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Ethics at the Poker Table

Last updated: 01/11/2008 16:17
Ethics at the Poker Table

What is ethical at the poker table? Does anything go or are there limits?

Each poker room and table you sit at will have it’s own rules regarding the actual rules and regulations of the game. For example blind structure, minimum raises, determinations of verbal bets, etc.

However we are going to examine what is ethical in today’s game of poker. Now I realize this will be a controversial piece which may be agreed or disagreed with. However, poker is a game of psychology. And there are many types of psychologies working at the same time in order to achieve the ultimate goal. You may have sat across from a loud mouth once or twice, or someone who tries to intimidate you with insults. You may have been this person yourself. The main reason people do this is to upset other players routine to put them off their natural game.

"smellyplayers (stench/bad breath), loud players, insults, dunk players,exposed clevage, laughing, non-stop questions, non stop talking, music,slow to act, eating and even flatulence or burping..."

The truth is that while this may not be the most pleasant of behavior, we are not at the poker table to make friends. (Note: if you are playing to make friends, play low stakes games or organize a regular game amongst your mates) 

Taking competitive advantage in a poker game can be crucial. But where do you draw the line? It is really up to you and how much you want to hold your own dignity at the poker table. Think about anyone who has done or is one of the following: smelly players (stench/bad breath), loud players, insults, dunk players, exposed clevage, laughing, non-stop questions, non stop talking, music, slow to act, eating and even flatulence or burping (yes, really!)

Did this annoy you? Were you distracted? Well, it may have worked in putting you off your game. Not every player purposefully employs these tactics, but many do and it is important to be aware of this, as the poker table is not real life. In many ways, it’s war or at the very least hand by hand combat. And in war, there is no prize for the runner-up, so anything goes.

To the victors go the spoils!

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