The best thing to do if someone is really winding you up by the way they play though is to cash out and find a new game to participate in.
Following on from the previous point is to not let frustrations out or get aggressive in the chat. Like unsolicited advice this is going to spoil the atmosphere of the game and upset people, possibly leading to arguments, taunts, insults… And it is not going to help your money making potential if you get upset and angry, especially if it leads to going on tilt and playing badly. No one needs more aggravation in their lives, poker is meant to be an enjoyable pastime. If this is going on in your game, again, the best thing to do is walk away and find a bunch of nicer players in another game to compete with.
Keep the Game Flowing
Try not to be that guy or girl that takes forever to make a decision. This is especially important early in a hand pre-flop, not so much post-flop, but even then try not to take too long. Playing overly slowly can cause frustrations and tempers to rise which may lead to people leaving the game or getting agro. This goes for slowrolling as well which is very poor online poker etiquette. Slowrolling is a tactic of a player winding up an opponent by showing their cards in a way that makes their opponent think they have won the hand first. This is going to really upset people and should be avoided unless perhaps you know the person and it’s done in jest. But even then be careful, people are people and can get funny when it comes to their money in online poker.
In Game Commentary
If you’ve folded and then another card is turned that would’ve given you an epic hand under no circumstances talk about it in the chat while the hand is in play. At the very least wait until the hand is over before opening up about your ‘would’ve been’ moment. Talking about cards while the hand is in play has the potential to heavily influence those that are still involved and other players will start to wonder if you even know how to play poker. No one would do this at a live table and it should not be done during online poker either.
Be a Good Sport
Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, so what? That’s life, and that’s definitely poker. If you lose, be a good loser, no one wants to hear whining and weakness at the table – pick up and carry on. The same goes for winning. No one wants to hear someone bragging about their huge win and what a great online poker player they are. Be gracious, yes they won this one, maybe they lose the rest? Keep it professional, friendly, and everyone will find more enjoyment at the table.
The unwritten rules of online poker are similar to many of the rules in the offline world. A bit of courtesy, being polite, treating others how you would like to be treated all goes a long way and it helps to ensure that your games are enjoyable, everyone is happy, and you continue to be a player that others like having at their table.