Special thanks to MJ (aka Bankhead) for this one:
Many new players feel intimidated by casino poker with its seemingly baffling rituals and pomp. Even the seasoned player will make the occasional faux pas, so a short refresher may be helpful to avoid looking like a "newbie" in your favorite cardroom.
PROTECT THY HAND
Protecting your hand means just what you would expect: Cup your hands concealing the fact that you even have cards. Wait until the action passes you and the dealer turns the next card before calling out, "Hey, what about me?"
Having the button confers upon you an enormous positional advantage. Thus you will want to get the button as often as possible. If the button is to your immediate right or left, but the player in that position doesn't seem to be paying attention, simply slide the button in front of yourself.
IS IT MY BLIND?
Never post a blind until the dealer asks you for the second time. If the dealer forgets to ask, you are not required to pay. Often they make a mistake. Ask how much it is.
Players are often unsure when it is appropriate to ask for time. In general this is proper in any of the following conditions:You are first to act.You are last to act.It is your turn to act.You are looking at the menu.You are reading the Racing Form.
SPLASHING THE POT
Chips should always be splashed into the closest side pot.
Always discuss all hands in play. If three deuces flop, loudly proclaim that no one can have quads because you folded the deuce. The other players will offer their sympathy and maybe even announce what they folded. This makes the game more interesting and is merely a courtesy to those no longer in the hand.
SHOW?! NO YOU SHOW!
The best hand will want to build suspense by waiting until everyone else has shown. However the worst hand will also want to do likewise to avoid the embarrassment that comes from letting other players see what crummy cards he played. This tends to create a deadlock where no player is willing to show a hand. If this happens, simply reach out and sweep up the chips for yourself exclaiming, "Hey if no one else wants it.". Alternatively invoke the speed rule: The first person to show gets to take a chip out of the pot. The last to show is forced to throw one additional chip in.
OVERCALLING YOUR HAND
is not only amusing, it is sometime vital in order to get a player with a better hand to muck his cards. You run the risk of being accused of "angling", so smooth things over by offering to give the pot to your opponent. Exception: If the pot is large, request the decision of the floorman - it cannot hurt.
CRITICIZING OTHER PLAYER
Slacks class. That is why the expression "Nice Catch, sir!" was invented. Use this expression on every hand you lose even if the sir in question is female. If a person criticizes you, demand to know why "If they are so good, why are they playing low limit?" If you play 72off for the hell of it and flop a full house and some wiseguy starts spouting off, "Malmuth say..." or "Lee Jones says..." immediately cut them off and say, "statistics-shamistics, those guys are snobs and there is more to poker than mathematics." This is not only a clever thing to say it is also correct. Remember even Einstein who was poor at math, went on to discover matter or something and become fabulously wealthy.
Once consider a sign of immaturity, this is now the hallmark of the seasoned professional. New players however are often confused when it is appropriate to fling cards at the dealer. This is really a matter of taste but the rule of thumb is to do this whenever you have been dealt two consecutive bad starting hands. If you have pocket Aces cracked, flinging of the cards is automatic. Aim for the face. Flicking lit matches at the dealer is dangerous and is not advised.If the flop gives you the nut monster hand but no one calls, it is OK to fling the cards over the dealers head onto the neighboring table.Flinging cards at another player is a high variance play. He may be armed. It is safer to just fling your cards across the table in an attempt to foul his hand. If he protests, remind him that it is his responsibility to put a chip on his cards.
Although the floorman's decision is final, this rule is frequently misunderstood. What this really means is that the decision of the final floorman is final. If the first floorman does not side with you, do not give up until you have called over every floorman on that shift.
Request a color change when you have amassed exactly 101 chips. Immediately break down the big chip on the following hand. Ask the dealer for one of each color chip. Chip runners should only be used when the dealer has begun to ignore your requests. As a side note, it is OK to order food and drinks from the chip runner if there are no food servers or cocktail waitresses nearby.
Requesting a deck change cannot alter the laws of probability and only serves to slow the game down. Thus you should only ask for one if someone else is winning.
You are permitted breaks from the table for restroom visit, eating, or just wandering about to stretch your legs. Typically 20 minutes is permitted, but there are ways to increase this, by "lobbying at the table." Request an out button while you eat dinner at the table. Once you have finished, you have an additional 20 minutes to walk off that meal. Return to the table, play one or two hands to reset the clock and then wander off to chat with one of the waitresses for an additional 20 minutes. When you return, post only one of your blinds. If the dealer reminds you that you missed both, ask incredulously, "how much!?" Request an out button again while you watch your own game from the rail.Or better yet go off and play Pai Gow. There is no rule that you can't play in more than one game at a time.
is generally prohibited except that spouses are encouraged to share chips when one is getting low on funds. There is also the custom of the lucky chip. Whenever you win a pot, it is customary to toss a lucky chip to each of your friends or to the chip leader. That person should immediately acknowledge your generosity by rolling a lucky chip back to you. Sometimes you can get everyone rolling chips to each other.
THE NAME GAME
Whenever any deuce flops, loudly exclaim, "doooces never loooses!" or "Acey Deucey Never Loosey." You just cannot say it often enough. It is just as clever the thousandth time you hear it. Many hands in Holdem have cute widely known names such as "Big Slick" or "Heinz57", "Broderick Crawford" and even the "Montana Banana." But there was a time before these hands had names - someone had to name them, why not you? It is perfectly acceptable to christen hitherto unnamed hands with whatever strikes your fancy. Example: "Hooks-n-crooks" for Jacks and Sevens. Use your imagination. Any two cards could be "The Big 'W'". Obscurity and pithiness is what you are striving for. Even Mike Caro suggests that feigning insanity can help your table image.
Exist on either side of the dealers and are reserved for smokers who are just joining the game. It is OK to smoke while seated there, but if noticed you must hold the cigarette an extra foot further away from the table. Notice that if you smoke standing up, you are not violating the rule.
TOKING THE DEALER
Toking, or tipping the dealer is a personal decision. Since dealers often claim that they are not at fault when they ruin your hand on the river, by symmetry they are equally not responsible when you win. They cannot have it both ways. So why bother? Tipping should be considered charity that you might give a pathetic homeless person. If you do tip, ask for a receipt.Another way to appear generous and look like a tipper, is after winning a big pot, just ask the dealer if you toked him. Often he will not remember. There - you just saved some money. If he says no, ask him if he's sure. If he still insists, say you are pretty sure that he's wrong and that you already toked him, but that you'll be certain to get him next time.
Tablecops are sniveling irritating players usually heavily stuck and imagines that it is his or her responsibility to point out every minor infraction such as folding out of turn, or showing hands to other players still in the hand or using a 2-way radio to communicate with ones partner. If you should be unlucky enough to find one of these sanctimonious holy-rollers at your table, a simple reminder such as, "Just because you are losing doesn't mean we can't have fun here" should suffice to reset the mood. Ask the dealer if you can have the whiner's seat when he busts out.
If you follow this advice, you will quickly gain the respect and admiration of all the regulars and you just might increase your expectation by a bet or two. Bet? Who bet? Is it on Me?