In the modern world, most new poker players learn to play online.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s also nothing like playing live poker in a real casino or card room. There’s just something about the atmosphere. Everyone’s seated around the table and you can look into their eyes or see their hand twitch. You can hear the chips clink and thump as they hit the felt and bounce off one another. The poker table becomes its own little world for as long as you care to visit.
Because so many new players learn to play online, they’re often lost when they eventually decide to try their hand at a live game and see what it’s all about. From making bad choices about where to sit to turning the entire table against them for not following the unspoken rules, there are plenty of things that can go wrong.
Following are some tips for live poker games that will help you to maximize your profits and get the most out of your experience. Hopefully, they will help you to make some friends—or at least not make any new enemies—and to walk away from the table with a bigger bankroll more often than not.
How To Find The Fish At A Casino Poker Table
The best thing about playing poker at a casino or card room is that you get so much more of what you lack the most of online—information. You can see your opponents. You can look them over and scope them out before you even decide if you want to sit down. You can make much better informed decisions, and that translates into a much better chance of adding a few more buy-ins to your poker bankroll.
Look Over The Tables Before You Commit
If you can, you should always look over the tables before you commit to a seat anywhere. Watch a few hands at each table and try to get a look at how each player plays, and how they’re reacting to one another. Think about whether or not there is anything going on that could prove to be advantageous to you.
Check more about positioning at the poker table – sitting next to the agressive player is one more tip to consider!
Watch For Tourists
If you’re in an area that attracts a lot of tourists, watch for people from out of town sitting in the games. If you live in the area where you play, you can probably spot people from out of the area pretty easily. You can also listen to chatter at the tables, and especially for different accents.
Tourists in a game tend to be playing just for fun. They walked in expecting to lose all the money they put on the table. Why shouldn’t you be the one to take it?
Get To Know The Casino Staff
If you plan on playing live poker games regularly, get to know the casino staff. A bit of friendly banter with some of the dealers or a casino manager can go a long way. If they see your face often and they like you, they probably won’t have any problem pointing you to the juicy tables when there are good games going.
Practice Good Etiquette In Casino Poker Games
There are many unwritten rules when it comes to playing live poker at a casino. Breaking some will just get you dirty looks. Breaking others might create long-term enemies and crossing the line on a few could even get you kicked out of the casino.
Be Respectful And Polite
In most cases you’re going to be sitting with at least some of the people around you for a few hours. If you play a lot, you may end up sitting with the same people over and over again during the course of days, weeks, and months.
Everyone should be treated with respect and you should always speak politely. First, because you don’t want to create enemies, but more importantly, because recreational players are not going to sit very long (and donate money) at a table where they feel berated and uncomfortable.
Don’t Talk About The Cards In The Middle Of Hand
Whether you are involved in the hand or not, don’t talk about the cards or the action until the hand is over. Anything you say could influence players who are in the hand, or worse, give away information that should have remained unknown.
This will generally be forgiven if you do it once or twice, but any more than that and you’ll most likely be asked—and probably not very nicely—to leave the table.
Don’t Splash The Pot
Splashing the pot means throwing your chips into the pot. You may have seen this move in a hundred movies, but it will make you no friends at a real casino poker game.
You should always announce your bet, call, or raise, and then slide your chips calmly toward the pot so both the dealer and the players can see exactly what’s happening. When you splash the pot, nobody can tell exactly how much you’re putting in and it makes it very difficult for the dealer to keep track of what is happening.
Keep Your Emotions In Check
Nobody likes a bad sport. You should be able to maintain your composure no matter whether you win or lose or how much the pot was.
A grin for a win is fine, but over-celebrating is out of line. You most certainly shouldn’t yell or cheer for yourself.
On the other side of the coin, you shouldn’t be angry or spiteful when you lose. Calling someone a fish (or worse) or giving dirty looks across the table is no way for a grown gambler to act. Remember to bring your big boy (or girl) pants with you when you go to the casino.
What Are Your Live Casino Poker Tips?
Do you have some tips of your own? Have you ever caught yourself doing something that you shouldn’t do at a live poker game? What would you tell an online player going to the casino to play for the first time? Let us know in the comments below!
Don’t forget! You can catch the Enhance Your Edge team on our Discord server 24 hours a day for live poker talk and hand reviews. You’ll also find some great videos on our YouTube channel, and regular live streams featuring PKC Poker on Twitch.