10 Unwritten Poker Rules You Should Never Break part 1: Numbers 1 – 5

Like any endeavor poker has quite a few “unwritten rules”. Nobody would expect casual players to be aware of these policies, but seasoned pros and serious players should definitely make sure they are not breaking any of these cardinal sins. It’s also your responsibility as a serious poker player to quietly inform new players about these rules -after the fact of course– and call-out any player who knowingly violates them.

1.      Slowrolling is never acceptable

Slowrolling -deliberately waiting to turn over the winning hand-is one of the worst sins a poker player can commit. On par with walking around the bases after a homerun, or running up the score up in football; slowrolling is only done to show up your opponent. However some new players may have seen a “cool” movie scene where this is done and therefore think it’s acceptable.

2.      Never call clock on a player when you’re not involved in the hand

Poker is a game of subtleties, so if someone needs extra time to make an important decision it shouldn’t bother you unless you are involved in the hand. Also, the other player in the hand may want their opponent to continue thinking. If you’re not involved in the hand just let the participants deal with calling clock.

3.      Never bluff at a dry side-pot

This is the only rule on my list that is strategically silly. When a player is all-in, and you and another player are still active, it makes no sense to “bluff” the other player out of the pot if there is no money in the side pot. The only reason to bluff is to fold out a better hand, but with an all-in player this is impossible! The sin becomes even more egregious when you are approaching the money bubble or in the money, and the elimination will move you up the pay scale.

4.      Don’t “Hit & Run”

Although there is nothing implicitly wrong with leaving the table after a big hand, it’s terrible poker etiquette to go into a game with this strategy. You’ll find “hit & runners” are loathed by the poker community, and will rarely be treated with anything but disdain.

Some players take this a step further and commit the sin of “Short-Stacking”. In this case the player not only “Hits & Runs” but shows up with the minimum buy-in and plays a very push/fold strategy. If they double through they then leave the table and enter another game with the minimum buy-in.

5.      Don’t “Tap the Glass”

When a player does something foolish the last thing you want to do is clue them in to the fact they did something foolish. Unfortunately, this is exactly what many players do. Every time you criticize a bad player you run the risk of turning them into a good player. In poker ignorance is bliss, and you want your opponents to be as blissful as possible.

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