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Online Poker Etiquette

By Gary Steele

Online Poker has introduced a completely new forum for poker, and, while much of the same etiquette that applies in live games still should be observed, good manners unique to online play have emerged. Some players feel that being anonymous gives them the right to act like fools. This is not the case and I, as well as many other players, look forward to the day when poker rooms no longer turn a blind eye.

In my opinion, the most irritating habit shared by a small portion of online poker players is the tendency to not pay attention. Perhaps these players simply have too many poker tables open to keep track, or maybe they are just not focused on the game. In any case, it is no fun for the other players at the table who have to sit around and wait for one player to constantly notice the fact that it is their turn.

Unlike live poker rooms where swearing is not tolerated, there is not a lot of regulation in an online poker room chat box. Most poker rooms will comment out the obvious bad words, but rude and obnoxious people find ways around these restrictions to make the game less enjoyable for the rest of the players. It is important for players to keep in mind that they do not know who they are playing against; it may be their grandmother. Being anonymous does not give player the right to use profanity.

Also, along the same lines, it is not acceptable to annoy, berate, or abuse another player at the table. It does nothing for a player’s reputation except induce people to ignore them or leave the table when they arrive. I have seen a player carry this so far as to have their chat privileges removed on Party Poker, but only after an hour of cruelty which involved following a player to multiple tables.

Collusion is a practice which is strictly forbidden and highly unsportsmanlike. Two players should not sit at the same table, share information about their hands and use this knowledge to cheat the other players. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest problems with online poker games. It is very difficult, if not impossible to regulate this practice with the anonymity online play provides.

Finally, most poker rooms require players to use only English. Other languages or strings of incomprehensible letters are generally frowned upon and considered suspicious.

If you find yourself sitting at a table where another player is not observing proper online poker etiquette, you have a few options. There are tools available on most sites which will allow you to ignore another player or get rid of your chat box altogether. If you are offended at the way someone is acting, you also have the option to simply find another table. All sites give players a way to report the actions of another player. I recommend you report a breach of etiquette if you see it occur. After enough reports, the site will eventually take corrective action.

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