Poker Table Talk Etiquette

You’ve called a decent pre-flop raise by a very tight player and two other players join the fun, the flop comes King – Queen – Ten. And he bets into you. Hopefully you didn’t just blurt this out as you reluctantly tossed your pocket pair into the muck (or clicked the fold button). While you may think that having called out the two cards that you just folded will have no impact on the players still in the hand, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Not only is it poor sportsmanship to call out a hand that you’ve folded, it could influence the way the hand is played and cost the (ultimate) winner of the hand money or chips. Let’s assume that the initial raiser has pocket Kings and just flopped a set and that one of his opponents is holding Jack – Ten and the other player has Ace – Nine. You’ve just announced to the players holding the lesser hands that two of the cards they need to improve their hand are out of play. While it can be argued that you just helped the players that were on draws, you’ve now likely caused the player with pocket Kings money. If he bets the flop, the other two are far more likely to fold now than they were before your outburst.

Better To Keep Quiet (AKA – the chat box isn’t a vent box)

While it’s easy to sometimes use the chat box in online poker as a vent to let the other players know how upset you are, the best policy is what most of our mothers told us when we were young. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. The same holds true for live play but it seems that people have an easier time spilling the beans when they’re behind the keyboard.

Doing this at many online and almost every live poker room can get you kicked out of the game. In every major tournament that’s hosted live today there are clear rules against announcing your hand while there’s still remaining action at the table. This is a big no-no and again, it’s due to the fact that your announcement may influence the players still in the hand.

What’s Acceptable And What’s Not When It Comes To Table Talk

So we know not to call out a hand that we’ve folded while there’s still action on the table. When is it ok to say that you just folded xx? After the last player has shown down and the winner is raking the pot, it’s fine to announce you laid down xx. In live play, it’s acceptable in “some” rooms to show your hand to the player to your right or left before folding. However, I’d caution you to be VERY discrete when doing this and honestly it’s best to just muck your hand.

Otherwise, any simple banter is fine for chat during a game. Use good manner and never berate any other player, regardless of how bad his or her play is. At worst you may run the player off! Now there’s one less fish at the table for you and the others to win money from. The key is to always think what you would do in a hand if ANOTHER player made the announcement that they’re folding xx and how it would impact your play (with this newly found information). Here’s an easy trick – Pretend it’s a first date and be on your best behavior, your bankroll may thank you later.