The Unwritten Laws of Poker

min read
A notepad with “Do” and “Don’t” written on the pages with a pen and a cup of coffee on top of a blue table.
BetMGM Dec 10, 2021, 9:10 AM

Poker is undoubtedly one of the most popular casino table games in the world. It’s a super social game with players interacting with each other frequently, which is why it makes sense to have a few simple rules in place. There are unwritten rules that every poker player should know, whether you’re playing online poker tournaments, live poker or anything else in between.

These are the unwritten poker rules that everyone should know.

Don’t angle shoot

If you’re new to in-person or online poker, then you might not know what we mean by “angle shoot.” To angle shoot is defined as “when a player makes an intentional and unethical move to take advantage of less experienced players, or a situation at the table.”

While many of the moves considered as angle shooting are not strictly cheating, they are incredibly poor etiquette and should be avoided at all times. Here are just a few examples:

  • Looking at another player’s hold cards.
  • Acting out of your turn on purpose.
  • Creating an illusion of a shorter stack by obscuring your high-value chips.
  • Proclaiming that you have a winning hand at a showdown when you don’t.
  • Saying that you “Raise” when you then put chips down for calling. This creates an illusion that you do not have a strong hand.

These are just some examples of angle shooting, and, at the end of the day, all it means is that you should never try to intentionally trick other players.

Always respect the dealer and other players

This one is relatively straightforward, and luckily, most people who play poker abide by this unwritten rule. Firstly, the dealer is in charge of the game, and they should be treated as such. No talking back, complaining, or aggressive gestures will be tolerated.

When it comes to other players, you should always be polite, whether you win or lose. Don’t use offensive language, mock other players or try to deliberately sabotage their games.

Avoid slow rolling

Slow rolling is a massive no-no in all forms of poker games, whether you play poker online or you play in person. Slow rolling is when you know that you have the game-winning hand but don’t show it, giving the other players the false impression that they are going to win the game.

Of course, this is completely fine to do while still in the middle of the hand; the problem comes in when it comes to the showdown. You should always reveal your hand rather than making the opponents believe that they are ahead.

Don’t waste time

While it’s completely understandable that you need to take time to think about your hands, it’s important that you don’t waste time when making simple decisions. By all means, take your time when you are in the big pot or have a really difficult decision to make, but don’t make every move stretch out into minutes.

Not only is this incredibly rude, but it also affects your bottom line, as the longer the games take, the fewer hands you will play per hour. This could cut into any profit that you make.

Don’t call the clock too soon

Going with the point above about wasting time, it’s super annoying when someone wastes time on each hand. That doesn’t, however, mean that you should call the clock one hand into the game. Ensure that you are giving other players enough time to think about their decisions before alerting the dealer to call the clock.

Calling the clock too soon on another player is extremely rude and just indicates to the other players that you are impatient.

Avoid declaring your move too soon

It’s a given that accidents happen in poker, and you could mistakenly blurt your move out in excitement before your turn. Don’t make a habit of it, however. By jumping the gun, you could completely ruin the game by giving information to other players that they can use, or that will change a decision on their hand.

Don’t talk about cards that you folded while the hand is still in progress

There is an actual rule about not doing this in poker, but some people do tend to forget, particularly if there’s a flop that would have helped them. Always avoid talking about or reacting to the cards in the middle once you have folded.

It can be difficult to watch, however, it’s important that you wait until the hand is over before you tell the table what you folded if you feel like you need to.

Avoid celebrating too much

It’s always fun to win, but it’s important to remember that the other players have just lost. No one likes a poor sportsman who gloats too much when they win. Yes, you can celebrate, but you should always keep it to a polite level to avoid rubbing your success in other players’ faces.

Play poker with BetMGM

These are just some of the unwritten rules of poker, and there is a lot more to learn. The best way to gain this understanding is through practice. At BetMGM, we have a range of different poker games, from a variety of Texas Hold’em games, Omaha, 7-card Stud and much more. You can get handy information like poker tournament tips and other helpful guides on our blog too.

Register to play with BetMGM.

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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.