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What New Players Shouldn’t Do in a Poker Game

Home » What New Players Shouldn’t Do in a Poker Game

What New Players Shouldn’t Do in a Poker Game

A well-dressed dealer with a beard and a curled mustache about to deal cards. There is a tray of poker chips on the table next to him.

No matter what poker variant you’re playing, there are poker rules that every player has to follow. As a new player, online poker is easier to play because the game automatically enforces what you can and cannot do. For example, you can’t decide to make a bet when it’s not your turn. But when you play live poker in person, there’s a good chance that you may accidentally break a rule, such as accidentally playing out of order, especially if you are new to the game.

To help poker players avoid these accidental blunders, we’ve listed some of the most common mistakes new players make when playing poker, as well as some general poker tips. 

1. Accidentally Revealing Their Cards When Handling Them

It’s important to ensure that none of your opponents get an opportunity to see what you may be holding. You may, for instance, raise your cards to take a look at them and inadvertently give another player a chance to catch a glimpse of your cards. Or you may accidentally drop them and reveal to everyone playing what your cards are. This is why you’ll see that most players slightly bend their cards up from the table, letting them see just enough of the card so they can see the suit and the card’s pip value. Some will even cup their hands slightly around the card to prevent any prying eyes from seeing what they have.

2. Not Paying Attention to When It’s Their Turn

As boring as it may seem to sit around and wait for your turn, it’s important that you are ready to play when your turn does roll around. Don’t hold up the game because you were distracted by your phone or something else. It’s considered poor poker etiquette and if you do this repeatedly in a more formal setting could have consequences such as being asked to leave the game.

3. Advertising What They’re Going To Do Before It’s Their turn

If you’re thinking about what you’re going to do while other players are making their decisions, it’s important not to leak information about your intentions. For example, if you have a great hand and plan to raise, don’t separate your chips for the bet until it’s your turn to play. An opponent who has yet to play could notice this and take advantage of that information to fold instead of adding more money to the pot.

However, as you grow in experience and start to add bluffing to your set of poker skills, you could also use this type of action to spread misinformation among other players. For example, if you have a weak hand and you’re trying to scare other players, you could start counting a large wager or pretend to be getting ready to fold to have your opponents second guess what you are planning to do. 

4. Placing Their Bet in Small Amounts

An extreme close-up of a poker player dropping blue poker chips from one hand into the other.

In a game of poker, you should count your chips for a bet and place them over the betting line or in the betting area in one single go. Taking poker chips and placing them over the betting line or into the betting area in small amounts until you’re done with betting is known as string betting and is not only frowned upon but also against the rules in casinos and official poker venues. 

Using string betting is seen as an attempt at angle shooting or using an unethical action to gain an advantage over opponents. For example, a player may place a part of their bet to see how their opponents react before placing the remainder. 

While some may see this as a type of bluffing, many commercially run poker games do not, so don’t make the mistake of splitting your bet. Just place it in one single go.

5. Not Keeping All Their Chips on the Table

If a game is in progress, all your chips must remain on the table until the game is over or you leave the table. Yes, even picking up a poker chip and playing with it in your hands is against the rules and could result in your being ejected from the game.

6. Not Stating Their Action So Everyone Knows What They’re Doing

When playing, new players may simply perform an action such as raising, checking, or folding without actually stating it verbally. By announcing your play, you make it clear to everyone at the table what you’re doing so that play can proceed quickly and smoothly. 

7. Placing Their Hole Cards Behind Their Stacks of Poker Chips

It may seem innocent enough to place your hole cards where they are most easily accessible, but if this is behind your stacks of poker chips or, even worse, off the table, you will be directed on where to place your cards or be asked to leave the game. This is because players may attempt to cheat if their cards are not visible at all times. So, make sure you keep your hole cards face down on the table but otherwise visible to all other players and the dealer. 

8. Start a Hand Even Though They Might Need a Break Soon

As you might expect, any unnecessary disruptions to a game are frowned upon. So, if you need the bathroom, smoke, or snack break, don’t join a hand and then “quickly” leave in the middle of it. Rather, do what you need to do and come back when you’re ready to give the game your full attention.

9. Worrying About Their Lack of Experience, Except…

A man with his hands on a pile of poker chips looks up and to the right while thinking.

When many players sit down at an official poker table for the first time, they are often concerned about their lack of poker knowledge. As a new poker player, you shouldn’t worry too much about your lack of experience in the game. With practice, you’ll learn the basics and improve as time goes on. 

However, as a new player, you should also keep in mind that there are some players who will likely try to exploit your lack of knowledge to win a couple of easy hands. Keep an eye out for any card sharps (or card sharks) who might try to play dumb or even pretend to be your friend so that they can win and walk away with your money. Now’s also a good time to familiarize yourself with some unwritten poker laws

Why You Should Play Poker at BetMGM

We hope you find our list of tips for casino poker for beginners useful. When you’re ready to play poker online, you can sign up to play at BetMGM. On our online poker site, we offer many exciting poker variants for players to enjoy, including Texas Hold’em, Seven Card Stud and Omaha. You can also enjoy quick and thrilling cash games or settle in and test your competitive skills with our exciting range of online poker tournaments.

All you need to do is register at BetMGM and you’re ready to buy into any of our poker games!

Sometimes new poker players make mistakes when playing in person for the first time. Here’s a list of the things you should avoid in your first poker game.