Poker Table Etiquette – Part Two
I hope you have all been enjoying the summer and the hot weather that comes with it! It is by far my favorite season with all of the fun activities that can be done. When I need a break from the heat there’s nothing better than playing some poker in our nicely air conditioned cardroom here at the California Grand Casino. Relaxing. joking with familiar faces and dragging some pots always puts me in a great mood. You just can’t duplicate that feeling that you get at the poker table anywhere else; it’s why we play the game.
What doesn’t put me in a good mood is seeing players chastise and berate one another over perceived poor play. In my last blog posting Table Etiquette: The Flow Is Good For the Game we talked about appropriate etiquette at the tables,basic good manners and self-awareness. Today’s article takes that a step further.
It’s completely understandable to feel upset after suffering a bad beat but it’s not OK to verbally attack the player that put the beat on you. It makes that person uncomfortable and kills the mood at the table. We’re all here to have fun and win some pots but taking your frustrations out on another player accomplishes neither of those things. In fact it actually hurts your ability to do both. If you find yourself feeling the urge to let someone else know that they made a bad play at the poker table I have two techniques that will help you let go of that hostility and get your head back in the game where it belongs. I use these techniques all the time and have found them to be quite effective. Hopefully they will work for you too.
Technique One: Inject logic. I use this phrase all the time. I use it at the poker table as well as in my everyday life outside the cardroom. There’s no hidden meaning here. The phrase means exactly what it says. When you encounter a situation at the table where your emotions seem to be getting the best of you use your mind to inject logic into the situation. Ask yourself What will I be accomplishing by giving this player a hard time? Don’t just stop at the question, answer it! One correct answer is you will be making the player feel bad and killing the mood at the table for everyone else. Another correct answer is that you are pointing out a mistake (or so you think) that your opponent made which may help him avoid making that same mistake in the future thereby improving his or her game and making it harder for you to win money off of them.
When you simply look at the facts it’s easy to see what the right decision is: Keep your thoughts to yourself and do your best to let it go. Not only does this help keep the game fun for everyone but it also keeps your head in the game and doesn’t help to improve your opponent’s play. I understand that this course of action is much easier said than done which brings me to my other point:
Technique Two: Know Thyself. No one knows how you react at the poker table better than you. You know what triggers frustration and anger for you. You know how well or poorly you deal with it. You know what makes you tilt and play less than you’re A-game. I can give you all the advice in the world but it may not be perfect for you. Find out what is. If taking a break from the table for a bit helps you get back on track do it. If you feel you need to stay at the table and muscle through it do it. If you need to vent to feel better do it-but not AT the table!
The bottom line is: the only person that knows how you tick and what truly works for you is you. Understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie and manage them accordingly. By keeping your emotions in check everyone will have a friendlier game and your own poker game will improve.
Until next time see you at the tables!