Card-Playing: Etiquette

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Card-playing and popularity at the card table depends more upon etiquette than upon skill of the player.

It is a social asset to be able to play Bridge, Canasta, Poker and other popular card games. Popularity at the card table depends more upon good manners than upon skill as a player.

Observance of the following principles laid down by the United States Playing Card Company will increase one’s popularity as a card player.

1. Sit erect at the table, maintain a quiet bearing, avoid nervous habits. When someone else is dealing it is best to sit back and wait until the deal is fully completed before picking up one’ hand.

2. Practice handling the deck of cards. An appearance of clumsiness in shuffling and dealing gives a bad impression of one’s ability to play the game. People associate awkwardness of one sort with awkwardness or ineptness of other sorts.

How to Shuffle

  • Learn how to cut the cards, complete the cut, and shuffle the pack in the manner of the best players. Her is how the riffle-shuffle is done:
  • Divide the pack, face down, into two piles of roughly the same size. Place them both on the table and bring together the corners only. Holding down each portion with your fingers, bend upon the corners with your thumbs. Slide the two portions a little closer together so that they interlock. Let the cards riffle downwards. They will fit together as though meshed, and the cards will be mixed. Now relax the pressure of your fingers on the cards and slide the two portions of the pack together.
  •   A shuffle of this sort should be made about three times to mix the cards thoroughly. The alternative poker shuffle, made by –holding a portion of the pack loosely in one hand and dropping the remaining cards into it from the other hand, is not proper in most games, while the riffle-shuffle is proper in any game including poker.
  •   In dealing, hold the pack in one hand and with the other hand slide the cards off one by one, moving both hands a few inches toward the player who is to receive the next card. It is not proper to remove each card with the thumb and forefinger and flip it, or set it down, on the table.
  • Do not look at the bottom card, either before or during the deal.

3. An inexperienced player, or anyone sitting in a game with better players, is likely to be nervous and uncertain. This feeling should be concealed as much as possible. The other players will prefer to have a bid or play made promptly even though it turns out to be wrong, than to have anyone sit in long periods of indecision through fear. Nothing makes other players more uncomfortable than to have a player moan, “Oh, dear, I just don’t know what to do.”

4. During the game, avoid conversation on matters not related to the game.

5. Don’t delay the game by discussing what should have happened on a previous hand. Above all:

  • Don’t express sympathy for a loser–including yourself when you are losing.
  • When a hand has just gone very well for you, don’ talk to anyone about it.
  • Don’t point out your opponents’ mistakes to them. This is even worse than criticizing your partner for his mistakes.

6. When watching others play, make no comment and ask no questions. If possible, sit behind one player and look at his hand only. Having seen one player’s hand, do not shift your position to look at another’s; this might imply that the first hand you saw is not very good or very interesting, and thus your action would give information to some other player.

Compiled from:

    Official Rules Of Card Games by The United States Playing Card Company, 66th edition, printed 1983.

1 comment

Eva Coombes
Posted on Jun 8, 2011