How to enforce table-talk rules without seeming like I am "taking this too seriously"? (1 Viewer)

APPROACH #4: Rotate hosting. Her place is casual. Maybe you even lower the stakes or add bonuses. Your place is more serious, maybe higher stakes. Maybe a smaller crowd (the subset of players that are more serious). Also a chance to rotate between tournament and cash. You could pitch it as, "Hey, I love playing at your house. I would also like to start host once in a while and take some of that burden off you."
When we first moved to the community we lived in we looked for a couple years to find a game and even meet enough people for a game.

I finally found one, every Saturday night. It was a blast, lots of fun, about 8/9 dedicated people each week. The rub - it was dice chips, $5 buyin, 2500 in starting chips, 7 minute blinds. Their goal was to get three $5 tournaments a night in, and we did. Drinking, smoking, laughing, it was a riot but it wasn’t serious poker.

So we started hosting a serious game in Thursdays, same people just different format. $15 buyin, 15,000 starting stack, and 15-20 minute blinds, depending on how many people we had. They loved it just the same, but for a different reason.

We still do this, Thursday is serious poker at my house, and Sat is fun poker at the other hosts house. He has modified his games though so we both use the same starting stacks and blind structure, he just goes ten minute blinds to get two game in on Sat now.
 
Approach #1: Make an announcement at the start of next game that you're sorry you haven't been firm enough about this, but that people need to stop commenting on board texture, suggesting people are bluffing, or otherwise improperly influencing players. This is a standard rule in every place where poker is played for money. It's unfair to the players still in the hand. OPTAH, as they say. Best of luck.

Approach #2: If approach #1 is met with snark and whinging, start sharing all your experienced-poker-player takes on everyone else's hands when they're trying to play. Describe every change in board texture. Call out apparent bluffs. Explain why a bet looks strong. Note that the player who just reraised preflop hasn't reraised preflop for 3 sessions in a row. Be as totally insufferable as they're being. Show them what's wrong about this.

(Just kidding, don't do #2. But man, it's tempting.)
This is great advice, but I am super disappointed that you walked back Approach #2. That idea is brilliant and would go along well with those that want to take the embrace the chaos :p.

That said when I host, if players are getting close to the line I will usually just blurt out "guys the hand is still live" and that will serve to stop any conversation that's going before it's goes too far.
 
APPROACH #4: Rotate hosting. Her place is casual. Maybe you even lower the stakes or add bonuses. Your place is more serious, maybe higher stakes. Maybe a smaller crowd (the subset of players that are more serious). Also a chance to rotate between tournament and cash. You could pitch it as, "Hey, I love playing at your house. I would also like to start host once in a while and take some of that burden off you."
This seems like a good idea.

Give the players a taste of both arenas, and it may give them a chance to see how your way is better.

It may not occur to them in the abstract, but they will notice the difference when they play at one game where their big hands are played with an overlay of people trying to improperly affect the hand versus being played with respect for OPTAH.
 
This is great advice, but I am super disappointed that you walked back Approach #2. That idea is brilliant and would go along well with those that want to take the embrace the chaos :p.

That said when I host, if players are getting close to the line I will usually just blurt out "guys the hand is still live" and that will serve to stop any conversation that's going before it's goes too far.
I usually roll with something like this or "one player to a hand, please" when people start to yap during a hand. Most of my players are at least a little experienced and don't need the rule explained to them; they just get a little unruly sometimes and need a shush.

What truly sucks is that it can't be taken back. Once it affects the hand, it's done, and it's not like you can declare it a fouled hand or impose restrictions on the players involved. I've had cases where some carelessly muttered bit of information was enough to dramatically change my understanding of my hand value while I was in the middle of making a huge decision, and like, what can do you even do?*

I don't like "What can you even do?" situations in poker. It always means someone is catching unfairness.

For the curious, the specific hand I had in mind was 5- or 6-card Keithington: double-board flop game with Omaha hand-construction rules (2 hole cards, 3 board cards) on the top board and Hold'em rules (any hole and board cards) on the bottom. I had J8xxx and the Omaha board had JJ8xx. On the Hold'em board, I had a hand that could go either way, which is pretty typical in that game. The pot was fairly large, and the opponent shoved into me for a substantial overbet. It was a tough decision until one of the guys who was out of the hand basically said he would have had the nuts on the Omaha board. Nothing else to do but snap-call. TBH I don't even remember the outcome of the hand, just the inappropriate board talk.
 
Another approach which may be more passive. Start an invite email (or other written invite). At the bottom have a short segment on 'lore'. Different topic each time, keep the focus on educating rather than complaining. Sometimes can be a link to a vid. Slowly but surely educate the players with different topics. One could introduce why table talk/reactions are a problem. May improve the game gradually with less confrontation. May even have other players joining with policing during games.
 
I had something like this happen a while back. It was a regular who liked to comment when not in the hand. Compounding the problem was the fact that he often volunteered to deal. People had said something to me but I didn't realize it was an issue until I observed it personally. I let it go that night as to avoid an potential confrontation, but the next day I sent him the following email:

Thanks again for continuing to volunteer to deal. It makes the game run so much better when people step up to deal for the night.

Something's come up that I need to bounce off you. I gotta ask you to make a procedural change going forward whether you're dealing or just playing.

Commenting on hands while they're in progress is a huge breach of etiquette when you're not involved in the hand, but it's especially bad decorum when you're the dealer. Please know this isn't just coming from me - several players brought this to my attention last season but I hadn't realized this needed to be addressed until after Tuesday night.

I'm not trying to beat you up - and I want you to know you're a respected member of the group and your contribution is greatly appreciated. But I wouldn't be doing my job as the organizer if I allow this to continue. So here's a few examples so you know what I'm referring to.

Making comments about the board, or how a turn/river card might have improved or players' hand is very inappropriate. Saying things like 'lots of possibilities', or 'possible straight out there' could potentially give information to a less-than-savvy player. It's also not the role of the dealer to nudge a player who's taking their time with a decision. Tuesday night Bob was in the middle of a decision and he was interrupted. That just can't happen.

If you observe dealers in public card rooms, while a hand is in progress they're always rather stoic and robotic in their mechanics - they're pretty much just there to pitch the cards and enforce the rules. That's kind of what we're going for since the Moxie League is designed to mimic a professional setting as much as reasonably possible.

Thanks for understanding. See you in 2 weeks.

The email was well received and the issue hasn't come up.
Approach #3: Stop hosting this game. I don't know how long you've been hosting this, but if you're a fairly serious player/host for whom it's important for a game to operate soundly and according to reasonable, consistent rules, this may never quite work out. Sounds like you have a game full of party animals who love drinking and shouting, and strict rules are about as important to them in poker as they would be in Cards Against Humanity.
+1 on this.

There's a disconnect that the OP is probably not going to reconcile. OP wants one thing, the crowd wants another.

Because the game is hosted in her space, the players are her guests and as such, it's her game. I assume OP is running the game because it's his equipment and he has the experience?
 
There's a disconnect that the OP is probably not going to reconcile. OP wants one thing, the crowd wants another.

Because the game is hosted in her space, the players are her guests and as such, it's her game. I assume OP is running the game because it's his equipment and he has the experience?
Yea, and the disconnect is primarily with me and the co-host.

As I wrote earlier, this game started last summer. It was just supposed to be one night thing, and my co-host had the space for it; I really don't. It was very fun and successful, and so we thought, "Let's do it again!" And then I thought, "Let's buy some nice chips/cards/tables!" etc.

But over the last year, it's grown. I got into the minutiae of it all (hosting duties, poker strategy, etiquette) and a lot of the other players have (it's not all hooligans); my co-host is the one who primarily hasn't. She provides the space and food, but nothing with the actual game mechanics. She does collect the money and distribute payouts, but even then she relies on me to tell her how much to pay whom and how much each person owes her.

I am going to talk with her. I am going to tell her if she wants a super casual game without many formal rules? That is totally fine! I will come to that game; I just don't want to host that game.

But if she wants me to continue sorting the starting stacks, brining my equipment, managing payouts, seating, blind structure, etc.? Then I need her to please respect when I think there needs to be a rule.
 
Yea, and the disconnect is primarily with me and the co-host.

As I wrote earlier, this game started last summer. It was just supposed to be one night thing, and my co-host had the space for it; I really don't. It was very fun and successful, and so we thought, "Let's do it again!" And then I thought, "Let's buy some nice chips/cards/tables!" etc.

But over the last year, it's grown. I got into the minutiae of it all (hosting duties, poker strategy, etiquette) and a lot of the other players have (it's not all hooligans); my co-host is the one who primarily hasn't. She provides the space and food, but nothing with the actual game mechanics. She does collect the money and distribute payouts, but even then she relies on me to tell her how much to pay whom and how much each person owes her.

I am going to talk with her. I am going to tell her if she wants a super casual game without many formal rules? That is totally fine! I will come to that game; I just don't want to host that game.

But if she wants me to continue sorting the starting stacks, brining my equipment, managing payouts, seating, blind structure, etc.? Then I need her to please respect when I think there needs to be a rule.
I'd just make it my game at my place. I started hosting in a tiny apartment. Dining/lounge room was converted to a poker room each game. It was very cramped and the chips and chairs were rubbish. But the atmosphere was still great and it may have been the most fun time of my long game.
 
I'd just make it my game at my place. I started hosting in a tiny apartment. Dining/lounge room was converted to a poker room each game. It was very cramped and the chips and chairs were rubbish. But the atmosphere was still great and it may have been the most fun time of my long game.
Same. I used to live in a < 350 sq ft studio in Brooklyn. Barely had room to even store the table and folding chairs, never mind set them up and have tables with food and drinks. But once it got set up, everyone had a blast and no one cared that we were crammed into a sardine can.
 
As you mentioned that she was tipsy when the incident happened, try having a conversation with her when she’s sober and explain that it’s really unfair to a player when they’re making actions and more than one person is giving advice to the opponent. As an example, say you’re repping a king on a bluff and a player out of the hand says “he can’t have a king, I folded one” then clearly that’s unfair to you.

This is not a house rule thing, excessive table talk is unfair to every player in the hand.

I will admit that I have groaned on occasion when I’ve folded a hand that turns into a winning one on the turn or river but it’s more my lack of poker face than anything malicious.
 
I used to be more of a rules Nazi, but have lightened up. One player to a hand when you are bluffing is the worst. If you bring it up, the other player most likely thinks you don't want to be called. Problem is I would say the same thing if I had the nuts. Lost a few hands over the years bluffing while other players were giving adivce like "he's bluffing."
 
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Because the game is hosted in her space, the players are her guests and as such, it's her game. I assume OP is running the game because it's his equipment and he has the experience?
I disagree with this being the default assumption. Yeah, the host always have veto power over the guest list at the very least (guest behaviour is part of that), but it's not necessarily true that they have or need to have any extra control over the game over what they would have as a player.

I'm in a kinda similar situation where I've provided my circle of players with all the equipment but I have a friend with a nicer places that regularly hosts - the group is still very much understanding that in the context of rule-making and the scaffolding for new player shenanigans it's "my" game. I don't get much grumbling each time I introduce more basic poker etiquette and initially frustrating but fair rules (e.g mistaken folds by dealer) despite the group having lots of people that barely play poker outside of my group's games.
 
Our only solution: we shut down that type of talk immediately and, if needed, repeatedly. Games have rules, and they cease to be rules if not "taken seriously". If someone complains about the "seriousness" of any game, then I will happily invite them to stake everybody since it's obviously no big deal.
 
Another approach which may be more passive. Start an invite email (or other written invite). At the bottom have a short segment on 'lore'. Different topic each time, keep the focus on educating rather than complaining. Sometimes can be a link to a vid. Slowly but surely educate the players with different topics. One could introduce why table talk/reactions are a problem. May improve the game gradually with less confrontation. May even have other players joining with policing during games.
I have a slide with very high level house rules that is posted in group chats occasionally; 72 game is on, straddles allowed, link to robert's rules. If OPTAH became an issue then between games I'd add a note on there and start chatting about it in the whatsapp group to explain why.
 
Given we've always linked to Robert's rules, I'd also refer to it - to show its standard practice not me being weird.

I'm also happy to light-heartedly take the image of rules stickler, I think everyone knows it ultimately helps the game flow.

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Table talk, especially with friends can get out of hand sometime. When players that fold, then start comparing their bad hands with each other while the hand is in play. They are giving valuable info to those still in the hand. That also goes with commenting on bets or he's bluffing type comments.
It's important to mention prior to game time, for everyone to not chatter about their folded hands, or comment on the hand being played by other players.
The great thing about being the host, is that he or she gets to invite who they want. If some continue to chatter about the above when others are in a hand, then they may be uninvited for the next.
Fortunately, my table talk is more about sports, and only occasionally has anyone crossed the line When it has happened early on, they were politely asked, not only by me the host, but others as well, to only speak about their folded hands after the hand in question is finished. Then they can complain all they want about their bad luck until the next hand is dealt.
 
Given we've always linked to Robert's rules, I'd also refer to it - to show its standard practice not me being weird.

I'm also happy to light-heartedly take the image of rules stickler, I think everyone knows it ultimately helps the game flow.

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Yeaaahh but if our issue is looking too serious at a home game, I doubt bringing up a document on Etiquette is going to change any minds. You're right though.
 
We do shots for 'etiquette faux-pas'. That might help balance the mood :)
Good idea.
We have a couple of Don’t Be A Dick type buttons that fly around the table for moderating the banter, calling out people not paying attention, complaining etc. I’m going to launch one at the next person who calls out board texture. :)
 
From the very beginning (20+ years ago), our games have a) been hosted in various people's homes on a rotating basis, b) had most (or all) poker equipment supplied by me, and c) had all tournament organization and direction supplied by me (including written rules). Those rules were explained, and they were enforced. No exceptions.

And although I was accused early-on as being a "rules tyrant", it didn't take very long for players to realize that the rules were in place for their own player protection and game stability. Poker is a much more fun event when nobody is arguing about "what's right".

And to this day, they still thank me whenever they attend a different home game with very lax (or no) rules, or after visiting an actual casino where they felt comfortable because they were already familiar with all of their rules and procedures because they had seen them all before.
 
Same, a player went to Vegas for the first time and was pleased we play 'properly' so what happened there made sense.
 
From the very beginning (20+ years ago), our games have a) been hosted in various people's homes on a rotating basis, b) had most (or all) poker equipment supplied by me, and c) had all tournament organization and direction supplied by me (including written rules). Those rules were explained, and they were enforced. No exceptions.

And although I was accused early-on as being a "rules tyrant", it didn't take very long for players to realize that the rules were in place for their own player protection and game stability. Poker is a much more fun event when nobody is arguing about "what's right".

And to this day, they still thank me whenever they attend a different home game with very lax (or no) rules, or after visiting an actual casino where they felt comfortable because they were already familiar with all of their rules and procedures because they had seen them all before.
Would you be able to share the rules you follow and the tournament director procedures? Or a link to the thread if you’ve already posted?
 
Would you be able to share the rules you follow and the tournament director procedures? Or a link to the thread if you’ve already posted?
I patterned my league largely off of @BGinGA's suggestions, so if you'd like to see my league rules, send me a PM. I'll gladly share the document with you, but please don't share or publish it anywhere on the web, since I don't want it indexed in search engines.

And although I was accused early-on as being a "rules tyrant", it didn't take very long for players to realize that the rules were in place for their own player protection and game stability.
I get that too from time to time... I've gotten to the point where any new players are required to acknowledge that they've read the rules before they're invited to league events. I've gotten feedback like 'too many rules' a few times... which is kind of the desired response. The people I'm looking to host appreciate the professionalism and weeding out those who aren't a good fit is pretty important.
 
Yeaaahh but if our issue is looking too serious at a home game, I doubt bringing up a document on Etiquette is going to change any minds. You're right though.
I just thought of an analogy that I think can rally my players to understand...

You're at a Lakers game, in the seats. Lebron makes a 3 pointer; you cheer. Davis misses a free throw; you groan. All of those REACTIONS are totally fine. But what is not fine is running onto the court and beginning to toss the ball around.

Reactions to a poker hand are fine. But comments when you're not heads up (encouraging how someone should play, guessing what hands they have, or reading board texture) are the equivalent of running onto the court when you're not on the Lakers.
 
After reading this thread I paid close attention to the state of my regular monthly game last Saturday. Holy shit, infractions of etiquette and screwy things happened so often I had to send out a group text yesterday pointing out that we need to return to playing correctly.

Goading people to call or fold by those out of the hand.

Dealing from the wrong stub post flop and having betting action on that total mess at my second table when using two decks.

Misreading a crucial hand showdown late in the tournament that changed the output. I was involved in this one so no excuse on me either. Had a dedicated dealer at that time who got in too big of a hurry. When I thought about the hand a few minutes later it was too late to repair here’s the scenario:

Hero: J 10 suited
Villain: 10 2

Board K 10 4 K 2

Showdown - villain states two pair tens and deuces. Is awarded the pot. I’m stunned he has two pair so accept a huge loss. Upon review I WON the hand - kings and tens Jack kicker. Villain would have been out but ended up finishing second in the tournament! Messed up stuff! Dealer scooped board too quickly and immediately dealt the next hand. Some of my fault, but damn, the pot was huge. I ended up winning at the end after making a steamed comeback but other players were affected which sucked in yearly points standings in addition to monthly prize money. Bad Mojo all Round. HD trouble sleeping after that, couldn’t let the F up go in my brain.

Forgetting to deal to themself when dealing, twice!

Worse yet, no one gets drunk or high during the game, just stupid lazy messed up shit.

So sent a group text stating we need to tighten up stuff or risk having a shitfest if things continue like they did last Saturday. Some may have been offended but I do not care.

Oh, and guys have gotten careless with my chips, perhaps the thing that pissed me off the most until the hand misread. Half a rack of chips dropped on my concrete tiled basement floor. My new Rounders set! No damage thankfully but cross words from me to the offender.
 
After reading this thread I paid close attention to the state of my regular monthly game last Saturday. Holy shit, infractions of etiquette and screwy things happened so often I had to send out a group text yesterday pointing out that we need to return to playing correctly.

Goading people to call or fold by those out of the hand.

Dealing from the wrong stub post flop and having betting action on that total mess at my second table when using two decks.

Misreading a crucial hand showdown late in the tournament that changed the output. I was involved in this one so no excuse on me either. Had a dedicated dealer at that time who got in too big of a hurry. When I thought about the hand a few minutes later it was too late to repair here’s the scenario:

Hero: J 10 suited
Villain: 10 2

Board K 10 4 K 2

Showdown - villain states two pair tens and deuces. Is awarded the pot. I’m stunned he has two pair so accept a huge loss. Upon review I WON the hand - kings and tens Jack kicker. Villain would have been out but ended up finishing second in the tournament! Messed up stuff! Dealer scooped board too quickly and immediately dealt the next hand. Some of my fault, but damn, the pot was huge. I ended up winning at the end after making a steamed comeback but other players were affected which sucked in yearly points standings in addition to monthly prize money. Bad Mojo all Round. HD trouble sleeping after that, couldn’t let the F up go in my brain.

Forgetting to deal to themself when dealing, twice!

Worse yet, no one gets drunk or high during the game, just stupid lazy messed up shit.

So sent a group text stating we need to tighten up stuff or risk having a shitfest if things continue like they did last Saturday. Some may have been offended but I do not care.

Oh, and guys have gotten careless with my chips, perhaps the thing that pissed me off the most until the hand misread. Half a rack of chips dropped on my concrete tiled basement floor. My new Rounders set! No damage thankfully but cross words from me to the offender.
Very glad no casualties, that's a tough moment!
 
After reading this thread I paid close attention to the state of my regular monthly game last Saturday. Holy shit, infractions of etiquette and screwy things happened so often I had to send out a group text yesterday pointing out that we need to return to playing correctly.

Goading people to call or fold by those out of the hand.

Dealing from the wrong stub post flop and having betting action on that total mess at my second table when using two decks.

Misreading a crucial hand showdown late in the tournament that changed the output. I was involved in this one so no excuse on me either. Had a dedicated dealer at that time who got in too big of a hurry. When I thought about the hand a few minutes later it was too late to repair here’s the scenario:

Hero: J 10 suited
Villain: 10 2

Board K 10 4 K 2

Showdown - villain states two pair tens and deuces. Is awarded the pot. I’m stunned he has two pair so accept a huge loss. Upon review I WON the hand - kings and tens Jack kicker. Villain would have been out but ended up finishing second in the tournament! Messed up stuff! Dealer scooped board too quickly and immediately dealt the next hand. Some of my fault, but damn, the pot was huge. I ended up winning at the end after making a steamed comeback but other players were affected which sucked in yearly points standings in addition to monthly prize money. Bad Mojo all Round. HD trouble sleeping after that, couldn’t let the F up go in my brain.

Forgetting to deal to themself when dealing, twice!

Worse yet, no one gets drunk or high during the game, just stupid lazy messed up shit.

So sent a group text stating we need to tighten up stuff or risk having a shitfest if things continue like they did last Saturday. Some may have been offended but I do not care.

Oh, and guys have gotten careless with my chips, perhaps the thing that pissed me off the most until the hand misread. Half a rack of chips dropped on my concrete tiled basement floor. My new Rounders set! No damage thankfully but cross words from me to the offender.
Curious about the context of your game. How long have you been playing? How many people? What are the levels of experience? And what is the response from your email?
 
Curious about the context of your game. How long have you been playing? How many people? What are the levels of experience? And what is the response from your email?
We have been playing off and on for 15 years. Pretty experienced players that sometimes get a little lax. Most players have reacted with a positive attitude to the message, the biggest offenders apologizing in their replies, especially the guy who was dealing. Said he was just pushing cards not paying attention to the board, and admitted to scooping the board cards too quickly before pushing the pot to the wrong player. Most months the game is taken very seriously given the relatively small stakes we play for.
 

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