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Real Poker: Play with Class!

by Roy Cooke |  Published: Aug 02, 2017


The recreational player is the game’s economic heart. Yeah, some win and some lose, but as a group they create the economic arena that allows winners. Generally, if they can’t have fun, they will spend their recreational dollars elsewhere. And I see fewer and fewer of them enjoying poker these days.

Imagine you’re a wealthy businessman, looking to spend an enjoyable evening out. You spot a group of people playing poker and think it might be interesting. Upon closer observation, you notice that five of the nine are wearing headsets, several are watching movies on their I-pads, nobody says a kind word to anyone else. The only conversation you hear is something about a range vs. range analysis that you didn’t understand. They obviously appear to be exactly what they are: bored poker hustlers waiting for a mark to sit down, hardly an appealing way for a social player to spend an evening.

The emotional nature of poker, the losing of money, often meaningful money, brings out the worst side in even the best of people. And some of poker’s disciples aren’t the best of people to begin with. That said, when people behave poorly, it’s bad for the game. It depresses the social and economic current, making everyone in the game a little poorer, both personally and professionally.

One of the best things you can do is make the effort to be good for poker. Be polite. Be friendly. Most importantly, be a player who works to keep the game going. It’s easy! It’s doesn’t cost a dime. And perhaps most importantly, on both a personal and professional level, it’s the right thing to do. It will benefit you both personally and financially.

Don’t needle your opponents. Along the same lines is don’t throw temper tantrums. I understand that this can often be a profitable play in the short run, that an aggravated opponent plays worse than one who is steady and calm. However, in the long run it drives people (and money) from the game. If you humiliate people about their bad plays, it often embarrasses them into playing better. Or worse yet, they leave and don’t come back. Certainly, neither is a desirable result. Try to make the recreational player enjoy playing, and he will return for more enjoyment.

Don’t whine at the table. In case you haven’t noticed, nobody cares about your bad beats. Plus, the negativism will adversely affect your ability to focus and maintain heart. And it’s just downright unpleasant. And most importantly, the annoyance factor drives social players from the game.

It’s not the dealer’s fault. The wrong card often comes. It is part of poker. The dealer has no control over the situation. And if you don’t feel accountable for your own results, you’re on the wrong road to improvement.

Don’t take cheap shots. Fake hand movements and chip movement designed to encourage a player to act out of turn so you can get information is rather low, and it irritates players. I’m not saying you shouldn’t take advantage of tells, or even encourage them, but making moves like that, especially on an unsophisticated player, creates a bad image for poker and runs players from the game.

Make the overall image of poker to be a game of luck. It has a good deal of truth in the short run, and it encourages casual gamblers to play. You shouldn’t discuss the skillsets at the table, discount the skill level, and never, ever make the losers feel stupid. Everybody who plays believes he or she has a chance to win, otherwise they wouldn’t play. If you disabuse them of this idea, they’ll gamble somewhere where they think they have a better shot.

The good news is that there are players in the game who show leadership and class. Some of these are working pros who have the ulterior motive of keeping the game mellow to keep the live ones in. As often as not, though, these players would try to smooth out unpleasant situations anyway. People who win regularly at poker tend to be emotionally stable. And emotionally stable people don’t want to see the mood at a poker table deteriorate. They give the extra smile, treat other players with a little courtesy, move the game gently along.

The well-being of the game is directly related to our ability to maintain at least a minimal level of respect for each other, and to agree that behavior should not cross certain lines. Keep the game social, playful, and friendly. Friendly games have the most relaxed players and the best action. This will make the recreational player enjoy the game and come back to it. It’s better for you as a person too, will result in a higher quality of life, with less stress.

It’s an all-around win. You’ll be happier personally, create positive relationships, enjoy poker more and make more money. It’s the right thing to do both personally and professionally.

Play with class! ♠

Roy CookeRoy Cooke played poker professionally for 16 years prior to becoming a successful Las Vegas Real Estate Broker/Salesman. Should you wish any information about Real Estate matters-including purchase, sale or mortgage his office number is 702-376-1515 or Roy’s e-mail is His website is Roy’s blogs and poker tips are at You can also find him on Facebook or Twitter @RealRoyCooke. Please see ad below!