Table Manners: Ten Tips For Good Poker Etiquette at PA Casinos

Written By Anthony Cicali on October 13, 2021
Poker table manners

Poker tournaments are back in Pennsylvania at Rivers Casino Philadelphia, Live! Casino Philadelphia, and many more casinos. For a lot of live grinders, poker tournaments were unavailable for 18 months in the region, but they have come roaring back. With the return of live poker, it’s a good idea to remind players of some basic etiquette.

“I haven’t played in a live tournament since pre-COVID” says Joseph Shinn, a poker player from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. “I am looking forward to knocking off the rust soon and getting back on the felt.”

To most people, most of these rules may seem like common sense. Though a lot of poker players don’t always make the best decisions. Here is PlayPennsylvania’s “Tips for Good Poker Table Manners.”


If the plan is to spend all day sitting at a poker table grinding, can we at least agree on taking a shower and using soap before you head out to the casino. One of the biggest pet peeves players have is when you sit down next to the player who hasn’t cleaned themselves in days. Not only is this a rule of etiquette, but WSOP took matters into their own hands and now has made it official.

According to WSOP live action rule #14:

“This rule shall include, but is not limited to, any Participant whose personal hygiene has become disruptive to the other Participants seated at their table. The determination as to whether an individual’s personal hygiene is disruptive to other Participants shall be determined by the WSOP Tournament Staff.”

So now tournament directors can literally send you to the showers.

Stay off your phone when you are in a hand

This is another rule that is standard across the board, but isn’t always enforced. If a player is dealt in a hand and decides to play said hand, then put the phone down. It will help action move faster and will also allow for a player to be more focused and make better decisions when the action is on them.

Leaving the table for long periods of time

Everyone is due a bathroom break or a little time to walk off a bad beat. But don’t be the player that leaves for 20 to 30 minutes at a time to go bet on sports, play blackjack or just to kill time. Especially when there is a waiting list and players are trying to get in on the action.

Most poker rooms have dinner lists. If a player is going to eat, they can request to be put on the dinner list. This allows for the player to get right back in action when they get back from eating. Most dinner lists will allow for 30 mins to one hour to let a player return. Ask the floor if you are not sure of the rules of the dinner list.

Wash your hands

Hygiene is so important that it is on this list twice! Now more than ever, we must wash our hands. If we have learned anything from this pandemic, it should be that proper hand washing is effective. Nothing is more gross than a player that goes to the bathroom and doesn’t wash their hands. Only to come back and touch chips that everyone is using throughout the day.

Moving forwards, casinos should continue to have hand sanitizer at each table available for players to use on a regular basis.

Stop talking while a big hand is taking place

Player X is all in, and player Y now has to make a decision for all his chips. The last thing player Y needs to hear about is Mr. Johnny TalksAlot telling everyone about how the restaurant down the street messed up his order. A good rule to follow is when a player is in a big hand and you are not involved, please be quiet.

Playing for large amounts of money can be very stressful at times. So keeping your mouth closed during these intense moments makes it easier for everyone involved in the action.

Don’t berate players

Players make mistakes. Bad players make a lot more mistakes. Good players make money off the bad players. This seems like a simple concept, yet players will go out of their way and berate players when they make bad decisions.

A good saying is “Don’t tap on the aquarium.” Yelling at a player or telling them how badly they played a hand is not good for the poker ecosystem. If it is a newer player, they are now being deterred from the game and not enjoying themselves. This is also not good for anyone.

Don’t show your hands during action

If a player decided to muck their hand, it is extremely bad etiquette to show your hand to other players. It is even worse to say what was in your hand. Even just remarking at the texture of the board when it’s laid out in reference to the hand you folded is not good for the game.

Making remarks or showing a hand can change the course of action. This will cause players to play differently and can cost players money.

Pay attention to the action

When a player has a hand, please pay attention to the action. Wasting a table’s time is a quick way to frustrate everyone. If you muck your hand, feel free to watch the game or order a drink, but don’t do it while you are actively engaged in a pot.

“If you have to ask who the action is on, it’s probably on you,” said Patrick Jankowski, a poker player from Philadelphia.

Bad beat stories

This has to be said. No one cares about your bad beat story. Let’s repeat that for clarification, “no one cares about your bad beat!”

Everyone gets bad beats. It’s part of the game. Sitting around telling bad beat stories is annoying and makes for a negative atmosphere. We get it, the player hit a 3-outer on you on the river. Guess what? It happens.


The final rule of etiquette is the simplest…but the one people forget about the most. Respect. Respect the game, the players and especially, the dealers. Treat the staff fairly and keep integrity in the game. Learn to respect each other and enjoy the game.

Lead image c/o Dreamstime

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