Playing casino poker is quite different from playing in a home game. There are certain procedures and protocols you will need to understand before you sit down to play. Rules can vary from idnpoker one card room to the next. If you are unsure of the rules, ask the dealer or floor person. Don’t assume anything.
In a card room, you will find many players who are just out for a good time and don’t play the game very well. Combined with what you know about poker strategy, their inexperience can be your gain.
You can’t just take a seat at any poker table. You must first register at the card room’s main desk when you enter. You will be notified when a seat is ready for you in the game you wish to play.
The casinos make their money by taking a small amount out of each pot. This is called the rake. The amount of the rake can vary with the limits of the game you are playing and can change from one poker room to the next. Look for the casino taking the smallest rake.
In a poker room, the dealer only deals the cards and does not play in the game. A small white disk with the word “dealer” printed on it will rotate around the table clockwise to denote who will act last. This disk is called the button.
Don’t throw your chips into the pot; always place your bet in front of you. This way the dealer sees that your bet is correct. Once, he or she has checked it, they will add it to the pot.
If you are going to raise, you should announce “raise” when it is your turn. If you don’t announce a raise, you must put in the bet and the raise in at the same time. If you put in the bet first and then go back to your stack for the raise, you will be called for a “string bet,” which is not allowed, and your raise will not be honored.
It is up to each player to protect his cards at all times. Place your hands or a chip on top of your cards. If other players’ cards mix with yours when they throw in their cards, your hand will be declared dead
If you expose your cards during a hand either intentionally or by mistake, it is considered a dead hand. Make sure all betting is complete before you turn your cards over. There is nothing worse than forfeiting the winning hand because of not paying attention to the action at the table.
You must pay attention to the amount of the bet made by the first active player. You have to know what the bet is when it is your turn. You must also be aware if someone has raised the bet.
Don’t fold your hands if you can check. If everyone else checks, you get to see the next card for free. It might be the card that can turn your hand into a winner.
The cards speak for themselves. Don’t immediately throw in your cards if someone calls out a better hand. The dealer will declare the winner of the hand.
It is against the rules to act out of turn. Doing so can give the other players an unfair advantage. Make sure to wait until it is your turn to act. Even if you plan to fold, you have to wait.
When it is your turn to act, do so as quickly as possible. This will keep the game moving. If you are unsure or need an extra minute to decide, you can say “time please” and you will be given time to make your decision.
In casino poker, you play for table stakes. This means that you play with the chips that you have on the table. You’re not allowed to go into your pocket for more money in the middle of a hand.
If you run out of chips, you announce that you are “all in” and you will only be eligible for the money in the pot up to that point. Any additional bets made by others will be put in a side pot. You will not be eligible for this pot even if you have the best hand. Instead, the side pot goes to the player with the highest hand amongst the players who put money in the side pot.
You can get up and leave the table to go to the bathroom, stretch your legs, or take a break for any other reason. What you can’t do is take your chips with you if you plan to return to the game. Leave your chips on the table when you take a break.
When you are first seated at a table, you may not have a choice of seats unless it is a new game. This does not mean you can’t change your seat once you are in the game. If a player is leaving the table, you can request his seat by telling the dealer as soon as you see him get ready to go.
“Check raising” is when you check your hand and then raise after another player bets after you. In home games, the idea of check raising is considered sandbagging and is frowned upon or even not allowed. It is allowed in most casino poker rooms and is a powerful tool to help you extract more money from your fellow players.
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