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How to Play Poker with Unpleasant People

29 February 2008, By:
When you play poker you meet people in a fun way, poker is a social game. Unfortunately, you can't always choose whom to play poker with, and sometimes you will find yourself playing with people you don't particularly like or who are objectively unpleasant.

How should you behave when you play poker with unpleasant people?

Unpleasant people at an online poker room
Handling unpleasant people when you play poker online is pretty easy. Just turn chat off. Not having to deal with unpleasant people is actually a major benefit of playing online. You will still have to play with them, but won't have to listen to whatever unpleasantness they have to say.

They can still do annoying things such as take too long to act or move all-in on every hand, but these things are really just part of the game and need to be tolerated.

Unpleasant people in a live poker room
Unfortunately, live poker is a different story. If an unpleasant person sits down at your table when you play poker live, you can't really just shut them off. However, you do have recourse. If the player's behavior is inappropriate, such as shouting, throwing cards, or touching other players' chips, you can call a floorperson's attention to the situation. The floorperson should give the offending individual a warning, and if continued violations of behavior standards occur, should ask the offender to leave.

If the annoying behavior takes the form of poor smell or grooming or being a poor sport, taunting when winning and making rude comments when losing, you may not be able to have them removed. However, you can always ask for a table change. If you request that the floorperson moves you, he or she will move you to the next available table at your stakes as soon as a seat opens up.

Taking advantage of unpleasant people in a poker room
Keep in mind that you may want to balance how annoying an opponent is with how strong a player they are. Often the most annoying players do not play poker very well, since strong players usually want a nice calm atmosphere so others feel comfortable losing money to them.

It is possible that the annoying player is strong and is using his bad behavior as a tactic, but more often the former is the case. If you play great poker and win money from the unpleasant player, you may not want to leave. Busting an unpleasant opponent is the best response. Of course, if the unpleasant player is getting you off your game and you are the one losing, you should change tables as quickly as possible.

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