PokerPlayer’s Top 10: Things that are ONLY acceptable in home games

Poker comes with its own etiquette and breaking it could land you in big trouble – unless you’re playing at your house, under your rules…

1. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH FRIENDS

Poker’s a social game, which loosely translates as you having absolutely no control over who you’re sat with. And if you’ve been on the wrong end of a player who is both clinically stupid and unable to shut up, this can be extremely trying. Unless you’ve got terrible friends, this won’t happen at your home game.

2. STOP FOR PIZZA

Announcing that the table’s going to take an enforced pizza break wouldn’t go down well in your local casino. It might not go down that well at your home game either but it’s your house and you’ll eat when you want to.

3. SLOWROLL

Some say that slowrolling is never acceptable, but to go down that puritanical route would mean missing out on some fantastic table comedy. When your shove’s been called on the river and you’ve backed into the nut ush, turning over a card at a time saying, ‘I have one of those… And, ooh, another one of those,’ is guaranteed to put your best friend on uber-tilt. And what else are friends for?

4. SLAP THE 7-2 GAME ON

Poker can be dull at times, and if you’re stuck getting dealt rags in a tourney there’s not a lot you can do about it. If action’s lagging in your home game slap the 7-2 game on (if you win with that hand every player at the table has to pay you a penalty), sit back and wait for the reworks.

5. LAUGH AT BAD BEATS

Some people take bad beats well, even when they’re playing for millions in the biggest tournaments around the world. Some can’t take them at all, even in the lowest stakes home games. Know your target and ne tune your biggest belly laugh for when they’re sucked out on. Get into the habit of calling for the card they don’t want to see on the river for maximum hilarity.

6. TURN YOUR OPPONENT’S CARDS OVER

Suffering with a smug player in your home game? Shut them up instantly by waiting for the biggest hand of the night to conclude. As they’re mucking with a smirk what they claim is the biggest bluff you’ve ever seen, quickly turn their cards over to reveal the nuts. As they splutter, ‘You can’t do that…’ just turn and take the plaudits from the table.

7. SEND EVERYONE HOME

This actually happened in a home game we were at recently. The host, a player not capable of dealing with variance very well, lost a couple of stacks and then threatened to send everyone home: ‘It’s my at and you can all leave now.’ If you attempt this, know that you will feel very foolish about 30 minutes later. Or, in his case, 30 seconds as his atmate said, ‘It’s my at as well, they can all stay, now stop being a twat.’

8. SLEEP AT THE TABLE

If things start getting too much and you’re exhausted from all the refreshment at the table, take a quick – or even a long – nap. No one’s going to throw you out of the game, but you might have to put up with an embarrassing video on YouTube when you wake up.

9. RIG THE DECK

Talking of people that can’t take bad beats very well, have you ever tried rigging the deck when they go to the toilet? The classic is Kings against Aces. Deal them Kings, another player Aces and then wait for the moaning after all the money goes in pre op. This moaning will continue through the flop until the turn when a miracle King appears. The Ace on the river is guaranteed to cause Hellmuth-like ignition. Make sure you get the deck just right or you might have to forfeit a stack, and make sure you cancel the hand afterwards. Otherwise you’re just cheating.

10. PUNCH YOUR OPPONENTS

We’re not talking about full-on Raging Bull style shenanigans here, but if you’ve just been slowrolled or had anything resembling an angle thrown at you, a swift dead arm is a justifiable response in a home game. Warning. We’ve only seen a punch thrown at a real-life poker table once and it didn’t end too well.


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