Casino Poker: You Gotta Know When To Hold'um Know When To Fold'um
There is a world of difference between playing poker at a casino and that friendly little game you know how to play. If you have never played a hand of poker in your life, the casino is absolutely not the place to learn. That old Kenny Rogers song from “The Gambler” contains a wealth of advice in just a few words: “you gotta know when to hold um, know when to fold um.” Once seated, it is expected that you know what to say and what each term means. The odds of having even one person you have ever seen before at the table is highly unlikely.
Before you go to the casino, call ahead to have your name placed on a reservation/waiting list. Unless you have a mega bucks expendable budget, it is best to opt for a low-limit table where the minimum buy-in averages $30. You should plan to check-in at the Guest Services area within one hour to avoid being deleted from the list. At most casinos, you may request a beeper to alert you when your seat is available. If this is your initial casino visit, it is advisable to remain in the Guest Services area to read the rules poster since rules and regulations often vary from one casino to another.
While most casinos allow you to buy-in/collect your chips at the table from the dealer or by delivery from a chip-runner, many aficionados advise first-timers to buy chips from the cage to avoid exuding geek/nerd vibes to the other players. Whether buying chips at the cage or at the table, the cash must be placed on the counter or table since hand-to-hand monetary transfer is not allowed. Regardless of whether you have a beeper, your name will be called via the PA system with a minimal amount of time to return to Guest Services for escort to the table to avoid losing your chair. Once each player receives a hand, consisting of five cards dealt one at a time around the table, the player two seats to the left of the dealer must open with the minimum required blind bet amount. In turn, the other players must match the minimum bet, raise the bet level or fold, forfeit the hand, before the dealer places the first card in the middle of the table/community zone.
Once a player has viewed his initial hand, it is advisable to place it face-down in front of the chips which are stacked in piles of 20, one denomination to a stack. Placing cards face-down and covering them with the hand, a chip or a small, lucky charm object avoids another player intentionally or inadvertently adding a card to your hand or the dealer raking your hand into the muck or dead-card zone.
The main rule of thumb whether a first-timer or an experienced player is to keep your eyes, ears and mind on the game. If the dealer has to call your turn, everybody else at the table will have an unintended clue about your level of expertise.