Teaching proper poker Etiquette

CO0LHand

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So I have a regular game going that has been really, really informal for a couple years now. In the past we haven't really met on any regular schedule, it was mostly when we had enough people in town and were up for a game, but I am trying to get a league going and that has been working out so far. One issue that I see is that about half of the players know proper poker etiquette and half don't. I have seen people do some string bets (nothing too serious), saying "I shouldn't have folded," not using a card guard to cover the card on the bottom of the deck, peeking at their hands after they have mucked, and dealers showing the "rabbit card" after someone buys a pot. I usually point out the serious issues but I am wondering if anyone has had success in teaching folks the subtle points of playing the game without coming off as a hard ass. They aren't really big issues and I wouldn't mind letting some of them go since they are pretty harmless but I am trying to elevate the game and get it to be less casual and a little more serious.

I have thought about printing rules and posting them but when you start to dig into Robert's Rules of Poker it starts to get pretty overwhelming pretty quickly. I also find that reading comprehension for the emails I send out is pretty lackluster so that method doesn't seem to be too successful.

Thanks in advance for any ideas!
 

Mental Nomad

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Only fix one at a time. Only one. Looking like you're fixing everything at once is what makes you look like a hardass.

Always explain how the thing you're fixing is used by cheaters, and how not doing it is classier.

And don't stop the rabbit hunts. It's not used to cheat, and adds an element of fun for people, many of whom don't play very well.
 

Poker Zombie

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I have successfully broken nearly 2 dozen people of these bad habits.

Mentioning each rule violation can make you sound like a hard-ass, so I try to address the rules in a fun-to-read manner. Before each game, I have a stack of newsletters available. Each issue contains enough light-hearted humor to keep most players interested. Since the newsletter is available each night, it becomes the table topic for the evening. Getting your players to know why a rule exists, is the most important part. Next thing you know, you'll be stopping far fewer rule violations - your other players will be policing other's for you, with an explanation like "You can't rabbit hunt. If you folded because you thought jimmy had the ace, and then you turned over the ace, you'd know he was bluffing. Then it's no longer fun, now it's outright cheating!"

Here are a few examples of the newsletters discussing rules. I blame/thank Facebook for making the standards of humor so low in this country that this constitutes humor.
Inside Brain #14  Proper Betting-Kim Grand Slam.jpgInside Brain #22 Chip Placement-PotY Update.jpgInside Brain #23 Talking about your Hand-PotY Update.jpgInside Brain #31 Cutting the Deck-Poty Update.jpg
 

Poker Zombie

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It wasn't until after I posted it that I thought "wow, that's a lot of reading, and very small text." Sorry to everyone trying to get through it on their iPhone. :eek:
 

MeridianFC

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Zombie,

Love your newsletter. Keeps it friendly but does educate. Well done.

My advice to OP, keep it friendly. It will take time but it will be worth it.
 

slisk250

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I could use some good reading material. How do I subscribe to Inside the Zombie's Brain?...including all back issues. Maybe you need a sticky in the forums somewhere since I'm here a good portion of my waking hours. This is good stuff.
 

links_slayer

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I could use some good reading material. How do I subscribe to Inside the Zombie's Brain?...including all back issues. Maybe you need a sticky in the forums somewhere since I'm here a good portion of my waking hours. This is good stuff.

I was wondering the same thing. Excellent information presented in the 4 newsletters posted here! I can only assume that the others are just as good.
 

CO0LHand

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That's not a bad method there man, thanks for the tip. I also like the idea of trying to break people of one bad habit at a time .

Here's a question for you guys.

In my last game I had two players in a hand where Player 1 asked Player 2 how much money he had and Player 2 responded $110 and some ones. Player 1 put Player 2 all in. The hand plays out and Player 2 wins. Player 1 was upset that Player 2 had 17 ones when they were very obviously put into the pot. Whose responsibility is it to count? If a player asks "How much do you have" before officially putting that player all in is the player asking responsible for counting or does the player asked "how much do you have" responsible to count his/her chips? I am curious because I have seen people use the "how much do you have" as an attempt to force a player out and I want to know who is responsible for that count.
 

atomiktoaster

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Great reads, Zombie. I have a hard time with etiquette, since A) I don't have a great grasp on all the rules myself and B) a lot of the players get openly hostile to the game being "less fun" or "more serious" (which are taken as synonymous). Still, certain things like string bets are gradually becoming taboo and only a few players actively refuse to use a cut card anymore (the rest just forget to use it). The stuff that is probably the most egregious, like showing hole cards to players out of the hand or asking "who hit the flush?" when the third club is dealt might never go away. It's probably ESPN's fault for creating an expectation of commentary and inside knowledge, but because most of the benefit goes to newer players who aren't going to play in a casino any time soon, I think I just have to let it slide.
 

Poker Zombie

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I never gave it much thought before, but I will start a thread later this afternoon, and put up the newsletters on it. Obviously, the personal stuff relating directly to the game won't mean much to those outside the club, but I guess there is usually something the world might find useful. Stay tuned, and I will put issue #1 up tonight.
 

Mental Nomad

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If a player asks "How much do you have" before officially putting that player all in is the player asking responsible for counting or does the player asked "how much do you have" responsible to count his/her chips?

In professional contexts, the dealers and/or floorperson will run down the stacks. As I recall, the player has no obligation to accurately guess or state their stacks - although they do have an obligation to maintain their chips in such a manner that others can easily estimate their value. That's usually translated as, "you can't hide your big chips." When someone is asked for a count, someone - usually the dealer, but sometimes the player themselves, will lay out their chips in standard manner - stacks of 20 (with one stack getting proved, and the others matched to the proved stack), big to small, arrayed so as to easily be visually confirmed by everyone involved.

It's kind of like the "cards talk" rule. You have what you have, regardless what people may mistakenly say. But it has to be visible so that people can see it and know what you have.
 

daschuck77

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Awesome read and advice Zombie!! Where is the 'subscribe' button to the newsletter?!?!

Definitely take the etiquette training slow. Spoon feed less skilled and aware players these lessons-maybe just enough to keep the game flow moving along smoothly without alienating them and they quit printing money. I was belittled and called some sort of "poker snob" for suggesting 2 players run it twice. Both All in about $400 pre-flop. One with AK the other inexplicably with KJ. They had never heard of running two boards. Words like "variance" did nothing for them but give the players stink faces when I tried to explain. Ok, never mind then. Needless to say when a Jack peeled on the river the loser wanted to know more of this "running it twice".
 

BGinGA

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In my last game I had two players in a hand where Player 1 asked Player 2 how much money he had and Player 2 responded $110 and some ones. Player 1 put Player 2 all in. The hand plays out and Player 2 wins. Player 1 was upset that Player 2 had 17 ones when they were very obviously put into the pot. Whose responsibility is it to count? If a player asks "How much do you have" before officially putting that player all in is the player asking responsible for counting or does the player asked "how much do you have" responsible to count his/her chips? I am curious because I have seen people use the "how much do you have" as an attempt to force a player out and I want to know who is responsible for that count.

Solid reply from Nomad, but I just wanted to point out the not-so-obvious terminology flaw in your post, common with ignorant (not stupid) players: You can't put another player all-in; only a player may bet (or call) all of his/her chips to put themselves all-in. The only thing another player can do is bet large enough to cover the players stack, forcing them to be all-in IF THEY CALL. But you cannot ever put another player all-in.....

The use of that term (I put you all-in) tilts me no end, obv. :D
 

Mental Nomad

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You can't put another player all-in...

Exactly right! I'm with you, on this one. I think it creeps into the terminology because it's the active phrase in poker theory... you're trying to control pot size so your opponent is pot-committed, so that when you raise they have no reasonable option but to call all-in... In other words, you're trying to put them all in by way of manipulating them. But you can't really make them do it. It's possible for them to build the pot to $100 and then fold rather than call the last $5, when you've snapped off their bluff (though you can expect some Hollywood.)

There are two other poker terms that set off my Peeve Buzzer all the time online, but they don't even matter to thinking about the game, never mind the play of the game, so I sit on my hands.
 

Irish

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Solid reply from Nomad, but I just wanted to point out the not-so-obvious terminology flaw in your post, common with ignorant (not stupid) players: You can't put another player all-in; only a player may bet (or call) all of his/her chips to put themselves all-in. The only thing another player can do is bet large enough to cover the players stack, forcing them to be all-in IF THEY CALL. But you cannot ever put another player all-in.....

The use of that term (I put you all-in) tilts me no end, obv. :D

LOL, glad to see I'm not the only one. My response to "I put you all-in" is to say "Great! I fold your hand!"
 

CO0LHand

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Solid reply from Nomad, but I just wanted to point out the not-so-obvious terminology flaw in your post, common with ignorant (not stupid) players: You can't put another player all-in; only a player may bet (or call) all of his/her chips to put themselves all-in. The only thing another player can do is bet large enough to cover the players stack, forcing them to be all-in IF THEY CALL. But you cannot ever put another player all-in.....

The use of that term (I put you all-in) tilts me no end, obv. :D

Point taken and it was written poorly but that terminology does get thrown around all the time.
 

Poker Zombie

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I don't really have an issue with tikki-tac terminology. I am so going to clean up at S@P II this year. I'm calling all my sets "trips" all my trips "sets", and every all in I'm saying "I'm putting you all in." There's going to be so many players on tilt, Tom's going to have to shore up one side of his house afterward.
 
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Poker Zombie

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I have started a new thread with the newsletter here. Use caution. I brought a few to S@P I at BGinGA's request. after he read them, I don't think I saw him the rest of the night - like he was avoiding me for safety reasons.

Remember, you asked for it...
 

grandgnu

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Always explain how the thing you're fixing is used by cheaters, and how not doing it is classier.

I generally prefer to show how a rules violation could result in a misunderstanding regarding a players action (i.e. string bets, etc) rather than mentioning the possibility of cheating.

When you start using the C word amongst friendly recreational players I've found it's less effective. This can be for a few reasons:

1. They feel they are honest and thus may project that image onto everyone else in a home-game setting, believing no one cheats in a home game

2. Since you mentioned cheating it means you feel they are not trustworthy, making them feel unwelcome or offended

3. Since you mentioned cheating now they are paranoid that everyone is trying to cheat and will become ridiculous rules Nazis (and generally apply said rules 100% incorrectly) making the game less enjoyable for everyone

- - - - - - - - - Updated - - - - - - - - -

LOL, glad to see I'm not the only one. My response to "I put you all-in" is to say "Great! I fold your hand!"

BWA-HA-HA! That's fricken genius, I love it! My go-to line against an opponent is to say "if I show will you fold?" which generally causes them to do a double-take and realize what I said is the exact opposite of what they thought I said. It's also great for getting a read because it catches them off guard, and you can tell by their laughter and smile if it's natural/relaxed (i.e. confident in their hand) or if they're forcing it (i.e. uncomfortable with their hand)
 

grandgnu

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Just remembered something else I wanted to add to my post. Those rec players that always talk about the board (look who could have a flush, who has the straight, who has trip 4's???"

Their general belief is that it's plain to see, they noticed it and thus EVERYONE must notice it and it's ok to talk about it.

The way to combat this is to mention that even Phil Ivey folded a flush on television because HE didn't realize he had it. So if Phil Ivey of all people can misread the board, ANYONE can misread it.
 

atomiktoaster

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Just remembered something else I wanted to add to my post. Those rec players that always talk about the board (look who could have a flush, who has the straight, who has trip 4's???"

Their general belief is that it's plain to see, they noticed it and thus EVERYONE must notice it and it's ok to talk about it.

The way to combat this is to mention that even Phil Ivey folded a flush on television because HE didn't realize he had it. So if Phil Ivey of all people can misread the board, ANYONE can misread it.

Sure, but who wants to win a friendly $10 game between coworkers because of a misread board? Context can make a difference.
 

Racer96

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With regards to the "I put you all in" bet , I was playing at a casino (I can't remember where now), and a player said that to someone. The dealer stopped him and made him clarify that he is betting all-in (or an amount). The reason was that there was a history of a player saying " I put you all in" several times, and collecting pots when the opponent folded. One time in a big pot, he announced the same " I put you all in" and the opponent said "Call!" and quickly showed the nuts. The other player then said, "What? I didn't say I'm all in. I didn't bet an amount. I was just saying that I could put you all in. I fold." And somehow this magically was upheld by the floor.

Mike
 

BGinGA

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I hope somebody beat the shit outta him when he left the casino.
 

Mental Nomad

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The way to combat this is to mention that even Phil Ivey folded a flush on television because HE didn't realize he had it. So if Phil Ivey of all people can misread the board, ANYONE can misread it.

Sure, but who wants to win a friendly $10 game between coworkers because of a misread board? Context can make a difference.

When hands are shown at the showdown, cards talk. But until the showdown, they're supposed to keep quiet.

(Although house rules call for "possible flush" and "possible straight" to be called when four to a straight are turned in some games, like 7-stud.)
 
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