Casino Poker for the Beginner

MGM Springfield has taken out the slots that inhabited its beautiful poker room. The Poker Room at MGM Springfield is finally open. Western New England’s poker players now have a closer drive to one of the lavish rooms in the northeast. So it’s time to revisit Casino Poker for the Beginner.


MGM Springfield Four Years Later
MGM Springfield 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 follows the queen, extra card if you stay in…..and on windy Wednesdays, we play with two wild cards…that’s why you need to read Casino Poker for the Beginner.

Those experiences don’t make you ready for the casino poker room. I HAVE played those home games, and I 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

There are things in the casino poker room with genuine poker players that you need to know. First of all, seasoned players are just salivating for new blood to take advantage. Second, showing you’re new in numerous ways will inspire them to take your money as quickly as possible.

Because you’re new to these poker tables, the second most important thing to know comes from our friends,  Mark & Dr. Mike, from their “You Can Bet on That” podcast  Start low bets ($1-2, or $2-4) and limit tables.  “Stay away from “no limit” at first.”

Bill Burton Casino Poker for the Beginner

Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of “Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold’em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets.” In addition, he writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters such as Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, and Blackjack Insider.

1. Entering the Poker Room

“In a casino, you don’t just walk up to a table and sit down. When you enter the poker room, you must sign in at the desk. 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 full, they will take your initials and call you when there is an opening. Some casinos have a large board to write your name or initials or write your name on a list. Either way, you will be called when it is your turn.”

2. Common Beginner’s Mistakes 

Betting Out of Turn – You must wait until the player to your right acts. While you may be so excited about how good your hand is, you have to wait until it’s your turn to do so. The same goes for folding hands. If you jump the gun, it gives other players information they shouldn’t have before making their own decision 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.

Making a String Bet – If you are going to raise, you should announce it at your turn. If you don’t announce a raise, you must put the bet and the raise in simultaneously. If you put in the bet and then go back to your stack for the raise, you can be called for a string bet, which is not allowed, and your raise will not be honored.

Not Knowing What the Bet Is – You have to know what the bet is your turn. You must pay attention to the amount of the bet and if anyone raised the bet.

Folding Instead of Checking – Sometimes, if the player does not play the next card, he will immediately fold when it is his turn. If you are first to act, you can check. If everyone else checks, you get to see the next card for free.

3. Careful with Those ChipsProtect Your Hand

Throwing Chips Into the Pot – There are two lousy betting habits that you see a lot in the movies, which are no-nos in real life. The first is when a player tosses his bet in a big mess in the center of the pot. That’s called Splashing the Pot, and 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 your bet, and that’s it is correct.


Not Protecting Your Cards – It is up to the players to protect their cards at all times.

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.

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

Playing Too Many Hands – Many players crave the action. They feel that they aren’t playing the game if they are not involved in the hand. As a result, successful players play fewer hands.

Playing Too Long – If you play too long, you may get tired or even bored. Fatigue can cause you to make mistakes or play marginal hands. If you start to get tired, leave the game.

Don’t Talk 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.

Casino Poker for the Beginner

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 have to turn them up for the whole table to see.

I hope that helps – you as well as me.