First Casino Poker Visit

Brick and Mortar Poker Room
First Time Experience

What to expect…

There have not been many situations in my life when I have been really nervous, but the first time I walked into a public poker room definitely stands out in my mind!

Typically, the public poker room is a friendly setting and most of the time there are very friendly people working the room. However, when you first walk in you will be overwhelmed by the sea of tables, the hundreds of players…the sound of shuffling checks…”Brian, 2/4 Hold Em” blares from the p.a. system. What the hell is going on here? More importantly, what the hell do I do now?

First , try and relax. The guy sitting with the toothpick in his mouth and the John Deere hat is just like you. He slid his Wrangler jeans on over his boots this morning the same way you did…or something like that. Take your time and look around. Most card rooms allow you to wander around, just don’t crowd the players and be courteous.

Anyway, the next thing you’ll want to do is get your name on a list. Towards the front of the room there will be a desk with employees behind it. This is your check in counter and you go here to look at a list of all the games available as well as waiting lists that you can add your name too. If you don’t have a particular table that you want to join, you can just ask to be added to the first available table that meets your limit requirements and game choice. Find a game you’d like to play in and tell an employee behind the desk would like to be put on the waiting list for that game. They will call you when a spot has opened.

O.K. Now that you’ll soon be in a game, it’s time to check out some of the other things in the room. Feel free to walk around and get acclimated to your new environment. In many rooms there is a list of current games and their table numbers on a wall.

Soon enough you will hear your name being called. Proceed to the counter and they will point you to the direction of the table and seat that you now occupy. Ask them what table you are going to or ask them where that number is. They will probably prompt the dealer at your table to raise his or her hand. More times than not there will only be one available seat at the table and that one is all yours.

Once you sit down you can get your money out. The dealer will signal for a chip runner who will bring you’re your rack of chips. It is customary to tip the chip runner. Normally, you will wait until the big blind makes it to you before you actually play in your first hand. You can expect to be pretty nervous for the first few minutes but once you get the hang of the betting and you take down your first pot you will fall right in and feel like you belong!

You will never forget your first time in a public poker room…

It never hurts to study up on the etiquette of playing poker. Poker is a sport, and like all sports it has its own unique rules and practices.

Normally, you don’t want the other players to believe that you are a novice, or that this is your first time playing poker live. There’s lots of us internet players out there that have never stepped foot in a brick and mortar casino. This quick article, along with our First Poker Room visit should help get you ready for action. Of course it sometimes might make sense to look like the total novice, but this will only last a few rounds, the other players will pick up to that ploy quickly.

Once you sit down at your first table you will most likely get a quick idea of the texture of the table. Is it a talkative loose table? Are the other players having fun and joking with one another, or is it a serious game with very little chatter. Adjust accordingly, both your manner and more importantly your strategy of play.
There are a few things that we should try to avoid doing as much as possible:

This includes ‘slow rolling’. Slow rolling is when you go to the showdown and your opponents have turned their hands over and you have the winner, but instead of showing immediately you pause and pause for ‘dramatic effect’. This is highly frowned upon and is disrespectful. TJ Cloutier accidentally slow rolled Phil Helmuth in the Showdown at the sands when he ended up making a flush and not realizing it. As he was about to muck his cards he checked and realized that he actually won the hand. Even more interesting is that he had tried to bluff at that pot and Phil read him beautifully, TJ honestly didn’t know he had the winner, so it wasn’t an intentional slow roll, but you get the idea.

Don’t lose your temper and shout or get physical. Believe me; I know that there are few things more frustrating than the game of poker. Take a horribly bad beat you just want to scream. Do your best to keep your calm, drink some water, relax and continue with your game. Don’t be rude to the dealers and don’t blame them for your bad luck, they really didn’t have anything to do with it.

Play in turn. This is important. Don’t bet or muck your cards before it is your turn to act. Wait until the action gets to you and then make your decision. In higher stakes games and high level tournaments you will see players wait until the action is to them before they even look at their cards, this way they don’t give off anything about their hand and they focus totally on the opposition.
There are a few tips and suggestions you should think about when playing.

Don’t forget the dealers, because they work hard and appreciate when you do the small things to help them out, as well as tokes when you take down a good pot. It’s appreciated when you make a bet; put your chips far enough in front of you so the dealer can easily reach them without having to stretch across the entire table.

Same applies to your mucked cards. Slide those puppies far enough towards the muck so the dealer doesn’t have to reach all across the table. It keeps the game flowing smoothly, which is good.

Try not to stall too long when it is your turn to play. Think about your situation for sure and don’t make snap judgments, but when it is your turn to act you should be thinking about what your action will be, not checking the scores of the football game or chatting with your friend. The other players at the table will appreciate it also.

Most importantly, have fun and remember to smile every now and then.

Thanks and we’ll see you at the tables!

KAP