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Poker News | Online Poker | News

Poker Plus - Online Etiquette

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Have you ever been in a game and clicked on your opponent’s name to see where they were from? Then, wondered why instead of the name of a city, town or country, you see “no-chat”?

What most likely has happened is your opponent had his or her chat privileges revoked for improper behavior.

When playing in a B&M poker room, a floor supervisor is at hand, roaming around, helping to keep unruly players in-line. If a player is obnoxious or causing a problem, you or the dealer can easily call the floor person or supervisor to handle the problem. But when a player is out of line online, what do you do? Simple, you email support and make a complaint. In your email be sure to note the player’s name/player ID, the number and name of the game or tournament the incident occurred in, and specifically what the player did or said. Almost every poker site will issue a warning to the offensive player and/or revoke their chat privileges.

In the years I have been playing online, I have reported players for being vulgar, insulting others, and intentionally timing out every hand. You may think the site wouldn’t care about the last item, holding up the game, but they do. The slower the game, the slower the house rake. Slow players may irritate you and test your patience, but they cost the house money, which the online site takes seriously.

When you play live it is easy to learn the house rules and expected rules of behavior in a game, online it is not so easy. Poker sites do post guidelines for player behavior but often it is not easy to find. To make online games smooth and enjoyable for all, there are some basic rules of “online poker etiquette” all of us should follow which are outlined below.

1. Play promptly when it is your turn. Depending on the game you are in, you will have up to 30 seconds to act, 15 seconds in a designated fast game. There is also a one minute time clock that will activate if you take longer to act. If you use up that minute, you will be timed out and forced to sit out. On any day or 24 hour period, you will have 3 total minutes on your time clock. If you use them all, you have to request support to reset your time out clock, or wait until 24 hours have passed for the clock to reset. Unless you truly are facing a big decision in a hand, be considerate and play in a timely manner. Intentionally playing slow will turn a pleasant game into an irritating and frustrating experience. Timing out or disconnecting on purpose is one of the rudest things you can do when playing online.

2. Play in turn. When playing online you are forced to play in turn, but there is still the fold option. Folding when you are not facing a bet is very poor poker behavior. Checking, instead of folding, when it is your turn to act, protects the other players in the pot. As an example; there are three players in the pot, you are second and it is your turn. If you fold instead of checking, you give the player behind you a great opportunity to bluff as he knows you are out and maybe the other player who checked will fold. By folding out of turn, you give no protection to player #1 and an unfair advantage to player #3. Therefore, be considerate; don’t fold when you can check.

3. No one can play continuously without a few breaks. Besides nature calling, we get hungry, thirsty or get interrupted. When you need to, sit out until you have taken care of whatever you have to do. Sitting out is better than trying to hurry back, missing your hand and timing out. If there are three or more people sitting out, try to hurry or the game may break while you are gone. Most players don’t want to play in a short-handed game and if too many players are gone, they will leave. If you know you will have to be gone quite awhile, leave the game and let another player have your seat. Sitting out indefinitely, especially when there are players on the waiting list is very inconsiderate. After a couple of rounds, the game software will remove you anyway, so leave the game before that happens, you can always come back later.

4. If you enter a tournament, be sure you will be available to play in it. Yes, unforeseen things can happen, but try hard to only register in tournaments you know you will have the time to play in. Most large field tournaments can take up to five hours or more if you make it to the final table. If it is 9 p.m. and you have to work in the morning, it may be better to pass on that tournament and wait for one another day at a more convenient time. It is too common to see players in small buy-in tournaments that never play or sit out after getting a few chips and not coming back. Players who sit out make the whole tournament experience bad for everyone.

5. Never be rude, vulgar or insulting in chat. Players who continuously whine, cry and insult others make the game miserable for everyone. It serves no good purpose to insult the action/loose players. What will happen is you will embarrass them and they will leave, taking the opportunity for you to win their chips with them. Insulting bad players is a lose-lose situation for everyone. Scream at the dog, shake the monitor, do anything…but don’t express your irritation in chat! This is what most commonly will get your chat privileges revoked. And, if a player is bothering you with their chat, all sites have a block chat option…use it. Remember, quite often the biggest whiner at the table is also the biggest loser!

6. Don’t give free lessons at the table. In every game you will see players making bad calls, bluffing and just flat playing bad. This is how you win money! Never criticize or try to teach your opponents how to play. If they are in a high/low game and ask a question like “does it have to be 8 or better for low” by all means tell them, just don’t add anything, like advising them to only play small straights. If you make a friend online in a game and want to help them offline, go ahead, just don’t do it at the table. Your opponents don’t want to see free lessons in the chat box and you educating the people they are winning money from. Instead of giving advice, if a loose player loses and makes a comment, say something nice like, “wow, what bad luck” this way you are not insulting their play, but encouraging them to keep on playing the same way.

7. Chatting while in a hand. Wait to chat until you are not in a hand, so you won’t slow the game down. You only have a few seconds to act, don’t use it by chatting. Chatting with other players is a nice thing to do and makes the game feel friendlier. Interaction with other players makes the game feel more personal, like a real game. It is nice to welcome a new player to a game with a simple hi or hello. Some other nice things to say in chat are; NH (nice hand), GG (good going), VNH (very nice hand), WTG (way to go) or well played. Other things you may see are NR (nice river) meaning- you sucked out on me, or good catch which really means- I had you beat till you got lucky. Also, if you chat, never say what you threw away while the hand is in progress. Saying “I mucked an Ace” when there are 3 Aces on the board could be devastating to the guy who just raised the pot! Never discuss a hand until it is over.

8. Even if you are playing for a living, or to make money, be considerate and pleasant at all times. Be the kind of player the loose players want to play with, it will increase your winnings.

Have fun when playing and winning…and your opponents won’t mind losing to you as much!

Grab a Chair…see you there!

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