When at a poker table with players who are not particularly advanced (I usually play smaller home game tournaments), I am confronted with an issue. Namely, how to project my table image in this situation. I have three options:

  1. Do I go straight to shuffling my chips, talking about the WSOP Main Event Final from three years ago and talk about poker terms that I know nobody else at the table understands to scare them?
  2. Do I act as if I have very little poker knowledge and let these people think they can bully me?
  3. Do I not focus on this aspect of the game at all, as players at this level may not factor this into their playing strategy at all?

What is the best way to play this and why?

2 Answers 2


In a smaller home game just be nice. If you are a bully you might not get invited back. In my home game I had one guy that would taunt when he would win. I just did not invite him back.

Just pretend you are a guy that at least knows the rules.

Don't use terms they might look up and get better. I forget what book but a pro was ridiculing a fish and another pro said don't tap on the fish tank.

In poker I think you are better off being under estimated.

  • 1
    +1 to this. The OP is overthinking the issue. Play well, but have fun, and make sure your interactions with others are in the persona of someone fun to play with. Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 15:45
  • Also important is that you noted the notion of making sure you're on the short list to be invited back for the next one. Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 18:44

First suggestion would be to get rid of the word "fish".

Second suggestion would be to sit out a hand or two once in a while if house rules allow.

I don't understand why your #2 goes straight to "bullying".

No. 1 suggests that you think no one else watches TV. There may be a self-perception issue at play. The question to ask yourself is "Do I win noticeably more than others at these home tournaments?" If the answer is no your question is moot.

  • This was a question I asked before I fundamentally changed the way I think about poker. I look at it now, and think wow I was dumb, but yeah even back then I was crushing those games, it was extremely soft
    – ejLev
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 21:34

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