Beginner’s Guide to Casino Poker

New England’s Poker Players have four casino poker rooms to play in – Encore Boston Harbor, Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, MGM Springfield, and the entire state of New Hampshire. So it’s time to revisit Beginner’s Guide to Casino Poker.

Casino Poker for the Beginner
Encore Boston Harbor Poker Room

So, You Think You’re Good at Those Home Games?

Sure, you play poker – at home with others. But, you know those crazy dealer’s choice games where some players make up crazy rules like “no-peak, wild follow the queen, extra card if you stay in…..and on windy Wednesdays, we play with two wild cards? Those experiences don’t make you ready for the casino poker room. I HAVE played those home games and know NOT to step foot in a poker room just yet. It takes some study. Years ago, Chris Moneymaker gave young and old the idea of “I can do that!” after winning the World Series of Poker out of nowhere.

Casino Poker for the Beginner
Chris Moneymaker

You need to know about genuine poker players in the casino poker room. First, seasoned players are just salivating for new blood. Showing signs you’re a newbie will inspire them to take your money as quickly as possible!

The second most important thing to know comes from our friends, Mark & Dr. Mike, from their “You Can Bet on That” podcast. They suggest “start playing at low bet ($1-2, or $2-4) limit tables. “Stay away from “no limit” at first.”

(By the way, if you’re not listening to their podcast as a recreational gambler, subscribe immediately. Don’t miss out on this informative and entertaining duo!)

Dr. Mike and Mark


Basic Suggestions For the Beginner

Casino Poker for the Beginner
MGM Springfield Poker Room

1. Getting A Seat at the Table

You must sign in at the desk when you enter the poker room. You tell the host what game you are interested in playing. If there is an opening, you will be seated immediately. If the table is complete, they will take your initials and call you when there is an opening. You will be called when it is your turn.

2. Common Beginner’s Mistakes 

  • Betting Out of Turn – Wait until the player to your right raises, checks or folds. While you may be so excited about how good your hand is, you must wait until it’s your turn. The same goes for folding hands. Jumping ahead gives other players information they shouldn’t have before making their own decisions and can confuse the action.
  • Showing Your Cards (Until the Showdown) – When you fold, make sure you don’t flash or flip over your cards as you toss them into the muck. Again, if players know what you fold, it’ll give them information that may change how the rest of the hand plays out. Unless you are all-in and heads up, there is no reason to show or expose your cards until the showdown.
Casino Poker for the Beginner
Foxwoods Poker Room
  • Making a String Bet – If you are going to raise, you should announce it at your turn. You must simultaneously put the bet and raise in if you don’t announce a raise. If you don’t, you can be called for a string bet. Which is not allowed, and your raise will not be honored. A string bet (typically a raise) is when a player doesn’t get all the chips required for the raise into the pot in one motion. Unless he verbally declares the raise, he can be forced to withdraw it and just call.
  • Not Knowing What the Bet Is – You must know what the bet is when it’s your turn. So, paying attention to the amount of the bet and if anyone raised the bet is extremely important.
  • Folding Instead of Checking – You can check if you are the first to act. You get to see the next card for free if everyone else checks.

3. Careful with Your Cards and Your Chips

You see some lousy betting habits in the movies, which are no-nos in real life.

  1. Splashing the Pot – when a player tosses his bet in a big mess in the center of the pot. It makes it hard to tell how much you’ve bet. A better way is to stack your chips neatly in front of you to bet; this way, the dealer sees and knows your bet is correct.
  2. Not Protecting Your Cards – It is up to the players to protect their cards at all times.
  3. Throwing Away a Winning Hand – 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. Sometimes you may have a better hand than you thought you had.
  4. Losing Control of Your Emotions – Keep your emotions in check. Veteran players, as well as newcomers, make this mistake. It is one that no one should make!

Those Poker Hands – Playing Casino Poker for the Beginner

Here are four cautionary points for beginning poker players:

  1. Playing Too Many Hands – Many players crave the action. They feel they aren’t playing the game if they are not involved in the hand. As a result, successful players play fewer hands.
  2. Playing Too Long – You may get tired or bored if you play too long. Fatigue can cause you to make mistakes or play marginal hands. If you start to get tired, leave the game.
  3. Talking About Your Cards While the Hand is Still Going On – Once you’ve folded, it’s tempting to chat about what would have happened if you had stayed in, but if anyone who’s still in the game hears you, it’ll give them information that they might use to their advantage.
  4. If You Show One, Show All – If you win a hand before the showdown but want to show your cards anyway, you can’t just show them to the one player to your left or right. Instead, you must turn them up for the whole table to see.
Casino Poker for the Beginner

I hope that helps you – the review sure helped me!


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