Is it bad form to ask or address a player in the hand when you are no longer in it ? For example: 2 players are working their way to the river. A third player asks one of them what his favorite gum is.

The player obviously does not have to respond, but a response or a lack of response could give away information. Or make the oponent perceive information leaks that aren't actually there.

The player has a duty to keep his information hidden and the other player has a duty to make correct reads. However, is the outside player out of line ?

  • 1
    "What your favorite gum? You folded Ace-Jack?"
    – user1934
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 20:29
  • Hahah, was thinking something slightly more subtle, like exposing a tick because of the annoyance of someone breaking focus
    – Peter
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 21:01

3 Answers 3


Once you get into action then never. Pre flop with just some small raises maybe. Once you see a flop then mum. It could be construed as code words for discussing the hand. It distracts a player in the hand. It slows down play. On a big hand you should not even be chit chatting with other players not in the hand.

  • Respectfully, I disagree with your last point. In my experience, after folding, people talk to others who folded all the time. Nothing rude about that, especially on a big hand, where it might take a while for the player to make his decision. While I personally like to look for tells at times like this, I definitely don't think it's rude for more recreational players to be chitchatting about Trump.
    – ejLev
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 23:20
  • 2
    @ejLev, I would agree with you if everyone is recreational sure no one will mind a bit of chitchat on the sides during a big pot, but I can tell you from experience the vast majority of serious players definitely think it's bad etiquette, especially when the pot gets big.
    – Grinch91
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 10:14

If you're out of the hand it is definitely considered bad form to discuss the hand being played. If it's not poker related, like in this situation, it's not out of line. Unless, the opposing player has a doctorate in psychology (and likely even if he does,) I find it very hard to believe that spearmint vs peppermint would give him too many clues.


In our club rules they say 'speech between players not in the hand is allowed as long as it does not influence action' in my experience its a player preference, if they don't want to answer they wont and if they don't like it you'll soon know some people think it helps to hide tells if you engage in small talk, and i think its down to the table if its friendly in general, if people are quiet i usually say 'OK sorry, after the hand' which stops them having to react at all, its against considered bad etiquette to discuss any hand in progress whether in it or not if you're not heads up and will result in a penalty if you speak about the hand or the contents of the players hands. Sorry if that's long but i hope it helps.

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