Poker Etiquette

In the biggest tournaments and among the world's most successful poker players, the biggest winners almost always have two things in common - good sportsmanship and perfect poker etiquette.

Good manners at the table make the game more pleasant for everybody, help you get more hands per hour and in many cases can actually help add to your winnings.

In Las Vegas, there is a saying among old time poker pros: "Don't tap on the aquarium, it spooks the fish." More experienced players know better than to insult the lesser skilled players, as that's where the money comes from. They also know the negative outcome from alerting their less skilled opponents to their own superior skills.

Common Sense Poker Etiquette: Do. . .

  • Keep your chat to a minimum. Remember that every time you and an opponent chat information is given and information is received. This information can hurt you, but it may also help you depending on who is doing the transmitting and who is doing the receiving.
  • If any of the chat content is bothering you or interrupting your concentration, turn it off.
  • If you must reply to a query or greet a friend, it is smart to keep it brief and keep it courteous. Remember you are in a game and that is where your attention and focus should lie.
  • Always execute your decisions in a timely manner. Whether in a cash game or in a tournament, time wasted is opportunity wasted.
  • Keep knowledge of your level of poker skill to yourself. Your opponents are at an advantage if they can learn your degree of skill (or lack of it!). The way you chat can be a strong tell, announcing your level of skill and understanding to everybody at the table; keep it quiet.
  • Always be positive in your chat. A few brief positive words can just go with the flow of the game, while negative words at the wrong moment can make you a target and change your position at the table from predator to prey.
  • Do feel free to contact our customer care team with any information you might have about player abuse.

Common Sense Poker Etiquette: Don't. . .

  • Criticize your opponents' play. You are giving away information about your level of skill. If you make them mad and they begin to play better, that can also hurt you.
  • Don't chat. The Zen of good poker is that it is played in silence. Every word from you is valuable information for your opponents.
  • Do not chat in capital letters, as this indicates shouting, and some players might not like it.
  • Don't be profane, obscene or abusive in your chat. It is against EmpirePoker.com policy and won’t be tolerated, besides it is not smart poker.
  • It is said that fear and greed cause everyone to expose their true nature at the poker table. Think about this and then decide what part, if any, you want to expose.
  • Information that you gather about your opponents helps you, information they learn about you helps them. Don't just give it all up for free.
  • In tournaments, especially in the latter stages, keep chat from the rail to a minimum.
  • Don't stall. Regardless of the game or tournament it hurts you and everybody else at the table.