Poker Tips: "Rapping" the table, the good and the very bad

Apr 16 2012 |

rapping the tableThis week we’ll take a look at something completely new: “rapping” the table.  This is something that could be absolutely fine, or, on the other hand, could result in having a drink thrown in your face or taking a handbag to the side of your head. So, what is it exactly?

“Rapping” the table is used as a term for two occasions in live poker. The first form is when a compliment is given to an opponent for either their good hand or for their excellent bet. The actual “rapping” is done by either clapping on the table with a flat hand, or tapping your knuckles on the table.  This is something that can be used to come across as a nice player, and it can also be used to change the mindset of your opponent.

When you “rap” the table with a compliment, players will nearly always say “thank you” and see you as a friendly person, which can help you out in a later hand. Using it to your advantage in another way is to get it to get your opponent to think they are better than they are, or that you are weaker then you are. Imagine you have nothing on the flop, and your opponent bets 2x the pot. This is wayyyyyy too big and an insane bet in 99% of the cases. You can just fold, or you can “rap” the table after thinking for a bit and say something like, “nice hand” or “nice bet”. This might make your opponent think that his bet sizing is good or that you get pushed off a hand easily. You can definitely use this to your advantage later on in the game. 

The bad version of “rapping” the table is an absolute horror when it happens in a hand. This occurs when a player folds a hand pre-flop (or even on subsequent streets) and then sees his or her cards appear on the table. Players sometimes get angry or upset and hit, beat, slap or punch the table in frustration.  This gives information about their hands to the players left in the hand, and it can be absolutely horrible if you are in the hand and about to make a play on your opponent.  With this emotion shown by the person out of the hand, it is obvious that the person doing it had part of the flop, so it makes it extremely hard for you to make a play and represent a certain hand.  It’s also probably not how you want to present yourself if you’re the person who folded a good hand pre-flop, as it can make you look impulsive or uncontrolled. 

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