Poker is a wildly popular game. Many people have downloaded an app and use play money to learn the game. Others have played for nickels and dimes around the kitchen table and want to take things to the next level.
It can be intimidating to go to a casino or poker room for the first time. There are a lot of written and unwritten rules that the beginner doesn't understand.
This course will teach you everything you need to know to have the confidence to walk into a poker room for the first time and sit down to play.
For the price of a couple hands, you'll arm yourself with knowledge and avoid some costly rookie mistakes.
Who? What? Where?
The first time you set foot into a live poker room, it can be intimidating. This section aims to help you avoid feeling that way by explaining what to do first.
One feature that is quite confusing to brand new players are the bonuses offered at many poker rooms. To try and gain a competitive advantage and create loyalty, poker rooms offer various bonuses. They usually come in three flavors: Monte Carlo, High Hand, and Bad Beat.
This video will help you understand these common bonuses.
This video describes the basics of the Rake. Or the fee you play in exchange for a professional game. This fee goes toward paying the staff and ultimately the bottom line of the card room. In exchange for your rake, you can expect professional dealers, wait staff, a safe environment, no cheating, an so on.
It's important for you to understand the amount of the rake so you will be able to accurately calculate if you are a winning player or not. You have to overcome the rake amount just to break even.
In poker tournaments, there is also a rake. You don't, however, pay it from each individual pot. The Poker Room takes it out of your entry fee. Sometimes the rake is clearly listed in the entry price - $40 +$10. That would be a total entry fee of $50, but only $40 of it goes into the prize pool.
You should try to avoid extremely high tournament rakes. Ask the floor manager what the rake is if it's not clearly explained when you arrive at the tournament.
There are some special circumstances when it is proper for you to ask for a price reduction. For instance, when you are seated at a full ring (9 or 10 handed) table, and only four or five players are currently seated, you can ask the dealer for a reduced rate. Sometimes they remove one blind, some rooms reduce the rake amount. But you are within your rights to ask.
Poker has many official rules, and more unwritten rules. If you don't want to stick out like a complete newbie, this next section will explain the most important rules and etiquette for you to know.
Where do I sit? In a chair, right?
It seems like an easy question, but in the world of poker, there has been quite a bit of debate on where to sit. This video explains what all the fuss is about and explains the seating numbers when you get assigned a seat for a tournament.
Finally, we talk about the reason you went to the card room in the first place. To play cards. Well, there are some rules and etiquette points you should be aware - especially if it's your first time.
Once you are seated at the table, you will buy some chips. How you stack them, handle them, and stack them says a lot about how comfortable you are at the table.
This rule is not very obvious to the new player. Many casinos enforce the betting line. A line printed on the felt. If your money crosses the line, it has to stay in the middle.
Few things annoy and anger a table more than a new player who does not play in tempo. Players that do not realize when it's their turn to act, or take a long time to make basic decisions. Observe the natural pace of the table when you first sit down and try to play in tempo. You don't need to rush yourself, but try to be courteous to other people's time.
If you do run into a player that is moving very slowly or stalling on purpose, it is within your rights to "call the clock" on that player. The dealer will call the floor over to your table, and tell the offending player how long they have to make a decision or they will kill their hand.
How should you deal with jerks and drunks. This video address this fairly common occurrence.
Speaking of behavior, let's talk for a minute about the way to act when things are not going your way, and when they are.
The flip side of the last video. How should you behave towards the dealers and wait staff? The dealer can't help if you are having a bad run of cards. They don't control the deck. Even if you are losing a lot, don't abuse the dealers.
Do you need to wear sunglasses, a hoodie, and headphones to the poker room. We'll talk about the poker "uniform" in this section.
Poker regulars are on the lookout for easy money. If you announce to the table that this is your first time playing live, then the regulars will pounce on you. Keep it to yourself. Even though you might be a bit uncomfortable and anxious the first few times, do NOT tell the table this information!
Is it ok to put your iPhone on the poker table? What about on the rail? Can I take a phone call or make a text at the table? How come some poker rooms have racks of chips on the table? We'll look at these questions here.
Remember, poker is a game. You started out wanting to have fun. Keep that in mind. No one wins every time. Losing is part of the game. Remember to have a good time while you are playing.
Ron Upshaw is a nationally recognized, award winning radio talk show host. The Ron & Don Show can be heard on 97.3 KIRO FM in Seattle or heard online through the podcast app of your choice. Ron was named by Talkers Magazine as #69 in the Heavy Hundred - the top 100 shows in america.
Ron is also an avid poker player and host of a poker training website.