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Whether you are a fan of poker or a players, chances are you are going to rail the final table of live poker event at some point. When railbirding a tournament, there’s still some rules of etiquette that need to be followed.

Today we give you a few Do’s and Don’ts of being a final table railbird. While some of these tips are more geared for major poker tournaments, it doesn’t hurt to practice them at all event your rail.

Read More:

On the Rail of a Major Poker Tournament Final Table?

5 Ways to Tell if You’re a Poker Railbird

Do – Stay in the Spectator Area / Behind the Barrier

Many final tables will have a spectator area for fans, but smaller areas may only rope off the final table area. Regardless, you need to stay in the spectator area or behind the barricades or risk being removed.

Do – Cheer for Your Players Enthusiastically

In most cases, there’s nothing wrong with cheering for your favorite player at the final table. Event such as the World Series of Poker event encourage it in order to draw attention to the event and to also make it look better on TV (if broadcast or streamed.)


Do – Stay Out of the Way During Breaks When Appropriate

During the breaks, if the player you’re there to rail looks like they are trying to get away from the crowds for some alone time, let them go. If they want to interact with people, they will do so.

Yes, this even applies to those that may be close friends to the person you’re railing. Breaks are short and your player has only a few minutes to gather thoughts, use the restroom or do whatever they need to do to prepare for the next few hours.

Do – Post Updates / Pictures on Social Media

Feel free to post updates from the final table on social media along with pictures. Audio and video are usually prohibited but few venues will ban you from taking pics with your camera phone and putting them on Twitter or Facebook.

Do – Bring Your Player Food, Water, Anything they Need if They Request It

For those of you railing your friend at a final table, check up on them occasionally to make sure they have everything they need. Just make sure you don’t cause a distraction or jump the rail to do so. This is probably more important for final tables that drag on later in the evening.

Don’t – Boo Players

Booing players is always discouraged because it comes off as both poor form and looks bad on TV. However, booing the TD’s lame jokes is perfectly fine.


Don’t – Become a Distraction

It is fine to cheer loudy for your player, chant or do whatever is considered reasonable to drive your player to victory. However, don’t become “that guy” who gets drunk and decides to rush the rail in a panda suit.

Don’t laugh. It actually happened at the 2013 WSOP November Nine.

Don’t – Move Around / Leave the Tournament Area During a Hand

For final tables where they spectator area is right on top of the players, it is usually good form to not move around or head out the tournament area during a hand.  That’s a bit distracting for those trying to make decisions at th etable.

If the table is merely roped off as part of the floor, it isn’t that big of a deal as you’re just background noise.

Don’t – Talk or Make Intentional Noise During a Hand

Railbirds are expected to stay silent during hands and not become a distraction to players. The reason we threw intentional noise in there is because some fans will try to be cute by making silly noises, etc to distract players. Making other noises during a hand can also be seen as a way to pass signals, which is cheating.

Don’t – Videotape or Audio Record Action

Just about every major tournament will prohibit action from being recorded at the final table, and that includes audio recording. If there’s any doubt, either err on the side of not doing it or ask the floor person in charge.

Don’t – Use Flash Photography

Flash photography is distracting during play and is not allowed. Some casinos won’t allow flash photography at all. Again, if there is a question, ask or just don’t use flash.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.