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This Casino Poker Virgin Needs Help With His Hands

July 6, 2011 at 1:27 PM | by | Comments (7)

We like gambling (duh), but there's one game in the casino that we've shied away from for a few reasons - poker. We've been playing poker with our friends since we were in grade school. Nothing big, just change and small bill limits. We love flexing our muscle with our friends, but it's more about bragging rights than it is about the money. We tried our hands at casino poker once, but were thoroughly bored by playing the game with strangers.

Everyone in the room was so serious. Nobody looked like they were having fun. We were used to playing and drinking with our friends. We gamble to have fun. Playing poker in a casino, with strangers, wasn't so much fun. We swore that we wouldn't play again, but that may be changing soon. We're growing bored with the traditional casino games and the new casino games seem to be a little bit of a stretch for us. So, we're considering giving poker another chance. Maybe the WSOP has had an effect on us. It usually stokes our coals to play poker. This year is no different.

This leads us to ask a few questions and why not ask them here? Let's imagine we're novices at playing poker in a casino since we kind of are.

Where is a good casino to try our virgin hands at poker?

Is there a best time of day to play?

What limits should we play?

Any special ways to keep the game interesting?

Did we miss any other basics? We're open to ideas.

We're probably going to give our reborn poker virginity up in the next few weeks and look forward to any advice you may have.

[Photo: LearnPokerGame.Blogspot.com]

Comments (7)

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It Depends

If you end up playing enough you'll learn that as with all things in poker, a common answer is "it depends" (on the situation).  What is your definition of fun? Winning? Everyone talking and having a good time at the table (and maybe just not losing TOO much)?  Will you be playing alone this time or with a group of friends?  Do you want to play a lot of hands?

In any case, let me try to toss out some suggestions.  Try a smaller room first (i.e. Not Venetian, Bellagio, Caesars, or Aria).  Those are great rooms and can still be a lot of fun but might be a little intimidating to a poker virgin.  They do also tend to get more players taking the game very seriously.  Try Mandalay Bay, Stratosphere, Bill's, Planet Hollywood, even Riviera.

Later at night, especially Fridays and Saturdays there is a bigger chance of sitting with players that have been or are drinking. Depending on how much, you might find that fun or annoying.

Talk to the other players and try to have fun yourself.  If you find you're not having fun or there are too many serious players at the table, ask the dealer or floorman for a table change.  

If you're interested in watching and talking about a game, scout out a room with TVs.  If you plan to play games outside of Holdem, you might have to do a little research to make sure your game and limit is played regularly.

Hope this helps answer some initial questions.  Good luck and have fun!

Poker advice

The last time I played was at the Red Rock, thinking it might be "lower stakes" than the casinos on the Strip.  I lost my $100 in about 15 minutes and left the table licking my wounds.  Next time, I think I'll try one of the "electronic" poker tables that they have one some of the cruise ships.  My take would be midday/mid-week might be a good time to play.

I agree with Mr. P. - it's about having fun.

@ Mr. P

Here's the definition of fun. :) http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fun

Thanks for the tips...Hold em is the game for me. I'd play stud too, but no funny games.

@Eric

Thanks for the heads up on Red Rock. That room is always packed. The sportsbook there seems like a better bet. :)

From VC Reader Bob Woolley

"I write the "Poker Grump" blog (pokergrump.blogspot.com). I'd be happy to chat and/or meet up with you, figure out a good place and time to play, go there with you, and help you with the various procedures and mysteries of the game. I'd love to get another person as hooked on the game as I am. Both
you and I might get some good blog material from the experience."

@ECG, shoot me an email if you'd like his direct contact info.

Hope this helps

I agree with some of the comments and say that it can and will definitely vary by the day and who is at the table.  I enjoy the Bellagio, Aria, and Wynn the best and stay away from the Venetian currently due to personal bad beats but the room is great.  I would suggest for fun not playing at the same table, you can do this at home but if you must play at the same table then pick at least a reasonable stakes so you are not all beat up by the rake and tips (at least 1 of 3 should win).  The best time to play if you are not drinking is about 5am if you slept the night already.  There will be loose and drunk play.  The best time to play if you are drinking is right after dinner when everyone wants to play (say 9pm).  The stakes you play are based on your bankroll and if you are playing limit of NL, but you should buy in for at least 50-100 BB and expect to lose this 2-3 times even in a winning session/trip.  A good rule of thumb is to have at least enough money to match the 3rd highest stack at a 9-10 handed game.  If you are playing limit it will be less fun, slower, less reckless, but if you are patient it can be quite profitable (with less losses) and rewarding.  I find that 1/2 NLHE and 2/5 NLHE give me larger swings than even 25/50 Limit sessions.  I would also suggest if you are staying at a hotel, check out their poker room. There is often a table or two at the Flamingo or Bally's late at night which is both fun and can be dominated.  Just make sure you know who the sharks are and avoid them.  Depending on your backroll to keep the game interesting you can buy in the minimum and never look at your cards (don't let anyone else know this) and then play them just on your reads.  If you push you all in make sure you look back at your cards.  Doing this occasionally at the lower stakes has actually made my game overall better (although I paid for the lesson).  Make sure you tip the dealer (either 1 chip each hand or some larger amount if you win a big pot).  Also be willing to chop the pot pre-flop if you are in the blinds so no rake.  Lastly, you might want to try a tournament.  All of you can play together, talk during the breaks and watch the others if you are eliminated.  I hope this advice helps.  Do not be intimidated by the large rooms.  In fact crazy play is not expected in these rooms so you might have a slight advantage.  Good luck on the tables.

@toddtownsend

Thanks for the info. There's a lot in there. Will take a minute to digest.

- Still poker virgin

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