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While there are invariably a number of rules to follow while playing live poker, the same holds true for online poker.

Miscues such as acting out of turn or bending the cards won’t come into play during an online game. Nonetheless, there remains the need to behave properly while seated behind your computer screen, following unwritten guidelines of decorum to keep the game fair and running smoothly. Let’s take a look at online poker etiquette, as we go over some of the do’s and don’ts.

I Folded Trips!

Nothing – absolutely nothing – is worse than a player who folded his cards talking about a hand that is still in play and yet to be decided. A rookie mistake or just plain ignorance, telling other players what cards you folded and the hand you would have made had you stayed in is completely unacceptable.


On the flip side, you can make comments while still involved in the hand and your opponent is deciding what to do. Table talk designed to influence the decision of your nemesis is permitted. For instance, if you type something in the chat box such as, “You call, it’s gonna be all over baby,” as Scotty Nguyen did just before winning the 1998 WSOP Main Event, that’s OK.

The key here is that you must be involved in the hand. If you’re not in the hand, keep your unwanted advice or comments to yourself.

How Could You Make that Call?

Online players have seen it time and again, a poor player making a terrible call with perhaps one or two outs and getting lucky on the river. Suckout victims typically have a desire to reach through the computer monitor and strangle the fish who has no clue about folding when the percentages of winning the hand are in single digits.

Proper etiquette calls for a cool head and calm demeanor, refraining from berating and bombarding this unaware noob with the profanities that he so richly deserves. Why? Because weak players are your friends. They may hit that suckout every now and again, but in the long run, chasers are precisely the type of players you want at your table.

Letting loose with a string of cuss words in the chat box is akin to tapping the glass. And when you tap the glass, you scare away the fish.


Players who take too long to act and make decisions can really disrupt the flow of the game. Whether it’s from players multi-tabling, being distracted by something going on at home, or just plain being slow, poker loses a bit of its fun when the game crawls along at a snail’s pace.

Poker is a game of patience that often requires waiting for optimal cards. However, don’t compound the inherent slowness of the game by tanking on basic decisions. It’s in everybody’s best interest that the game moves along without unwanted delays.

Nice Hand!

Poker site operators are on a mission to attract more recreational players to the game. If successful, online poker players will find themselves seated among newbies who are there perhaps more for fun than building a sizeable bankroll.

It certainly doesn’t hurt to be friendly to your tablemates, especially if they are new to the game. Should somebody win a nice pot, tell them so. If they have a cool avatar, toss a compliment in their direction. Poker is meant to be a fun and sociable game. Doesn’t it make sense that your actions and behavior contribute to the game being an enjoyable experience for all?

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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.