Recently, I played in a live WSOP $2-5 game mixed with young pros and weak recreational players. After every hand the pros all swapped strategies about the potential ranges of their opponents and what was the best play. In doing so, they openly criticized their recreational opponents’ play.

The pros were very well studied and knowledgeable. Some of the recreational players seemed astonished at the depth of thought. It was at a level they’d never heard before. Some left, some were made uncomfortable and tightened up. One thing for sure, the pros’ edge had been dramatically reduced by all the strategy conversation.

I see this type of behavior all the time. People want to show how smart they are, belittle their opponent’s, and play big shot. It’s bad etiquette and among the worst poker plays. It costs both you and other serious players big money. It educates your opponents on strategy, informs your opponents how you think and focuses their minds on strategy.

Yeah, I’m the wrong guy to say this. I publish articles about poker strategy all the time. But I’m no longer playing for a living, and I avoid strategy discussions at the table.  These pros must have worked hard to develop an edge and then diminish it so stupidly. Pointing out strategies and mistakes to your opponent’s is just stupid, particularly at the table.

Players need to control the discussion. Point out to unaware players that their discussion is hurting the game. Move the conversation onto other topics. Keep the focus off poker strategy.

Do the smart thing. Shut up, and do your best to prevent others from damaging your edge.