There are basically two different types of Poker games that one can be involved with. The first type of poker game is the kind that you play with a bunch of friends on a Friday night in someone basement. The other kind of poker is in a real casino with mostly strangers. Yes it’s the same game being played, but there are two different types of etiquette to keep in mind. Lets discuss proper poker etiquette for when it’s appropriate to leave a table during these two types of games:
BASEMENT POKER: This is typically a bunch a friends that have been playing Poker together for a long time. You all have your routine down. It’s either always at the same persons house, or you rotate between houses. These games are all played for fun, but real money can we used. During these games there IS an appropriate time to leave the table. You can either let your friends know when you get to the game that you have a certain amount of time that you were able to get away from the wife and kids, or that you have a thesis paper you are writing and are just “taking a break”! Letting the other players know ahead of time that you are only there for a certain amount of time is a courteous way to not shock them when you bow out early. An easy way to let them know when you are almost finished is by letting them know that a certain hand will be your last round, then no one is caught of guard when you suddenly stand up and tell everyone goodbye.
During the game it is allowed to occasionally take breaks for the bathroom, snacks, phone calls or to stretch. This is usually a group break. Everyone stands up, takes a little break, and when everyone is ready to play again, the game begins.
The one thing that you want to avoid when playing with friends is to not become a “Hit and Run” repeater. This is when you win a big pot and then run away with all your winnings. By letting your group know at the beginning of the night that you will be leaving early you could avoid this nickname by claiming that you told everyone you would be leaving early. Just don’t do it too often or you won’t be invited back! It might be wise to stick around a few extra hands after a huge win and then leave, claiming your luck ran out, so you don’t create any bad blood.
CASINO POKER: This type of poker game is played in a casino. You might have some friends at your table, or not know a single soul. You would think that things would be more proper and have more rules in a public professional setting, but it’s actually the complete opposite. In a casino you are able to get up and leave from your table ANY TIME that you want. The ONLY stipulation is that you can’t leave during your hand. You would need to go out and then simply stand up, gather your chips and walk away. You can win a HUGE hand and still gather your chips and walk away! You don’t need to give a warning, a heads up or any explanation as to why you are leaving the table.
If you are enjoying the table you are playing at, but need to use the restroom, or want to get a quick bit to eat, that is an option. Most tables, depending on the dealer, will give you a 30 min break. You are able to leave your chips and hold your place at the table. If you run over the allotted time, your chips will be collected for you to claim when you get back. However, another player might have taken your place at the table. If there is a waiting list at the table then the dealer would much rather have the table full of players and will quickly fill your seat if you are not back in time. If you know that you will be gone for longer than 30 minutes, it’s best to take your chips with you and give your seat up to someone else waiting.