BY RUSS SCOTT
RELEASE: JAN. 3, 2012
Will 2012 Mark Your First Card Room Visit? Here’s What to Know
It’s here, 2012 — the year you’ve resolved to finally play poker in a real card room!
Sure, you’ve played for pocket change on the kitchen table or tried online games, but now you’re ready for “real poker” with professional dealers, top-quality tables and strangers who want to win your money.
First, you need a plan and a little strategy advice updated from LuckyDog Poker archives.
Let’s start with something easy — take a friend along to share the experience. You’ll be itching to talk about exciting hands you won (or lost!) and some of the characters at your table. So will your buddy.
Next, sign up for a game with comfortable betting limits. Don’t go straight to the no-limit table!
The smallest game in most poker rooms is $2-$4 or $3-$6 limit hold ‘em. That’s a great place to start because the action will more closely match your home game, with plenty of opponents playing lots of hands.
Buy in for at least 15 times the maximum bet, or about $60 for a $2-$4 game and $100 for $3-$6. That will give you enough ammunition to survive several “bad beats” without running out of chips.
If you decide to play no-limit right away, then pick the smallest game available (usually with $1 and $2 blinds). You’ll need a bigger buy-in. Assess the average stack size at the table, and buy-in for that amount.
Whatever game you play, set a loss limit and leave if you reach it.
While waiting for your seat to open up, look for a wall poster outlining the card room’s rules and review them.
The poker supervisor can help with questions. Will you be in a “kill” game with changeable betting limits? Is there a bad beat jackpot, and how do you win it? How many raises are allowed (in limit games) each betting round?
Pace yourself once the cards start flying. You should play only premium hands the first hour so you can get a feel for the game.
Dump marginal hands pre-flop, and use that downtime to learn how your opponents are playing. Figure out who’s making tricky moves, who’s a “calling station” (someone who rarely raises) and who’s on tilt (playing recklessly). Size everyone up to assist your decision-making in later hands.
If you don’t like your game or want to join your friend at a different table, ask the floor person for a table change. To change your position at the table, ask the dealer for a seat-move button.
Remember, there are rules to follow that may not get much attention when playing with your pals.
For example, don’t act out of turn, expose cards deliberately, splash the pot with an undetermined number of chips, or call attention to flush or straight possibilities on the board. Read the general rules of poker before your visit.
Be friendly, and engage in a bit of small talk to let players know you’re enjoying the game and their company, especially at the low-limit tables.
Still, poker’s more fun when you win. So, set a goal of doubling your buy-in, and don’t be afraid to leave while you’re ahead!
Happy New Year, and good luck!
E-mail your poker questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org for use in future columns. To find out more about Russ Scott and read previous LuckyDog Poker columns, visit creators.com or luckydogpoker.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 RUSS SCOTT
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM