Poker Etiquette, An Editorial by Steve Ruddock – The Monday Link



Once again, we turn to one of Massachusetts buddies and his terrific editorial in USPoker

Steve Ruddock primarily focuses on the regulated US online casino and poker markets. He writes for numerous online and print publications, including,, and USA Today.  Steve is also a fan of NETG and we are lucky to be able to share this link.

It’s basically about etiquette at the poker table – and the many “bad behaviors” professional poker players resort to during play.  Is it a comment on society at large?  Read on…..

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FARGO Poker at Mohegan Sun – Thoughts from the “Newbie”

The last two weeks of cramming to prepare for my first poker tournament is done.  The FARGO POKER weekend at Mohegan Sun is complete.  The learning curve was steep.  I take back with me many observations and experiences, which I’d like to share with you:

Concerning Playing Live Poker

The poker room is not the ambiance of a Home Game!

The Live Poker Room experience is like nothing you’ve ever anticipated, especially the first time.  No matter how much online practice, no matter how many resources you’ve read, and no matter how much advice you get before hand, the real table with real poker players is an overwhelming event for the beginner. The only way to become an efficient player is study, practice & play.

Home poker games do not prepare you for what you are about to experience.  Not only is the game taken very seriously, but it seems like everyone woke up crabby!  (Not the FARGO group, which I’ll get to later.)  Walking into a poker room is like walking into a Grumpy Resting Face Convention. If I want that serious of a negative vibe, I’ll just watch the news for two hours.  But, if you want to play poker, get used to that environment.

Poker players speak their own slang, much of which doesn’t make sense to the novice player. The speech is as fast as the pace of the cards. It’s definitely a different culture.

Speaking of fast-pace, each player is expected to keep up. The poker room is a tough place to get used to all the rules in betting, turns, blinds, etc.  Forget the strategy of outs, pre-flop hands and raises – the logistics and rituals of play are mind-boggling alone, especially as a “newbie.”  Only experience in the lion’s den of the poker room will get you where you need to be.

Being an excellent Video Poker player has little effect on success in the Poker Room. The solitary game of knowing the correct way to play every hand is no match to the all-encompassing experience of the Poker Room.

Concerning FARGO Poker

While my experience on my table of nine players made my head hurt, I wouldn’t have trade it for the world.  Not only are these players of FARGO experienced, tough players – they are also amicable, kind to new players, and eager to help you feel as comfortable as possible.  They chat throughout the early play, zinging each other, and telling stories of events past.  Many are friends that meet up only for this event, or similar events in Atlantic City & Las Vegas.

I gave me so much advice that they didn’t need to – after all, I was another competitor at the table (but not a threat 🙂 ).  But these people had nothing to prove, they knew their strategy, they knew each other, and fun was always on the agenda.  While I was busted first from my table, I lasted two hours, thanks to so much help and reminders.

The dealers love Fargo, and Fargo love the dealers.  Their reputation for fun and great poker play precedes them now at Mohegan Sun.  I wouldn’t be surprised if dealers ask to be put on that shift and those tables.  Special thanks to the dealers from “yours truly,” since you made each other aware of this guy in seat one – who was pretty wet around the ears.  So many took care of this poker stranger.


FARGO POKER is FANTASTIC!  These people love their poker, love playing each other and love to bring fun and consideration to all involved.  Special shout-outs to Tracy – who runs a great event and is one of the most accommodating people I’ve ever met, Sassy – who kept me on the straight and narrow concerning whatever I was doing at the table, “Big Mike” – for our time chatting in the hospitality suite, Rick Becker – the unsung hero, and “Cousin Vito” – whose coverage on his gambling podcast, and personal tweets made me realize this was a “Do-not-miss-event.”

And it should be a “Do-not-miss-event” for the rest of you next October at Mohegan Sun.  FARGO 2018 – don’t miss it!  As they say on their site, “Come Meet the Friends You Haven’t Met Yet…………………………………”


Poker Primer from “Adequate Man”

I consider myself a very good video poker player.  I’ve studied Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, and Double Double Bonus video poker.  When I say studied, I mean practiced, trained, and worked towards AP status. But I know very well that poker and video poker are two different beasts.

Yes, I have played home games, penny-ante kind of stuff, but not with serious, experienced poker faces across the table.

So, this October, I’m about to take the plunge into the casino poker room. Cousin Vito, on his weekly podcast, has been talking about the FARGO POKER Event at Mohegan Sun, October 12 – 15th.  I’ve decided to join the event, meet the friendly people of FARGO poker, and report on it here. Click above to read all about it.

I looked at this great website I know of, There, I found a great Poker primer.  Kyle Wagner from the site ADEQUATE MAN has a great Beginner’s post on how to start playing poker called “How To Survive At The Poker Table.”

Below is just a sample, (minus the profanity.) The pictures were added by “moi.”

“How To Survive At The Poker Table.”

One of my favorite all-time movies – “the Sting”
Poker used to be cool. From Wild Bill Hickok getting shot up over aces and eights to Paul Newman and Robert Shaw eyeing each other in The Sting, it has always held a place in American culture as the game you’d find grown men playing in the smoke-filled back rooms. Here’s all you need to look like you know what you’re doing, not (mess) up the game, and hopefully not get taken for all you’re worth.

That said: I do mean hopefully. This article can’t teach you how to play poker well. There’s plenty enough writing about poker out there, and plenty enough guides on the matter, both basic and advanced. We’ll take you through some basic table etiquette, parlance, and rudimentary concepts for playing soundly. But remember: We’re only here to make you Good Enough. We aren’t even trying to keep you out of the “If you can’t spot the sucker in the first 20 minutes …” pile, since an experienced player will get a sense of where everyone stands easily enough. We’re more aiming for “Just make sure you’re second-slowest when you’re escaping the bear” territory.

Foxwoods Poker Room

Largest Poker Room in N.E. at Foxwoods

Foxwoods Poker Room Largest Poker Room in N.E. at Foxwoods
Most of this advice boils down to “keep….. to yourself”—this is good general practice regardless of venue. So, here’s how to fit in well enough at a table that you won’t get on everyone’s nerves, and also how to keep your head far enough above water that you can afford to come back.


You’re shooting for two things here: You want to avoid slowing the game down, and you want to avoid being the annoying simp everyone has to correct. We’ll start with pace-of-play stuff.

1. Know when it’s your turn.

2. Don’t bet or fold out of turn.

3. Know what kind of bet you can make, and what kind you can’t.

4. Don’t stack your chips like an idiot, but stack your chips. images

5. Don’t splash the pot (also: Don’t say, “Don’t splash the pot”). When you bet, don’t just toss your chips in the middle of the table; place them in front of you, preferably in somewhat organized stacks. This lets the rest of the table see what you’ve bet, and keeps it separate from the pot.

6. Leftovers.

  • Don’t buy in for a ridiculously small amount.
  • Know the difference between “bet” and “raise.”
  • Leave your cards on the table.
  • Don’t look at other players’ cards. .
  • Don’t slow-roll. Slow-rolling is a troll move in games that have hole cards, where at the end of a hand, you only turn over one of your two cards. By the rules, you’ve got to turn both over eventually anyway.
  • Don’t take money off the table.
  • Tip the dealer.
  • Don’t String Bet.

HOW TO ACTUALLY PLAY…….Sorry, to get the explanations of the above great suggestions as well as the rest of Kyle’s post, click on his Title above. You won’t regret it.