ONLINE POKER PLAYERS' BIGGEST PET PEEVES
Learning how to play online poker can be a daunting task; remembering all the rules and strategies can feel like you’re trying to memorize an encyclopedia sometimes; luckily, there are plenty of guides to help you through. However, even after you learn the standard rules, there are still unspoken rules of poker etiquette you need to know so you can avoid annoying everyone at the table.
Most people will forgive one or two slip-ups, but players will eventually lose their patience, especially with repeat offenders. Ultimately, it may get to a point where the online card rooms will start clearing out the second your username comes online. We had a nose around the chats and the internets to see what online poker players complain about while playing. Here’s everything you need to know about online poker players' biggest pet peeves, so you can avoid becoming the person everyone avoids like the plague.
CHIPPING UP, CHECKING OUT
In a ring game, there is no rule against chipping up early and leaving after a few hands, taking all your profits and a chunk of the money off the table. Chipping up and checking out quickly is not technically against the rules; however, it is considered incredibly rude and will get on many players’ nerves, especially if you keep doing it.
By logging off the game early, you aren't giving anyone a chance to win their chips back, and it can also force a table to disband. If the game only has 100 total, and you win 70 in the first hand then leave, that's more than half of the total prize gone in the opening rounds; the rest of the game would barely be worth playing after that.
Sitting back and not playing after a big win is another pet peeve that will draw other online poker players' ire. Winning most of the money on the table and then folding every hand to protect your stack is essentially the same as chipping up and quitting; you’re hoarding all the chips and preventing anyone from winning it by refusing to play the game. This is more common in a tournament but still happens in ring games; either way, don't be that person.
How to Avoid This Pet Peeve: If you are planning to play for only a short time, let everyone know in the chat box. Maybe no one will care, or even respond, but at least if you are upfront, nobody can get angry at you later. Regardless of how much you win, keep playing poker normally, don't feel obliged to start playing loose and hemorrhage all your chips, but don't sit back and refuse to play so you can hold onto your stack.
GOING ALL-IN EVERY HAND
Most of the time, going "all-in" is a power play when you're either trying to scare someone out of the pot, or are so confident in the cards you’re willing to risk everything for the chance to double your stack. Alternatively, you could be bleeding chips, and throwing one last-ditch attempt to chip up or go home.
If used sparingly, going all in is a great technique; however, it can get incredibly frustrating for everyone else at the table when it's overused. Poker is a game of skill, deception and strategy; going all in removes these traits from the equation and essentially makes the hand a 50/50 coin flip.
Continually going all in on garbage cards might be a bit of fun for you, but it reduces the enjoyment of the other players who aren't keen to risk their hard-earned stack on every hand. This is a major pet peeve for many online poker players and will make you more enemies than friends.
How to Avoid This Pet Peeve: Play poker properly, and don’t rely on your superior financial state to win hands. If you can afford to buy back in an infinite number of times, great, there is nothing wrong with that, just don’t ruin the game for everyone else.
SLOWING UP THE GAMEJust because it’s online, doesn’t mean you can take forever to act. Most online poker games will have a set time limit for each player to act. In some cases, there is an option to add an additional 60 seconds or more if it's a particularly important choice. Unless you really need the extra time to make a tough decision, you shouldn't use all the time allocated to you. Most of the time, it should take less than eight seconds to decide, and play should be going at a nice, consistent pace.
Constantly slowing down the game will quickly draw the disdain of the other players. It might not even be deliberate; maybe you are multi-tabling or have snuck away for a quick break, but that doesn't make it any less annoying. Making the other nine or more people at the table wait for you every time because you're not paying attention is incredibly rude.
How to Avoid This Pet Peeve: Treat it like a live game, always act promptly and pay attention to the action. Don't try and perform other tasks if it will divide your attention and slow the game down. The same goes for multi-tabling; stick to a manageable number, and don't hold up everyone while you scramble to play fifty tables at once.
USING THE CHAT BOX INAPPROPRIATELYWhen playing online poker, the chat box is the only way to communicate with the rest of the table. It’s mostly used for saying hello, goodbye, or congratulating someone on a nice hand. However, for some reason, some players like to use it for other more frustrating purposes, such as:
TALKING OUT YOUR THOUGHTSUnbelievably, nobody at the table cares about your thought process when you’re making decisions. You don’t need to narrate your every move like you’re a commentator at the World Series of Poker. This also includes commentating other players’ moves, or announcing what cards have been dealt, and what hands they could possibly turn into. If you can see a straight on the board, odds are, everyone else can see it too.
DISCUSSING A HAND IN PROCESSOnce you fold, that's it; you're out of the hand, don't type in the chat box what cards you had, if you would have hit, or even if you've seen a similar hand play out before. Don’t ruin the hand for everyone still playing by discussing what’s happening. This is one of the biggest pet peeves online poker players complain about.
ASKING SOMEONE WHAT THEIR CARDS WEREThis is similar to the previous pet peeve, if another player chooses not to show their cards, don’t ask them what they were, and definitely don’t ask while there is a hand in progress. If the other person answers, players still involved in the hand might get information they should not have, such as which cards have already been folded, potentially ruining the rest of the round.
TYPING IN ALL CAPSThis isn't a big deal, but it can be very annoying and distracting if someone is constantly typing in capitals. In a chat box, capitals look like shouting or angry messages, which can lead to misunderstandings.
OFFERING ADVICEApologizing or offering advice to a player you’ve just beaten might seem like the right thing to do, but it's really not. Instructing other people how to play poker always comes off as condescending and will likely provoke eye rolls from everyone at the table. You won’t see them because it’s online, but rest assured, every other player is either laughing at you, or groaning at the sheer arrogance. Never apologize, and don’t try to instruct other players, it will only lead to problems.
VENTING ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL LIFEEverybody has a bad day sometimes but venting to a bunch of strangers is the wrong way to blow off steam. People play poker to enjoy themselves, not to see the chat box filled up with messages from someone they don't know whining about their personal life. If you want to complain, see a therapist, or ring a friend. Keep your problems away from the poker table, because honestly, nobody cares.
GLOATINGWinning a big hand is a great feeling, and you have every right to be happy and celebrate in whatever fashion you choose, however, don’t fill the chat box with nasty comments teasing the player you just beat. This sounds obvious, but it’s worrying how many people need to be told this. There is such a thing as being a bad winner; just because you’ve won a hand, it doesn’t give you the right to be a jackass. As a general rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t say it to someone in person, then don’t type it in the chat box.
ASKING FOR ADVICEBefore you log into the virtual card room, learn how to play poker, you shouldn't need to ask the rest of the table how to play. Someone might be happy to answer a few questions if you are a beginner; we were all new once, but don't expect a crash course in poker. This includes asking what you should do on a specific hand; you are solely responsible for playing the game, and constantly asking others for advice and tips during play is a sure-fire way to get on people's nerves.
ACTING AS A DEALER OR REFEREEAs a poker player, your sole responsibility is to play poker; that’s it. There is no good reason for you to try to run the game, or referee other players’ disputes; stick to your role. It’s not your responsibility to tell another player they are holding up the game, or to tell them off for being a jerk. If other people start arguing in the chat, ignore it, or change tables, don’t try and get involved and put your two cents in, it’s not your job.
COMPLAINING ABOUT BAD BEATSBad beats are an unavoidable part of poker; the wild swings in luck can be heartbreaking, especially if you lose your entire stack. No matter how annoyed or sad you are though, don’t use the chat box to whine about your bad beat. Everyone experiences them, and the last thing other players want to see is somebody complaining about how their bad beat is somehow the worst in the history of poker. Bad beats can and will happen; get over it.
How to Avoid These Pet Peeves: The best way to avoid annoying anyone with the chat box is to use it sparingly and only for things relevant to the game. Never discuss a hand in progress and keep your opinions to yourself. As a general rule of thumb, before you type something in the chat box, ask yourself, will this affect the game's outcome, the other player's enjoyment? If the answer is yes, don't do it. The chat box isn’t meant to be used to have a whole conversation about your day, if you want to talk with someone, go on social media.
TREATING LOW-STAKES GAMES LIKE IT’S THE WORLD SERIES OF POKERPoker requires a certain amount of cruelty; a key concept is finding out other people’s weakness and exploiting them. However, this can be taken too far. If you are playing a low-stakes game, it will most likely have a bunch of people who are there for a bit of fun, beginners, or people looking for a casual game. There isn't a lot of money on the line, and you don't need to treat every hand like it's the finale of a high-stake tournament.
How to Avoid This Pet Peeve: Play to the level of the game. If it's low-stakes, keep it pretty casual, don't come into the game with a high level of aggression and freak out about your losses. Once you get into the high-stakes games, do whatever you want, most players in those games are out for blood anyway.
ONE FINAL THING TO KEEP IN MINDUltimately, play however you want, but if you decide to do a few or all of these things that get on people's nerves, be aware of the consequences. Eventually, nobody will want to play with you, and other players will log out the second they see your username join the table. Once you get a reputation as a jerk, it's hard to change, and if the online casino receives enough complaints, they might even consider barring you.
This is a reference article to poker players’ peeves in general. It is for information and entertainment only. It is not related to, nor a reflection of, Global Poker, its views, products, content, or its games.