Playing Poker in a Casino

November 16, 2009 |


Poker in a Casino

Playing poker in a casino is not the same as playing the classic games at home. There are thousands of reasons to play the game of poker in public cardrooms and not at the kitchen table at your residence. The most significant factor is that there is always a game. Every day there are available games 24 hours during the whole week, so you can always choose the game that you want to participate in. Another great advantage in the poker clubs in the city is the safety of the community cardrooms. These places offer video security, floorpersons, and professional dealers, like any respectable Las Vegas casino. You can find in the cardrooms more security personal in comparison with any of the banks because people are constantly walking around with a huge amount of money. The parking spaces are well patrolled, brightly lit and crime free. Most of the large clubs provide ATM machines, safe deposit boxes, and check cashing, and there is no need for anyone to go with a lot of money in the pockets. You can even use the players’ banks that are available in many casino clubs.

Casino Poker vs. Home Poker

In the community cardrooms nobody minds if you stop playing while you are winning, there is no pressure what so ever to remain in the game. There are plenty of players waiting to take your seat. Of course, in order to play you have to pay. And of course, the amount of money you need in order to play in a casino is much bigger than if you participate in a home poker game. There are probably many things that you are used to do during a home poker game that will probably never happen in a professional cardroom. No one will go through the discards, the dealer always will handle the deck, and you need to play without any help.

You’ll find out that the speed of the casino game is much faster compared to the home poker games. The casino dealers are trying to keep the speed fast. If you play a time collection game you will pay the same fee for 30 minutes of playing no matter how many hands are dealt. Therefore, dealers act professionally and they expect from players to make very quick decisions.

How to Attend a Poker Game?

The first thing you might see in a cardroom is a white board with the initials of players. They are listed under the available games at the time. For instance, if you go to a large casino cardroom you might end up with six players before you for $2-$4 Texas Hold’em game. The first thing that you have to do is to give your own initials to the attendant and specify the games that you want to participate in. For example, “My initials are RNK. Put me in the list for $5-$10 Texas Hold’em, $4-$8 Omaha, and the $5-$10 Stud games”. It is very easy. From that point on your initials will go up for each game you have pointed and you will be called the moment there is an available seat. If the list of initials for one of the games is very long, the attendant will state it and call the players in the order they are written on the board. The moment you hear your initials you have to go to the table and take the empty seat. You are already in the game. There are cardrooms where there is no board. In that case you have to give your first name to the attendant and let him know which games you want to play. In very small cardrooms with just one or two tables you have to ask the dealer for a waiting list or a vacant seat.

How to Buy Chips?

The moment you sit at the table you will be asked from the dealer or the floorperson how much money you want in chips. Every game requires a minimum amount of money to enter; this is the so called buy-in. You’ll get the chips the moment you give the dealer or the floorperson the required amount. In large casinos you can find chip attendants, one of them will collect your cash, and he/she will announce that “seat number…is playing $500 behind.” The meaning is that you bought in for $500, and the casino is going to provide your chips. You can start playing even if you haven’t received your chips yet. The dealer will count how much you owe the pot or lend you a few chips. Your chips should be provided by the end of the first played hand.

Shuffling and Dealing the Cards

The procedures of shuffling differ from casino to casino and sometimes from game to game but they are always very strict. They have nothing to do with the amateur games. Most of the people who play at home are not familiar with the science of perfect shuffling and some don’t have the skill to perform it. The professionally trained dealers in the casino gather the cards in that way that they face all the players and they scramble the cards on the table. This is followed by a procedure of 4 steps: shuffle, shuffle, riffle, and shuffle. In the end the dealer cuts the deck into two approximately equal parts and the dealing starts. The whole procedure is quite fast, efficient, and organized in that way that no cards can be flashed during the procedure.

Differences between Casino Poker and Home Poker Games

While you are looking for a free seat at a table in a casino you may notice that the players don’t play that many hands like in the home games. In the casino the situation is completely different. There the players are much more selective and one of the biggest mistakes during the game is actually to play too many hands. You must know when to fold and when to bet.

The low-limit games are closer to the home games, but they are still tighter. In these kinds of games the player with stronger hand tends to enter the pot. At the same time in looser games many players enter too many pots, which is completely unnecessary. If in the low-limit games your starting cards are better than the ones of other players, you will most likely win the money in the pot. You won’t be the winner from the beginning though. It will take some time till you get used to the cardroom games, so if you are a beginner, it is a good idea to start with the small-limit games. The first 5 or 10 times you will be probably paying for learning the cardroom way of playing, so try not to make these lessons more expensive than they are.

If you come to a community cardroom from a home game you will realize very fast that you can’t play every hand like in home games or even a lot of hands. You need certain standards (starting guidelines), which is true for all forms of poker. The standards will tell you your minimum raising and calling hands. Without standards every time you have to lose 90 % of your concentration to make decisions what you must do with a certain hand. You need your energy for deciphering the thing that makes this hand different from other hands that you saw in the past and for studying your opponents. In the end it is not necessary to play every dealt hand, you can also fold. Especially, the weak hands – they are not profitable. Just keep in mind that you have to play much less hands, you have to fold more often.

Speed of the games

When you start playing in a casino you might be shocked from the speed of the games. You might also think that the players there are much better in comparison with the opponents that you play against at home. The moment you become familiar with the environment in the cardrooms you will realize that your skill level is much closer to the ones of other players at the table. There will be players like you who are there to study the game and there will be some players who just want to have some fun playing their favorite game. The regular skilful players don’t study the game and they continue to make the same mistakes for years, so you shouldn’t worry about the skill level of your opponents. You just make sure that you are studying the game very carefully. In that way you will catch up sooner than you think. No matter how skilful you become, you should always study the game and your opponents. Keep yourself in a good shape for the games in front.

Poker Strategy

There are still people who think that poker is a game of chance and nothing else, but they are totally wrong. Every poker player should have enough knowledge about the basic poker strategies. You should know when to raise, re-raise, call, and fold. Otherwise you are playing a lottery. You may win from time to time, but that will be nothing but luck. If you want to become a skilful poker player, you need a strategy. Without knowledge you will not have any control of the game. There are actually a lot of poker players who believe that the goal of poker is winning the pot and they are all mistaken. The objective of poker is to have fun and to win money, not pots. To win the most of the pots is not a problem at all. You just have to play every single hand, to call every bet, and raise till the end. In that way you will win every possible pot, but at the same time you will lose very fast a lot of money. That’s why people say that the goal of the poker game is to win money and that means that you have to select very carefully the hands to play. You don’t have to play every hand. The best poker players play just a few hands. They play when the odds are on their side and they are trying to maximize the amount of money in the pot. Anybody can win in a short run, but in a long one the skilful players win more money with their strong hands and lose less money with their weak hands – this is the real meaning of poker.

What is Poker?

Poker is different games that make free use of bluffing, betting, and hand rankings as tactical and strategic elements. In some of the poker games like Texas Hold’em, Seven- Card Stud, Omaha, and Five-Card Draw poker the best poker hand wins. The definition of “best hand” is the rarest hand. The rare the hand is, the higher the rank. Consequently, the straight flush is higher ranking poker hand than the full house since it is less likely to form (the probability of being dealt is too low). For the same reason one pair is beaten by two pair, and the latter is beaten by three-of-a-kind. In other type of games such as Deuce-to-Seven Kansas City Lowball, Lowball, and Razz the lowest ranked hand wins. If you are not still completely confused, you should know that there are also split games. In that case the lowest and the highest hand split the pot. In the casinos the two most popular “split” games are Omaha and Seven-Stud/8.

Being a Beginner

Every player was a bad player in the beginning, even the professional and skilful players who win now tournaments such as World Series of Poker. People of talent have to work very hard and for a long time in order to refine that talent. So, don’t complain about your current skill level as a poker player. You can become much better if you are willing to pay the price for that improvement. Every skilful player now has been there and they all improved their skills with time. The first and the most important thing that you have to do is to build a foundation, in that way you can reach every of your poker goals. If you have a potential as a poker player, you must build a foundation that will assist you in reaching your full potential as fast as possible. Everybody who managed to become expert players   have one thing in common – a solid foundation. Only after you have managed to master the fundamentals of poker, you can call yourself a true professional and you are ready for the next step – improvisation. After you have a solid ground, you can begin to improvise. The masters of improvisation are standing on a platform of poker theory and knowledge, understanding of the game and strategy. Without the basic skills, you can’t improvise. To acquire those you need a lot of training, many years behind, participating in many games, and a lot of studying. The results of all that efforts are going to be very sweet and very profitable.

Basic Concepts of Poker

First you should try to learn the basic concepts of poker. Even if you do understand them, you have to find a way to apply all you have learned. The abilities and knowledge of basic poker is not something that you can learn from a few games. They need to be trained constantly. You have to understand the blinds and antes. The first is a forced bet by 1 or more players before the cards are dealt. The second is a small bet that every player gives in order to seed the pot before the beginning of each hand. The players use blind bets inTexas Hold’em and Omaha Hold’em, and they ante in Stud games. Every game needs some initial money in the pot. A game with empty pot is boring and slow. The blinds and antes are used for making the game more exciting and tempting for players. Another thing that you need to master is studying and knowing your opponents. You have to be prepared to win, because success needs preparation. Knowledge, experience and preparation are equal to skill. That is what you need if you want to become a winning poker player. The most important step before eliminating bad habits and making behavioral changes is to be in charge. You are personally responsible for yourself at the poker table. If you are trying to blame someone or something else you would be avoiding the truth. Some of the tactics in poker are important and some aren’t. There are techniques that if you play regularly you can use maybe once or twice a year. That makes other skilful moves somehow meaningless. In the game of poker decisions are very important. Like in life every decision has its consequences. In order to play correctly you will need the kind of judgment that comes mainly from experience. Even the most skilful and experienced players are making wrong decisions. Everybody make mistakes. The idea is to avoid the catastrophic mistakes and you will be fine. A critical error for instance is if you fold a winning hand, because it will cost you the whole pot.

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