Table Talk Dos and Don'ts

One of the great things about home poker games is the trash talk that often makes its way to the poker table. When playing against friends, table talk is all part of the game, but there's still a few do's and don'ts that you should keep in mind. Most tournaments and casino cash play often have rules against talking in certain situations and restrict what you can and can't say during a game. Of course, at your home poker games, you set the rules, though the casino rules are usually in place for a good reason so you may want to follow their lead.

A common guideline is that players should probably not talk about a hand unless they are involved in it. If you're nervously bluffing a player, you don't want somebody who's not in the hand to call you out. It's not always a rule, but it's almost always considered poor sportsmanship to affect a player's hand when you're not in it.

Teaming up is incredibly frowned upon and often against the rules. You can joke around about having to take out a player or to watch out for a person's bluffs, but during a hand, you shouldn't be talking to your fellow players about strategy or ways to beat another player. A common example is when a person goes all in and two players call. Generally the two calling players will check the entire hand to increase their odds of eliminated the all-in player. This is an acceptable unspoken strategy but it becomes poor sportsmanship (and usually against the rules) to tell your fellow player to just check it down during the hand.

You can talk about your hand all you want, as long as you don't say exactly what you have. This is rule that most people don't know. Most casino games have a hardset rule that you cannot tell people the specifics of what you're holding while you're playing. You can be vague and give possibilities, but you can't flatout say "I've got poket aces". Once people lay down their cards you can show them and brag all you want, but you usually aren't allowed to say exactly what you have while the game is being played. Since this rule is often forgotten, it's really up to you whether or not to enforce it.

Verbal bets are binding - at least at the casinos. Movies have shown some bad poker, thus giving new players some bad examples to follow, such as the "I call you're bet and I raise you all-in." It's up to you to determine how to handle verbal bets, but you really should make verbal bets binding a rule since it's unfair to the recipient of a misspoken verbal bet. If a person announces raise, they must raise. If they say fold, they must fold - there shouldn't be any exceptions.

In the end, keep in mind that it's a home poker game and to not take things too seriously - especially in the beginning. Get a feel for your fellow players. If there are many new players, you're going to want to ease them into rules like verbal betting. If most of your home poker game is comprised of poker regulars, you'll probably want to mimic casino rules so that your games will be as professional as possible. Remember that the key is to have fun. Don't be afraid to liven up your home game with some trash talking - just make sure it's all fair and in good fun.


  1. Robert Brawn Said:

    Explain specifically talking about your hand. Is saying you have a large pocket pair? Is this two specific? It is in other sites I believe poor sportsmanship.

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