1 Concentrate. Even if you don't
intend to play the hand, keep an eye on what's
happening. Don't, for instance, fold out of turn;
it annoys the other players, not least because it
gives their opponents information (viz. that
you're not going to play the hand).
2 Even more important, don't bet
out of turn. Again, it bugs the other players -
and it can cost you. Different games have
different rules about these things, but you're
bound to lose out - perhaps by forfeiting the
right to raise if someone comes in ahead of
3 Keep concentrating. Just because
you're not in the hand, that doesn't mean you
can't learn something about the other players —
and the game — from the way they play
4 Under the same
heading, always post your blind - large or small -
without having to be nagged to. That, too, is very
tiresome to the other players, even to the dealer
(if you have one).
5 Protect your cards. Put a chip,
or a personal talisman, on your hole cards, even
if you wind up folding them. If a dealer scoops
them up by mistake, it's your fault, not his. Your
hand is dead — as it is if it hits the 'muck', or
discarded cards, for whatever reason.
6 If you want to show your cards,
wait till the hand is over - or you might get
shot. If you show them to one player, maybe the
guy you were up against, you must show them to
7 If you've bluffed someone out of
a pot, showing them your cards - and thus their
own mistake — is a perfectly legitimate tactic.
But do it sparingly. It gets up their noses, and
they're going to come after you.
8 If you're going to raise, say
so. A single chip of larger denomination than the
bet is deemed a call, unless you say 'Raise'.
Likewise, a player with a fistful of chips in the
middle, or 'across the line', cannot raise unless
he pre-announces it, or indeed go back to his
stack for more. A player guilty of doing this,
even by mistake, is making a 'string' bet, which
9 Don't take any
notice of Kenny Rogers. Sure, you have to know
when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. But feel
free to count your money while you're sitting at
the table. Knowing the size of your own stack, and
indeed everyone else's, is a crucial part of
playing the game well.
10 Always remember
the wise words of David Mamet, and everyone else
who has ever played poker. It doesn't matter who
wins the most hands. It's the person who wins the
most money .