Poker Table Etiquette: The Flow Is Good For The Game
I’m sure you’ve all experienced playing at a poker table where everyone is having a great time. People are in good spirits cracking jokes (okay not all are funny) and enjoying each other’s company (and money) all while playing the game that we love to play. Not every player gets dealt a winning hand on each draw but everyone is enjoying good times. The personalities the mutual enthusiasm and some good cards help make poker great for all involved. Yes ALL of us even the dealers enjoy Good Flow.
From the casual low limit player to the serious player looking to pay his or her rent a lively table full of good vibes is good for everyone and helps create the flow. It’s easy to see why a full table of players enjoying themselves is good for the recreational mindset. It may not be as apparent why it’s good for a serious player looking to make a profit. The serious and winning poker player relies on the flow to consistently achieve positive end-results. If players are getting nothing else out of the game won’t they eventually lose interest and look for better flow elsewhere? It’s a collective effort. Nobody is here to play solitaire. We all have it in us. With that in mind knowing and exercising good poker etiquette and bringing your best flow to the table is something everyone can strive to do. Here are a few common situations I’ve come across at the tables that relate. They may seem obvious to some but being aware of these situations and knowing how to act accordingly makes for Good Flow.
Be aware of the flow. If the dealer has to remind you that it’s your turn to act take that as a friendly reminder to pay closer attention. You’re not only missing critical information that can help you win the hand but you’re slowing down the flow for the other players at the table. Be considerate and keep your focus on the game while you’re in the hand. Post your blinds when it’s your turn to do so. Improve your odds of play by keeping your mind on the game in addition to keeping up with the flow.
Playing poker from seats 1 and 10
The seats on either side of the dealer are generally not the most comfortable as they tend to afford the player less physical space. It can be more difficult to see everyone at the table especially the person directly across the table from you. Pay extra careful attention when you’re playing in either of these seats. We see players fold out-of-turn when you can’t see around the dealer however the end seats have tremendous advantages of seeing more cards turned before your play. If you cannot see the player that acts immediately before you watch the dealer to know when it’s your turn. Dealers will often let you know it’s your turn simply by turning and looking in your direction. Not sure if it’s your turn? Simply ask. Playing from seats 1 and 10 has a perceived challenge but good advantages so be aware of that when you take one of those seats and make great flow a part of your game.
Phones are a tricky topic since many people use phones for different purposes at the table and many card clubs have different rules on what is and is not allowed at the table. The first thing you need to know before sitting down in any poker game is exactly what the cell phone rules are (if any) at that specific card club. Secondly and perhaps most importantly respect the rules. You may or may not agree with the cell phone rule at whatever club you play at but you’ve chosen to play there. Everyone else is required to play by the rules and you’re no exception. Trying to bend or get around the rules of the club makes other players feel uneasy and forces employees to police you which I can promise you kills the good flow. Even if cell phone conversations are allowed at the table none of us likes to hear another person’s phone conversations. Been there. Excuse yourself from the table when you get a chance and finish your call away from the table. If you simply must stay at the table while you’re on the phone keep your volume to a minimum so the flow is not disrupted.
Table chat is a good part of the flow! The camaraderie and social aspects of poker are a big part of what makes it an enjoyable hobby and a large reason many people come to play regularly. That being said if you’re talking to your buddy a couple seats away and there’s a person in between the two of you that’s in a hand pause your conversation until he/she is done with their play. Poker is a challenging game and to play it well requires concentration. Be respectful of the other players around you and keep loud conversation to a minimum during play.
What constitutes a positive poker experience may vary from person to person but everyone wants to have an enjoyable experience when they take the seat at the table. Keeping some of these basic etiquette tips in mind will help to achieve Good Flow for everyone. Hopefully the next time you sit in a game it will be full of happy and respectful players looking to enjoy themselves!
Until next time see you at the tables and keep up the Good Flow.