Poker is a tough game.
And if you are not up to the standards at a table or are a novice (fish) then you will get caught out and taken to the cleaners.
To ensure that you do not look like a fish out of the water, there are certain things that you can do while playing poker.
Of course, this is not a sure-fire option of fitting into the crowd, the more games you play, the better it will be for you.
More experience at the table will make you more comfortable at the table and you will fit in.
While it might take you a few games to get more accustomed to the game of poker and learn how to behave at the table and not look like a fish.
Here are a few dos and don’ts when playing at the poker table and not sticking out like a sore thumb.
Related article: Poker School: 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Stop Learning Poker
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Things you should do at a table
Play at your turn
There is nothing that people hate or loathe at a table is someone who plays out of turn or makes movements before his or her turn.
You might be a new player but you should only make any sort of card movement, folds or movement away from the table when it is your chance.
Keep an eye out for time
You might get a tough hand or an easy hand, while no one will grudge you from taking some time before making a decision about playing or betting.
However, if you keep on taking a lot of time in making decisions all the time, this would certainly give you away as a fish and would provide a huge target on your head. This would also upset quite a few players at the table.
Play good hands
Just don’t play hands for the sake of playing, this would only ensure that you lose money hand over fist.
So only play the best hands if you have them. Play high pairs like JJ or AA or KK as these would give you a better chance of winning a hand and a bet.
Keep your emotions in check
You might get a good hand during the course of the game and it is expected that you keep your cool and not give too much away.
Any sort of emotion can be used against you and that is something that most professionals look out for from new players at the table, also you can keep an eye out for other players who do show a lot of emotion while playing the game.
Don’t do these things at a table
Fidget about with your chips
One of the worst things you could do is fidgeting with your chips. This just shows that you are a novice and don’t know how to handle the chips at the table.
Keep them well stacked at the start of the game or when you just win them. The more you fidget, the more irritating it is to other players as well.
Play random hands
Just like playing good hands, if you have a bad hand, get rid of them immediately.
There is no point holding onto a poor hand and getting more involved in a game which can ruin your bank balance and make you lose more money than you could win.
Talk too much at the table
While this could be a tactic from some players, you still should not talk too much at the table and distract other players.
While you might think that you are disturbing other players you could also be making the mistake of giving too much information about your game and cards which will be detrimental to your game.
Expose your cards too early
If you are giving away or folding your cards and tossing them away, never and this is a big rule.
If you do throw away your cards, they could be seen by other players and this could provide a lot of information to the other players. Discard of your cards faces down so that no one can get an advantage.
Lose your cool
This is a long game and all the professionals know that but fishes don’t and losing your cool at the table is a sure shot give away of a player being new at the game and not knowing about the fickle nature about the game.
Good or bad, you should keep your cool and not lose it otherwise players will take notice and use it to their advantage.
Bluff all the time
Another tactic that newbies would think about using is to bluff all the time. This is a certified fish move as they think that the more they bluff the better the chances they have of winning.
This is a flawed move as good poker players will catch hold of you and will take you to the cleaners more often than not.
Keeping these dos and don’ts in mind might not be easy but these would ensure that you cannot be called out as a fish while you start playing poker with more seasoned professionals.
Of course the more you play, the better you will get in the game and how you behave at the table.
Practice does make it better for all players and your behavior at the table will become better as you play more and more games.