Movie Scenes That Portray Bad Poker Etiquette

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Man sitting at a poker table with chips and cards in front of him.
BetMGM Feb 22, 2022, 3:11 AM

When it comes to land-based and online casino games, it’s important to take stock not only of the rules and regulations for the games themselves but also the etiquette standards that you need to follow. While etiquette might not be as clear-cut as the rules of a game, it’s just as essential and going against casino etiquette can land you in hot water.

Whether you play online poker or you’re more of a live poker player, chances are that you already know about the etiquette rules and do your utmost to follow them. Unfortunately, this cannot be said for all players and this can be seen in some of the most famous movies about poker.

We’re going to take a look at a couple of movie scenes that portray bad poker etiquette and how you should handle the situation differently to ensure that you get the best online poker experience for yourself and for those playing alongside you.

Molly’s Game: Berating the dealer in a tilt

Harlan Eustice is a regular at the Commerce Casino before being introduced to the private high stakes games at the apartment. The other players aren’t keen on the new addition due to his “ABC” style of play.

Although he’s a great player, Harlan gets beaten by the worst player at the table on one of the evenings and consequently spirals into a booze-fueled tilt and suffers a huge loss on the river. After this, he really loses all etiquette and throws food and insults at other players and the dealer.

First things first, you should always try to avoid going into full tilt. Sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and walk away from the table instead of trying to win your money back and lose even more as a result.

Secondly, the dealer is basically the same as a referee on a sports field: They’re there to do their job and keep the game going. NEVER insult or abuse a dealer whether you play poker online or at in-person poker tournaments.

The Sting: String Raise

Henry “Shaw” Gondorff joins in one of Doyle Lonnegan’s private poker games on a train carriage. Shaw manages to erk Lonnegan and as a result, Lonnegan decides that he is going to do something called a “string raise,” which ultimately means that he acts as if he is going to call and then raises instead. This gives Lonnegan the opportunity to see Shaw’s reaction on the call before he raises.

Although this can be an honest mistake during a game, most players will see it as angle shooting to get an advantage. In this scenario, you need to simply say whether you call or raise. Do not pretend to call and then raise in a second movement straight afterward.

Rounders: Splash the pot

Rounders is probably one of the most famous gambling movies out there and there’s one scene that gives us a good look at a simple etiquette breach. Mike McDermott needs to pay off Worm’s debt to Grama and as a result, he challenges Teddy KGB. KGB wins the first $10,000, winner-takes-all round, getting under Mike’s skin and tempting him into a rematch. In the rematch, Mike makes an excellent lay down which rattles KGB, who then splashes the pot during all the hands of the final betting round.

What is splashing the pot? It’s when someone tosses or throws their chips into the pot on the table. This might not seem like a big deal, but it’s incredibly rude, it delays the game and it shows that you are starting to lose your nerve. 

Even if you are losing in the final hand, it’s important to keep your composure and place the chips neatly in front of you to make it easy for the dealer to determine the pot size and number of chips wagered.

Maverick: Exposing your hand

Bret Maverick is the main character in the film Maverick. He wants to join a five-card draw game and promises the other players that he will lose for an hour in order for them to let him play. He keeps his promise and Bret shows them his hand in the first hand dealt and this allows him to pick up the other players’ tells. Needless to say, after the hour of losing is done, he wins pot after pot.

You should never deliberately expose your hand to other players at a table during a hand. This gives them information that could impact their decision on whether or not to continue playing. It also might give you an unfair advantage in picking up tells depending on how the players react to your hand.

In summary: always keep your hand to yourself during play.

Get the best online casino experience with BetMGM

Now that you’ve seen some of the things that you should avoid doing during a round of poker, it’s time to get experience playing yourself. At BetMGM, we have a range of different types of poker games and poker tournaments for you to choose from.

Register with BetMGM to play poker online.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.