Poker Etiquette

Poker is a strange sport; there is not one set of rules that are used throughout the game.

Instead, various different organisations and events, such as the Betfair Poker Summer Slam, create their own set of rules, and this can become confusing for players and officials alike. 

Due to this lack of a rulebook or governing body, the players have created poker etiquette. But is poker etiquette enough, given that the game is now dishing out bigger prize pools than any other sport on the planet?

In the recent World Poker Tour (WPT) Season XI leg in the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta, there was an example of poker etiquette not being observed and how frustrating it can be for all concerned. 

With the blinds at 600-1,200 and a 200 ante, a young inexperienced British player called Jack Salter made a raise and Ilan Boujenah, from Israel, came into the pot with a second raise. 

It was at this time that Boujenah noticed that Salter had stacked his chips incorrectly, in terms of poker etiquette. Most poker players understand that the largest denomination of chips should be stacked at the front, and Salter’s were hidden at the back of his stack. 

This angered Boujenah because he said he would have played the hand differently had he recognized this. He then lost control and also lost the hand.

In a later interview, Salter admitted that he was not aware that his chips should have been stacked that way, and why should he? Without rules there is always going to be a grey area, and people are inevitably going to learn through their mistakes, which, in this case, actually cost Boujenah more than they cost Salter. 

When you play live for the first time, always try to observe how the other players are acting, and, if possible, always ask someone a bit more experienced for advice.

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