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Tommy Angelo Presents: The Live Poker Rulebook

  • Tommy AngeloTommy Angelo
Tommy Angelo Presents: The Live Poker Rulebook


Rule #1: Don't move the button.

Rule #2: Arrange your chips so that they do not impede the dealer or block lines of sight to cards.

Rule #3: Post your blinds when you should.

Rule #4: Protect your cards by keeping either a chip or your hands on them.

Rule #5: Do not hunch down to look at your cards, and keep your thumbs low.

Rule #6: Do not reveal your betting intentions until it is your turn.

Rule #7: Put your bets and your folded cards where the dealer can easily reach them.

Rule #8: Do not use cash to rebuy or add-on. Keep large-denomination chips on hand for that purpose. It's efficient for you, and the house, and it looks strong.

Rule #9: When you change seats, try to cause as little disruption as possible.

Rule #10: Keep your hands off your face.


Rule #11: Behave as if you were a guest in a new friend's home.

Rule #12: When you join a table, make your posting intentions known to the dealer.

Rule #13: Do not speak to an opponent who has a live hand unless you have a live hand.

Rule #14: When you are out of a hand, and you are talking to someone else who has folded, be courteous to those who are still in the hand, even if that means becoming suddenly silent until the betting is finished.

Rule #15: Do not gossip.

Rule #16: Do not be an agitator.

Rule #17: When a dispute doesn't involve you, don't get involved.

Rule #18: Don't talk about betting strategy.

Rule #19: When you bust out and quit, say, "Seat open."

Money Makers

Rule #20: Before every hand, consciously inhale and exhale one time, at least.

Rule #21: Intend to watch every betting action of every hand.

Rule #22: Scan the stacks frequently...

  1. To know who has swung which way and how far,
  2. To not be surprised by all-ins, and
  3. To refocus on the game.

Rule #23: Look left. To see the future, observe your left-hand opponents when it is not their turn.

Rule #24: Anticipate.

Mental Health

Rule #25: When you are too tired to play, don't.

Rule #26: Before you play poker, eat only plants and animals.

Rule #27: Do not play for more than two hours without taking a break.

At the Showdown

Rule #28: When you show your hand, do it silently, in turn, and in tempo.

Rule #29: When you muck your hand, do it silently, in turn, and in tempo.

Rule #30: Don't slowroll. (SLOWROLL: To delay showing a hand in order to intentionally make someone think they have the winner when you know they don't.)

Rule #31: Don't slowcall. (SLOWCALL: To delay calling in order to intentionally make someone think they might have the winner when you know they probably don't.)

Rule #32: Don't show uncalled hands, especially bluffs.

Rule #33: Don't show pain or joy, especially when mucking.

Rule #34: Rules are meant to be followed.

Rule #35: Write to me at tommy@tommyangelo.com and let me know what I left out. This rulebook has room to grow.

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Tommy Angelo Presents: The Live Poker Rulebook 101

World-class coach and author, Tommy Angelo is considered a modern master of poker's mental game, and has helped pros and rec players alike achieve less tilt and more focus. Called "the seminal poker text of the 21st century" by The London Times, Angelo's Elements of Poker has revolutionized how serious players approach the game. His latest book, Painless Poker, already a bestseller, can be found on Amazon.com. Connect with Tommy on Twitter @TheTommyAngelo, and visit his website: tommyangelo.com.

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