Poker Table Etiquette
Over the weekend social media was a-buzz with claims of Ryan Eriquezzo having an apparent blowup after losing AA for a 200BB pot at the PARX main event. Ryan was disqualified from the tournament after crumpling up the cards and allegedly making various negative remarks toward dealers and staff. But the biggest factor behind the incident blowing up on social media was after Eriquezzo decided to ask Matt Glantz (PARX Poker Room Ambassador) via Twitter, regarding his stance on the matter. Ryan didn't seem to argue that crumbling the cards was wrong, but rather, he wanted to know if it was fair that he was disqualified for it. Here is how the Twitter exchange went down:
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"Just had my stack taken out ofcplay (sic) on PARX main event for crumbling my cards after taking a 200/bb beat. Had 85k left. MattGlantz
RyanEriquezzo ok. So u prob shouldn't disrespect the venue or the people by crumbling the cards."
RyanEriquezzo I am being told u were DQ'd for crumpling the cards, throwing the cards, & berating the floor & dealer."
RyanEriquezzo the floor said he would have prob only have given u a 2 orbit penalty if u didn't threaten to "blow torch the place.""
After which Eriquezzo replied:
MattGlantz never ever f***ing threatened anyone or anything"
Eriquezzo is definitely not the first poker player to ever crumple or rip up their cards in frustration during a poker tournament, and it's likely that he never would have been disqualified if he hadn't added fuel to the fire by speaking to the dealer and the floor staff in the manner he did. At the end of the day people are people, if you treat them with disrespect they're going to exercise their power in whatever way possible to make your life that much worse. The situation can be likened to a police officer pulling you over for speeding - you weren't supposed to be speeding in the first place, so why would you berate the officer as he's writing you up for it? It can only make things worse, and he's likely going to attempt to give you a harsher penalty than you're already receiving.
After reviewing the PARX incident involving Ryan, it's clear that keeping calm in unfortunate situations at the poker table has to be the most +EV decision for the individual involved. What do you benefit from having an outburst? It can only harm you in the long run. These outbursts should be reserved for inexperienced player that are merely there to gamble, and not for the professional who derives his living from the cards. In the poker world, one of the biggest assets a professional player has is his reputation, and how he is perceived by other players. Which brings us to our next point...
Staying calm will help us to avoid receiving a penalty during a tournament, but what negative effects may come about by not following proper table etiquette in a cash game?
If you have taken the time to visit this site, I'm assuming you want to take poker somewhat seriously and are striving to become a good player even if you are not one already. If that is the case, it would be advisable to always stay calm at the table - even if you believe your outburst will not affect your fundamental game play - why? Most people play poker recreationally to have fun and pass the time, especially older players.
By having an outburst at the table, you are creating an unpleasant atmosphere for the players that are there for entertainment - these same players are likely the ones that are going to contribute to your rent payment. By berating a player for their poor play you are doing two things; a) you are making them feel uncomfortable, and encouraging them to leave the table, and b) if your outburst includes pointing out their poor play - you are ultimately making them a better player. Why would you want to berate a player for their bad play? So they can think about it and make sure they play better next time? This is foolish. If every good player kept their comments to themselves after they took a bad beat, or after a recreational player played poorly, the poker economy would be doing a lot better. Some players even go as far as telling the recreational player why they are playing so poorly - why? So you can show the table that you're some sort of poker savant? You do not have anything to prove - if you play great, other great players will recognize it... keep the recreational players in the dark, please.