The Allure of the Casino For most people, even those who shun gambling in their own life, casino’s are somewhat seductive in their dark and seedy allure. Unfortunately, you need to get over any fascination you may have an you need to get your head around a certain understated etiquette before you’re likely to get near to a table.
Before you consider gambling at a casino, playing poker at a casino table, casinos are sophisticated and highly successful enterprises. They don’t get to be successful by giving away money. Your best bet – the best bet for anyone who is new to casino poker – is to learn the basics of casino operations so you can manipulate the experience to your advantage.
Know Thy Enemy Casinos really know their clients. They see you coming a hundred miles away. They know exactly who you are, how much money you make, what you like, what you dislike; whether you’re married, single, or divorced.
Marketing gurus employed by casinos know exactly what makes you tick and they will use that knowledge to extract as much business from you as possible. When you enter a casino, you need to understand that everything, every element, everything you see around you from the carpet to the lights on the ceiling is designed to draw you in and keep you in until you’ve lost your bankroll.
The objective of the casino is to make you and everyone else there comfortable and happy. They want to keep you feeling happy even when you lose everything you came in with.
The House Rules Another point to consider: the house always wins. In poker, you’re at less of a disadvantage than at, say, roulette, but the house is still going to ‘beat’ you no matter what happens.
Wondering why? What if you win a huge stake?
Well, the house charges commissions in most games. They have a mathematical edge, and, in games like roulette, true odds aren’t given out.
Although poker is slightly different, being a skills game, the casino still has many ways to fulfill their first commandment. You should be aware of this and accept it, to a degree. Don’t let the casino’s advantage set you off balance.
Money Matters When you decide to play poker at a casino, you need to familiarize yourself with the chips on the table; learn their respective values to save yourself thinking too much about it later. To make it easy for you, casinos tend to use the same colors schemes. The most common values corresponding to color are:
Table Manners When you go to a casino to play poker, standard practice is to sign in at the desk and, generally, indicate to the host what game (“poker”) you’re interested in playing (e.g. “Texas Holdem or Omaha”). Generally, if a table is full, you will be put on a waiting list and called as soon as a place opens.
In casino poker you play for table stakes. You play with the chips that you have on the table and 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 should indicate that you’re “all in”. Any additional bets made by others after you come into the game will be put in a side pot. You’re not eligible for this pot even if you have the best hand on the table.
Be aware of some of the most common at-table mistakes. Most common is betting out of turn or making an improper raise. Wait until it’s your turn to play before you make a move. Don’t call, raise, check, or fold – don’t do anything until it’s your turn because you’ll confuse proceedings for everyone else. It’s also bad etiquette to talk about your cards while the hand is still going. No one will appreciate it if you do this. You must not show your cards either, save that for the showdown, at which time you should show one and all!
A couple of bad habits generally put out there by movies featuring poker include splashing the pot and making string bets, neither of which is appropriate in actual casino poker. You shouldn’t toss you chips into the pile when you make a bet. This is splashing the pot. Because it’s important for people to know how much you’ve bet, stack your chips neatly in front of you. And avoid saying things like “I call and raise another 300.” When you want to call, call. When you want to raise, say that you will raise and indicate the amount. Don’t string everything together.
Above all, be polite at the poker table and stay calm. Remember, it’s only a game and the objective is to have fun and let everyone else around you have fun as well.