Have you ever been on a plane next to someone who smelled badly or had the snivels? Have you been on a date only to realize that the person you thought was hotter than hell chews her food with her mouth open just like your dog? Have you thought about how you’d react if the person playing poker next to you behaved in either of these ways or any other unmistakably annoying manner?

When you’re on a plane, you have a pretty good idea of when your flight is going to end and you’ll get to disembark and get away from the offensive individual sitting next to you. So, the person’s stench and incessant sniffing is normally tolerable since you have an end point to look forward to. When you’re on a date, you have free will and can leave at any time although, as a general rule, it’s typically more considerate to leave someone whose table manners horrify you before you sleep with her.

What happens when you’re at the beginning of what will invariably be a marathon playing session and you’re seated next to someone whose behaviors bother the crap out of you, though? You have no deadline. You can’t get up and leave without donking off all of your chips which would cause you to lose money. So, what do you do?

We all react differently to annoying behaviors depending on our moods, tolerance levels and the specific actions that we consider bothersome. While we can’t recommend doing anything in particular when you’re at a table with someone whose behaviors are driving you nuts, we can point out the top ten tendencies that have driven us batty in the past, including those that will continue to plague us as we move forward with poker and life in general.

Bad Hygiene and/or Manners

It seems like there is no place better for people who don’t care about hygiene than the poker tables. If you’re one of them, here are a few tips for making the game more pleasant for everyone involved:
You should remember that people sitting next to you at the poker tables also have noses. So if you are going to your local card room to play some poker, but you can’t seem to figure out what that horrible smell is, try taking a shower and see if that helps.

Is it too much to ask for a poker player not to wear that pizza stained shirt for the fifth day in a row? You don’t have to wear a three piece suit to your local $1/$2 game, but try to at least wear matching socks with your sandals.

If you have a runny nose, don’t let everyone know about it by sniffing every 30 seconds! Go get a napkin and blow your nose! And if you are sick, you shouldn’t be at a poker table in the first place!

If your local card room allows food at the table, good for you! However, when you devour your sandwich, have the decency to chew with your mouth closed. No one wants to see pieces of salami and mustard dropping from your mouth onto your chips.

Talking or Reacting to the Flop, Turn or River When You’re Not in the Current Hand

One of the most annoying things you can do at a poker table is to provide commentary about a hand or react to the cards that are dealt after you’ve folded yours. Why? It’s simple: when you do either of those things, you are giving information to the people who are still in the hand that could give one of them an advantage over his competitors. While these behaviors aren’t exactly the equivalent of you colluding with another player, they could still have the same effect on the outcome of a given hand which makes them not only annoying, but potentially costly for someone, too.

Constant Complaining

There are many things poker players like to complain about and some of them are even justifiable. You have every right to let off some steam if you have just been 2-outed on the river for a massive pot or you are being dealt coolers all night. However, there is no need to complain about things that happen all the time. So next time you feel like starting a 30-minute rant after losing a coin flip or not getting aces for a few hours in a row – don’t!

If everyone complained about things like that at the tables no one would go near them. So learn to handle losses as well as being happy about wins. If you just can’t go on without letting off some steam before proceeding with the next hand, then you might want to move so you can play somewhere where weed is legal.

Angle Shooting

Angle shooting is disgusting and against the spirit of the game. Angle shooting is an action that may technically be within the scope of the rules of the game, but is considered unethical. For example, an angle shooter might motion as if he were folding his hand to induce a reaction from other players. This kind of behavior, in most cases, is used against less experienced players and the more players who have bad experiences at the tables, the less players will come back to play the next day making angle shooters bad for poker in general.

Hopefully, sooner or later, the rules regarding grey areas like angle shooting will be changed so all players will have a better experience at the tables and scumbags who cannot resist making a few extra bucks on a dirty move will get tossed out of the game.

Calling the Clock Regularly and/or When You’re Not in a Hand

Calling the clock often or when you’re not even in a hand are behaviors that are not only normally unnecessary, they’re annoying as hell. Regularly calling the clock on your competitors before an inordinate amount of time passes as they are contemplating their next move puts undue pressure on them during instances when they are trying to make decisions that could cost or make them money. If you are using this tactic to get under the skin of a certain player and put him/her on tilt, more power to you. If you are using this maneuver to speed the game up just to suit your own personal playing preferences, knock it off or find a faster moving game.

Calling the clock on someone when you’re not in a hand is your right, but it’s generally ill-advised and not well received by other players. In the case of Tiffany Michelle, doing this was one of the countless reasons she was heavily criticized when she went deep in the ME a few years ago. It’s also one of the many reasons she ended up being identified as one of the game’s biggest assholes…and deservedly so.

Criticizing Someone Else’s Play Incessantly or Abusively; Explaining What Others Did Wrong

Did someone just make an awful play? Good, be happy that you have a bad player at your table and don’t comment on it. No one wants to hear you explain why it’s sooo bad that the guy just called that river with third pair because the other guy is never bluffing in that spot. The game is supposed to be fun for everyone so if you can’t keep yourself from ranting at everything around you, stay at home and enjoy the comment sections.

The worst in this category are the people who actually go into detailed analysis trying to break down the hand and show everyone how smart they are. If you think that this is a good idea in the first place, then you are not that smart. If you do this, don’t be surprised if people rack up their chips and leave your table. No one is there to listen to a live cardrunners video so focus on your own play, preferably in your own head.

Dragging Out Decisions Unnecessarily

You really shouldn’t stall the game without any reason for doing so. There is no problem in taking time to think over some decisions especially if they are legitimately hard, but don’t take forever folding your 7-2 pre-flop facing a raise and a re-raise in front of you!

You can’t really blame players when they are short stacked on the bubble of a tournament and trying to stall every single hand. Many people would still criticize this kind of behavior, but when it takes place only near the bubble it’s not that bad. After all, no one wants to be the bubble boy. There is a line, however, when even this gets ridiculous. For example, people should remember that there is no point in stalling when the tournament is hand-for-hand.

Splashing the Pot

There are few things that are as exciting as winning a big pot. Naturally, there are even fewer things that are as deflating as losing all of your chips. As disappointed as we are when we go bust, most of us simply push our chips to our opponent in a polite manner, meaning we push them in stacks or in whatever order we had them arranged for our own use.

Some people, however, don’t take losing particularly well and end up splashing the pot by deliberately and, often angrily, pushing over all of their chip stacks and shoveling individual chips in the general direction of their winning table mate, sometimes knocking over other players’ chip stacks in the process. Even when some individuals aren’t eliminated from play, they’ll splash the pot by tossing their chips toward the center of the table (where they never land) in a grandiose manner that makes them bounce all over and forces the dealer to act like a catcher scrambling after an unexpected bunt in a baseball game.

Whatever the reason is for someone to splash the pot, it’s generally bad form to do so and is an in-person demonstration of bad sportsmanship. It’s inconvenient for the other people at the table and can really throw a dealer off. Plus, it’s just plain annoying to have to restack chips that should never have been splashed in the first place. If you’re a splasher, grow up.

Using Phones and Gadgets During Play

I don’t know when poker became like driving in the sense that the task you’re engaged in is not attention-grabbing enough to be done without the distractions that mobile devices provide. I mean, it’s not enough to just drive anymore. It’s not even enough to drive while talking on the phone anymore. Because we are all so focused on our safety and the well-being of others, we now have to check our email, exchange text messages and watch the latest funniest video on YouTube while we’re behind the wheel; we strongly advise you to do none of the above while driving.

As it is with driving, so it is with poker. The game itself seems to no longer be challenging enough to hold the attention of some players on its own merits. Think about it for a moment. When is the last time you sat down at a table and no one had a phone in hand? Why is the presence of gadgets at a poker table annoying? Because people who use mobile devices at the table generally slow down play even if they only use their gadgets when they aren’t involved in a hand since they typically want to finish whatever message they are sending or reading before they re-engage in the game.

Consider this for a moment. How is using a mobile phone at the poker table advantageous? By bowing your head to read or send messages during a game, you are missing repeated opportunities to learn your opponents’ tells, etc. So, in addition to driving up your cell phone bill, this practice also has the calculable possibility of increasing your losses or reducing the amount you ultimately win. So, just stop it already!

Wearing Headphones at the Table

I agree that not all table chatter is enjoyable, but I maintain that the conversation at any table is less annoying than playing with someone who wears headphones and does not pay attention to verbal declarations as a result. This habit not only slows down play, it also ruins the flow of a game whenever someone equips him-or-herself to basically ignore how a lot of a game’s action is communicated.

In addition to being annoying to your table mates, wearing headphones can work against you just like messing with your phone can while you play for reasons similar to those discussed above. So, why bother with them? Why not just pay attention to your opponents and use what they say and do to your advantage?

PLEASE NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article belong to the writers who contributed to the piece, meaning they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of their employer, Flop Turn River, or any of the company’s contributors, affiliates or associates.

Submit your review

Create your own review

Top 10 Annoying Table Behaviors
Average rating:  
 0 reviews