The popularity of poker in the US, and in the world, exploded in the early 2000’s. Many people from many different walks of life decided to give it a try, both online, and live in casinos. Poker offers an alternative casino gaming opportunity. You are not playing against the house, so there is no built-in advantage you’re fighting against. You can choose a low limit game to slow your bankroll burn, and you can sit in a smoke-free and social environment.
Major casinos throughout the gaming word have built beautiful poker rooms with lavish appointments, including the beautiful new room recently completed at the Atlantis in Reno
The following Lucky Seven Tips are offered to the inexperienced player who is interested in playing poker on their next trip to the casino.
1. Don’t be intimidated. A great many people watching poker being played don’t really get what’s happening. The players each acting and reacting in turn, either betting raising or folding can seem confusing. Standing at the rail and watching is a good way to follow the action. Keep your eye on the dealer button. It rotates clockwise around the table, player by player, and establishes who pays big and small blind, and which player (the button holder) has last action in each betting round. You will see players check (not bet, not fold, basically pass their turn), bet, and fold. After a few hands you may get a feel for the rhythm of that particular game. Once you decide to sit down, the dealer will be happy to help you out and see that you act in turn.
2. Play Limit. Texas Hold ‘em poker is largely divided into two games, Limit and No Limit poker. This refers to the betting structure of the two games. In limit, the betting is structured, so in a 3-6 game, you are required to bet three dollars when coming in, and three after the flop. Both these betting rounds can be raised, by three dollars. A bet can be raised up to five times or more in each round but that rarely happens. When the ‘turn’ (fourth board card) is dealt, the limit doubles to six, as does the amount that can be raised. This form of the game is not currently in favor, as the action of no-limit proves to be so much more popular. In no limit your minimum bet is the big blind. There is no maximum, so you can bet you whole stack at any time in the game. This type of action does not favor a beginning player because you may be betting big on pocket QQ and not be aware of some of the draws that are looming out there on the board.
3. Play Tournaments. A tournament is a great way to learn the flow of the game, and is a better value to beginning players as you can buy-in a some tournaments for a mere $35 and have the opportunity to play with thousands in chips. Certainly, if you play with caution, that $35 buy-in could get you up to a few hours of play, whereas it is less likely you would get a few hours play buying into a live game with that bankroll.
4. Understand the game. Be sure you can follow the action, know who’s turn it is and when, and how much that person can bet or raise. If you watch the action and players, it will help you understand and master the game sooner.
5. Play within your budget. You wouldn’t sit a 200-400 limit game with only a thousand dollars. Don’t try to roll into a 3-6 game with $30 and expect to start raking pots. You can win, but a short stack at any table is always a sign of weakness, and will invite a lot of unwanted attention from players who think you have only enough money to play one hand fully, and make you push your luck. Short stacks seem pot committed more easily.
6. Play the cards. Don’t try to bluff too much, or read into other players actions. As a beginning player, you should stick with basics. Always play quality hands. Pairs of 10’s and up, suited face card, and any ace/jack or better can be considered a quality hand. If you eliminate middling beginning hands, which kind of look interesting (like 8 9 suited, or a pair of sixes) you will decrease you cost per hand, or tuition money, in learning the game. You may feel more comfortable playing some of these hands after you are a more experienced player.
7. Count on the dealer. A dealer can tell when you are a green player, and most will do what they can to help you along. Don’t be afraid to ask him, after the hand, if there was a betting round or turn of events that confused you. They say in life there is no such thing as a stupid question. That is never more true than in gaming. Educate yourself on the ins and outs, play a few hands, watch a few hands, make some mental notes, and you will find yourself at ease at the table in no time.