- Pay attention. Watch and see who's playing in an aggressive or loose way and who's playing tight. Generally, you should try to play the loose players and avoid the tight players, unless you've got a strong hand.
- Always be aware of everyone's chip count. Know who has more chips than you and play more carefully against them - a mistake could knock you out. It's usually better to play pots with players who have fewer chips than you do.
- If your cards don't match any of the community cards, throw your hand away when someone else bets.
- Don't play every time you have an ace in your hand. However, you can play an ace if it's accompanied by another card of the same suit or by a ten or higher.
- Hands to stay with before the flop: pairs (7-7, 9-9), two face cards (K-Q, A-J), or hands that can make both a straight and a flush (8-9, 6-7 of the same suit). Be patient and fold other hands, unless you're in the blind.
- In no-limit Hold'em, players can bet all of their chips at any time, so bet aggressively when you have a good hand.
- Play fewer hands when you're one of the first players to act, because you'll be 'out of position' and vulnerable to raises from the remaining players.
- Do not act until it is your turn; play proceeds clockwise at the poker table.
- Be a "bettor," not a "caller." (Being aggressive is good.)
- If someone raises in a late position (near or on the button), re-raise them a good amount if you are on the blind. Chances are, they don't have a real big hand and they are just trying to steal your blinds. (This style of play, known as going "over the top", is probably the strongest play one can make in no-limit Hold'em.)
- The biggest mistake most players make is to act too quickly. When you have an important decision to make, take your time and re-think how the betting has gone and what your opponent might have. Take your time.
Common Sense Poker Etiquette: Do.
- Keep your chat to a minimum. Remember that every time you and an opponent chat information is given and information is received. This information can hurt you, but it may also help you depending on who is doing the transmitting and who is doing the receiving.
- If any of the chat content is bothering you or interrupting your concentration, turn it off.
- If you must reply to a query or greet a friend, it is smart to keep it brief and keep it courteous. Remember you are in a game and that is where your attention and focus should lie.
- Always execute your decisions in a timely manner. Whether in a cash game or in a tournament, time wasted is opportunity wasted.
- Keep knowledge of your level of poker skill to yourself. Your opponents are at an advantage if they can learn your degree of skill (or lack of it!). The way you chat can be a strong tell, announcing your level of skill and understanding to everybody at the table; keep it quiet.
- Always be positive in your chat. A few brief positive words can just go with the flow of the game, while negative words at the wrong moment can make you a target and change your position at the table from predator to prey.
Common Sense Poker Etiquette: Don't.
- Criticize your opponents' play. You are giving away information about your level of skill. If you make them mad and they begin to play better, that can also hurt you.
- Don't chat. The Zen of good poker is that it is played in silence. Every word from you is valuable information for your opponents.
- Do not chat in capital letters, as this indicates shouting, and some players might not like it.
- Don't be profane, obscene or abusive in your chat.
- It is said that fear and greed cause everyone to expose their true nature at the poker table. Think about this and then decide what part, if any, you want to expose.
- Information that you gather about your opponents helps you, information they learn about you helps them. Don't just give it all up for free.
- In tournaments, especially in the latter stages, keep chat from the rail to a minimum.
- Don't stall. Regardless of the game or tournament it hurts you and everybody else at the table.