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Many poker fans have now heard the story, if they didn’t see the performance on their own via the recent livestream of Poker Night in America. Salomon Ponte, known to some as Hashtag King, was not only vulgar and rude, but he insulted another player’s wife with extremely inappropriate remarks. He was eventually busted from the game, only to attempt to sell things like his passport in order to buy in again.

It was a shameful scene, not only reflecting badly on the poker world in general but specifically on the show’s producers for allowing the verbal abuse and outrageous behavior to continue.

The $25/$50 No Limit Hold’em cash game at Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma was filmed for a later television broadcast on CBS Sports Network. Some of Ponte’s antics are likely to make it into the final show because they will garner ratings. Meanwhile, the poker community is divided over whether Ponte is bad for poker, or if his behavior is a rarity that can be viewed as a teachable moment of how not to behave at the poker tables.

Both sides of the debate eventually come to the same conclusion: Do not act like Salomon Ponte at the poker table. He not only made a lot of enemies and lost a lot of money, he was kicked out of the casino, had his Twitter account suspended, and lost a sponsorship with Blue Shark Optics.

Never Insult Opponents

Tempers can flare in a game of poker, but no matter how much a player is tilting, it is highly advised that the player walk off the tilt away from the table. But however one chooses to handle it, it is best to refrain from insulting opponents. If the insulted player chooses to respond with insults as well, the anger will only escalate. It can lead to one or both players being ejected from the poker room or even a physical altercation at some point.

Never Insult Opponents’ Family Members

When insults (see last tip) go too far, a person can run out of ways to insult an opponent. That can lead to insulting spouses, significant others, and family members, which is what Ponte did on the PNIA livestream. Shaun Deeb, the target of Ponte’s ire, could have easily lost his cool and done some physical damage to Ponte. Suffice it to say that Ponte got off easy. Never bring the family into it.

Never Try to Stay When the Money Is Gone

If a player busts from a game and has no money with which to get back into action, it’s time for that player to go home. Busting from a game can easily leave a player tilted, and sometimes, the first reaction is to try to find funds to chase a win. Every psychologist in the country will point to that being a sign of a gambling addiction. Offering to sell one’s cell phone, watch, and even passport is a sign that a player is in too deep and needs to take a break.

Never Commit to a Game on Tilt

Better yet, never offer to play above one’s own bankroll when on tilt. Ponte spent the entire time he played on Poker Night in America bragging about his poker skills and decided to challenge Doug Polk to a heads-up match. Though Polk agreed and suggested they put $1 million on the line, Ponte suddenly found himself unable to commit to the match. The result of the vague and ever-changing challenge remains unclear, but a player’s word in poker is vitally important. If Ponte agrees to a match and doesn’t show or have the money to play, his reputation will be further trashed.

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.

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