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Change in the Poker World

by Linda Johnson |  Published: Apr 25, 2018


I was recently interviewed for Card Player’s Poker Stories Podcast and one of the questions that made me stop and think for an extra-long amount of time was, “If you could change anything about the poker industry or add a new poker rule, what would it be?”

After giving it some thought, I answered something to the effect that I would create and enforce very strict no-abuse policies in every poker room in the world. One of my biggest pet peeves is when players are rude to other players or to cardroom staff and when management allows them to get away with it. For the most part, behavior in poker rooms is much better these days, but I still see occasional tantrums or outbursts. I just don’t like playing with jerks; I prefer a happy, jovial atmosphere at the poker table.

After the interview, I thought of some more things I should have said. For example, I’d like to see a rule against critiquing the way others play. I am a firm believer that everyone should be able to play their cards as they wish without having to worry about being berated for making a bad play. Comments like “how can you make that call?’ or “you play like a moron!” should NOT be allowed.

I also would like to see a rule in place against slow-rolling. We should even have a rule against leaving the table for a lengthy time and then coming back and picking up right away. Obviously a situation could have occurred that required you to leave unexpectedly, but I’ve known some players who had a pattern of doing this and it is annoying.

This question intrigued me and I posed it to members of my Wednesday Poker Discussion Group. Here are some of the answers I got:

Jim Backstrom: “I would make more aggressive policies against using cell phones at the poker table. There are way too many conversations over the phone during poker hands. You don’t see cell phones allowed in bridge or chess tournaments so why allow them in poker? I think if you are on the phone, your hand should be dead. I also think there should be stricter forward motion rules. Money brought over the betting line should have to stay. There are too many instances of people pulling shots of fake betting and then pulling the money back.”

Alan Losoff: “I would make it a requirement that all cardrooms must make written copies of their rules available to players and staff. Many cardrooms won’t allow customers to see their rule books.”

Robin Salisbury: “I think there needs to be tougher rules against profanity at the poker table. It shouldn’t be allowed and it happens way too often. I also would like to see a dress code for players.”

Steve Selbrede: “In lower-limit games (the smallest limit game in the cardroom), straddles should not be allowed. It makes many players uncomfortable and I’ve seen players leave the game because of it.”

Harold Brooks: “People who cause disruptions should be taken out of the cardroom. If there needs to be a lengthy heated discussion, ask them to continue it outside of the cardroom.”

Jan Fisher: “I’d like to see a rule created that forbids whining at the poker table… and that goes for telling bad-beat stories. No one cares if you just lost to a one-outer!”

Change of subject: Card Player Cruises has just posted its 2019 cruise schedule, but there’s still time to sign up for some awesome cruises this year. The Card Player Poker Tour will be featured on the Sept. 23 Western Caribbean cruise. We will be cruising to Cuba for the first time on Nov. 5! If Australia and New Zealand are on your bucket list, we will be going there at the end of November. Check out the entire schedule at or call 888-999-4880 for more information. I will be escorting every cruise and I look forward to spending time with you on the high sea! ♠

Linda JohnsonLinda Johnson is a partner in Card Player Cruises. She invites you to join her on one of the 2018 poker cruises. The itineraries can be found at