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Tadas Peckaitis

Tadas Peckaitis has been a professional poker player, coach and author for almost a decade. He is a manager and head coach at where he shares his experience, and poker strategy tips. Tadas plays poker, mostly online, but also manages to play live events while travelling through Europe and the U.S. He is a big fan of personal effectiveness and always trying to do more. Tadas regularly shares his knowledge about both of these topics with his students, and deeply enjoys it. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, or visit

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Top 10 unwritten rules of poker

24 Sep 2018

By Tadas Peckaitis
Tipping the dealers is common poker etiquette in most rooms.

Tipping the dealers is common poker etiquette in most rooms. (photo by Wikimedia Commons)

Although poker in all of its different variations is a game with well-defined and clearly explained rules, there are still some things that you should know that you won't find in the rulebook.

Adopting the 10 unwritten rules of poker found below will help you better experience any live setting and prevent you from crossing the line and upsetting other players, which is usually not something you want to achieve.

10. Tip the dealers
Tipping dealers is common poker etiquette in most rooms. Unless tipping is forbidden, make sure to tip every so often and show your appreciation. While no one is going to force you to do it, being a generous tipper can be a positive EV play in the long run because it will put you on the good side of the casino or poker room staff, and that comes with various perks.

9. Pay attention to the action
When you’re sitting in a cash game or a tournament, try to stay focused and keep up with the action. Don’t be that guy who needs to be constantly reminded to put in his ante or that it is his turn to act. While this isn’t strictly against the rules, it can be annoying and it is somewhat disrespectful to other players at the table. For online players, staying focused may be hard, without all the poker stats and other info to keep them busy, but at least try your best.

8. Don’t argue with the dealers
Arguing with the dealers over their decisions is ineffective and can make you look bad. If there is something you want clarified and believe the dealer is wrong, just ask to speak with the floorperson. Explain the situation calmly and submit to their ruling. Not all rulings will be the way you’d like them to be, but the floor has the final word in a poker room.

7. Be nice to newcomers
We’ve all been new to poker at one point or another. We’ve all felt the pressure of our first live game. So, if you notice a new face and realize they aren’t quite sure about the way they should act, try to be nice to them and show them the ropes. You don’t need to share any advanced poker tips with them, but help them understand that they can’t make string bets or show their cards to other players.

It is all too easy to be all high and mighty with new and inexperienced players, but we all need these new players to keep the game alive, and we won’t achieve that by treating them badly. If their first experience in a poker room is a bad one, they might never come back.

6. Try to be helpful where necessary
Dealers have a rough job that requires a lot of concentration and, after all, they’re just human beings. Mistakes happen, and there is nothing wrong with making sure the game is played according to the rules if you see the dealer pushing the pot to the wrong person or forgetting to burn the card. This never happens at online poker sites, but aren’t that uncommon in live games.

That said, always try to do it in a polite manner and most people will respect you for it. After all, most of us want to play a fair and honest game.

You should always refrain from revealing the cards you folded.

You should always refrain from revealing the cards you folded. (photo by Pexels)

5. Never talk about cards you folded while the hand is in progress
Although there are actual written rules relating to this particular area, many players seem to forget, especially if they see the flop that would have helped their hand. You should always refrain from revealing the cards you folded, or even reacting to the cards in the middle.

It may be hard to see you would have flopped the nuts, but try to stay calm and silent for the sake of other players in the hand. Once the hand is over, you can share the information with the table, if you really feel like it.

4. Don’t offer any unwanted advice
You might be a Hold’em or PLO strategy expert, but you shouldn’t be sharing your insights during the game, and especially not immediately after a hand. If someone has just a lost big pot, the last thing they want to hear is you explaining how bad they played it. You’re there to play poker and not to act as a mentor or a coach so, unless someone asks for your opinion, you shouldn’t be sharing it.

3. Use caution when calling the clock
Although players are almost always entitled to call the clock on someone and effectively rush their decision, this option should be used sparingly. Calling the clock on someone in the middle of a big decision is usually frowned upon, unless they’re really taking way too long to act. Doing it after just a couple of minutes is not nice, even if you have the right to do it.

Of course, don’t be afraid to call the clock on someone who habitually takes too much time and slows the game down on purpose. You should be able to easily see the difference between someone who occasionally takes time to make up his or her mind and someone who just takes few minutes on every street.

2. Slow rolling is (almost) never justified
In case you don’t know the meaning of the phrase, slow rolling someone means to deliberately wait to show your hand when all the action is over even though you’re sure you have the winner. This is considered bad etiquette, and it won’t make you any friends.

The only time when acting slow to turn over the winner can be justified is if you’re doing it in a hand with someone who habitually does it to other players. In that case, they have it coming, but even then you don’t have to do it – you can always be the bigger man.

1. Never complain about bad beats
Bad beats hurt and sometimes you really feel like you’re the unluckiest player on earth after running bad. But, the truth of the matter is, they happen to everyone and no one likes listening about them.

Going on and on about how unlucky you are is likely to antagonize your fellow players and make them not like you very much. It can also hurt your overall image, so you should keep the bad beat stories to a minimum. It is one thing to complain (briefly, though) to a good friend. Random players you barely know really don’t care and don’t want to hear about it.
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