Poker Etiquette – Ain’t Misbehaving

Posted September 2, 2009 by Andrew in Articles

Poker EtiquetteTournaments are supposed to be fun…and they usually are.

Unfortunately, a few people who have no respect for rules and get their kicks out of making everyone else miserable can ruin an event. They get into fights, insult other players, distract other people with their tantrums, and generally think that being a jerk is a good poker strategy.

Fortunately, tournament organizers have caught on, and are strictly enforcing rules regarding proper conduct in poker rooms. Yes, you can get kicked out of tournaments for misbehavior, or at the very least, slapped with a time penalty that will affect your game and ultimately your chance of winning.

So the message is—shape up, or ship out.

As they deserve, players who act like spoiled brats during poker tournaments are punished in the same way one would put a toddler in his place: timeouts. The procedure looks like it’s been lifted out of a parenting manual. First offense, you get a verbal warning. Second offence, you are sent to a corner without any dinner — er, we mean asked to leave the table for 10 to 20 minutes.

During this time, the chips are in action, and the game proceeds as if he were still there. Usually the tournament organizers place a timer near the chips, to tell everyone he’s been a bad boy, and also to count down the minutes until he’s allowed back in the game, tail between his legs.

Some players already know what’s coming when they see the tournament manager walking up to them with a timer. Without a word, they get up and leave, probably thinking that it would be less embarrassing to do this voluntarily without everyone whispering and wondering what he’s done.

Some players act so badly that not even a timeout is enough to control them. These are the types who continue to break the rules or act in such a way that disrupts other people’s concentration. Hitting a player, throwing the cards, threatening the dealer or purposely ignoring instructions to sit down and act like a decent human being—all these can lead to much more serious action. He is thrown out. If he struggles, they call in a bouncer, and the tournament participants get a free wrestling show for entertainment. And they say poker isn’t a spectator sport.

When this happens, the player’s chips and whatever he may have gained from the pool are immediately forfeited. He may be banned from joining that tournament again, and done repeatedly, may create such a negative reputation among poker circles that he could be banned from other events as well.

This once happened to a very good poker player who unfortunately liked to prepare for his game with a bottle of Jack Daniels. He would often speak too loudly, and yell cuss words at the cards, the dealer, the other players. Sometimes he would throw the cards to the floor, or scatter the chips in disgust. He made the mistake of doing that at a major tournament and was unceremoniously dragged out of the room, still yelling, much to the amusement of the other players. He has never been seen at a tournament again.

About the Author


Andrew Keyes is a poker enthusiast, a writer, researcher, speaker, and consultant. You can visit to get poker articles along with winning poker tips, tested poker strategies, the latest poker news, free poker tools, cool poker resources, and more! Visit today and you can download some of the best poker bots for automating your poker play!