For some players, table talk isn’t really important when playing poker. It’s a way for them to stay focused, thus giving them the image of someone who should be taken seriously.
Recreational players however, find it imperative to converse with one another during a hand. They see poker as a social game and not just a mean to attain financial gain. These players also find table discussion a favourable chance for intellectual stimulation.
But are there limits to the topics discussed at the poker table? This is something you should know if you want table discussions to be socially and intellectually productive. Yes, there are boundaries, and by boundaries we mean topics that you shouldn’t dare mention when playing poker.
1. Religion – Religious differences has been known to initiate conflicts. In fact, many of the world’s wars were caused by religious arguments. If religion can ignite worldwide chaos, it too can start a battle at the poker table.
You have to understand that many people get sensitive when you bring up their religious beliefs. It’s best to avoid a topic that is known to divide men, and their poker game.
2. Politics – The subject of politics is proven to drive a wedge even to the strongest relationships. Very often, opposing political views result in a heated argument and will surely ruin your poker night.
3. No Bullying – If you are a professional player playing with a recreational player, your approach towards the game will be different. Many professional players will tend to make fun of the latter as they see recreational players, the weaker opponents.
This condescending attitude will turn off recreational players from enjoying the game and will basically dry up the pool of poker players.
4. Poker Dealers – Arguably, poker dealers have the toughest job in the game. They have to deal with different types of people and a number of which will criticize the dealer’s performance.
Keep in mind that from time to time, they will make mistakes but that doesn’t give you license to yell at their faces for doing so.
5. Current hand being played – Never discuss the hand being played while other players are still in action. Not only will it distract the other players, it will also greatly affect an active poker player’s decisions.
6. Previously played hands – Don’t distract the other players by dwelling on a previously played hand. Doing so will likely start an argument as to whose cards are on the boards, which players were holding what cards, and so on. Instead, encourage your tablemates to focus on the current poker action.
7. Bad beat jackpots – Mum’s the word, remember that when a bad beat jackpot is in the works at your poker table. True, being on the losing end of a bad beat jackpot is a dream come true but better zip your lips as a jackpot hand can be disqualified due to careless table chatter.
8. Poker strategies – The poker table is not the place for you to discuss poker math. Stronger players will most likely pick up on your “strategy talk” as you are unknowingly revealing your playing style.
9. Bad luck – The other players would probably not want to play poker with you again if you annoy them with the story of how badly you’ve been running. Other than that, your downtrodden image will make you an easy target and your tablemates will likely capitalize on your unlucky image.
10. Personal issues – The players at your table are there to win and have fun. They are not your therapists. Personal matters, general points perhaps, may be discussed during the game, but deep personal concerns should be left to a more private setting.
Needless to say, table talk at a poker game depends greatly on how the players want to the game to go. Do they want meaningful conversations to go with the game? Or, do they want to keep it strictly about poker? Some may choose to be interactive, while others prefer to remain silent and concentrate.