What Makes a Good Poker Room?

Twin River Casino Poker Room

Poker Room at Twin River Casino, Lincoln, RI.

I’m not much of a poker player.  I love home games, dealer’s choice, low limit games – just as long as the most I can lose would be equal to the cost of a McDonald’s Happy Meal. But it’s the casino poker room that we wondered about.

Four New England casinos have poker rooms. By 2019, poker rooms will most likely be offered at MGM Springfield & Wynn Boston Harbor. For information about games, tournament, and general info, check out the following links:

Hollywood Poker Room, Bangor ME

Twin River Poker Room, Lincoln RI

Mohegan Sun Poker Room, Uncasville CT

Foxwoods Poker Room, Mashentucket CT

“What makes a good poker room?” It seems it takes a lot of little things and big things combined.  Poker player preferences are as different as the casinos themselves.

One thing I found tis that a consensus on what makes a good poker room was not easily found.  A few basics did pop up often though: the room’s rules should be clear, the dealers should be pleasant. The staff should keep an eye out for cheats and colluders.  That being said, without a lot of experience, I checked out poker forums and asked the question “what makes a good poker room?” However, to quote Paul Harvey, now, “for the rest of the story.”

Concerning the Rake:

First of all, the “rake” is the scaled commission fee taken by a card room operating a poker game. It is generally 2.5 to 10 percent of the pot in each poker hand, up to a predetermined maximum amount.  Obviously, most players prefer a lower rake %.  Low rake is sometimes switched with time charge, especially in the early mornings. Some players actually had decisive limits – 5 percent rake and a $3 maximum per hand, 10 percent with a $4 maximum is the highest that should be charged.

Second, a BBJ, “Bad Beat Jackpot” is also not preferred. What is a “bad beat jackpot”? It’s  when a poker room pays out an amount of money if a very good hand (usually Quad Eights or better) ends up losing to another hand. This “bad beat jackpot” is usually divvied up between all of the players at the table who participated in the hand that was played. In most circumstances, the loser of the hand will receive 50% of the bad beat jackpot, the winner of the hand will receive 25% and the remaining players will split the remaining 25%.  The “bad beat jackpot” accrues over time and grows based on how much rake the poker room is collecting.  The low rake combined with fewer BBJ’s are preferred.

Concerning Comfort:

Mohegan Sun Poker Room

Most players like what everyone in a casino prefers – a comfortable place to play. One player said, “The poker room exists to generate rake and the best way to generate rake is to provide an atmosphere that people enjoy. If I ran a poker room, I wouldn’t be in the “Poker” business, I would be “hosting a party and a party atmosphere” (business)…..Make the poker room fun. Hire/train competent staff because it makes the room more fun and increases your drop.”

But to most, quiet is most conducive to a comfy atmosphere. The room should be clean, good-looking, and well-lit, with nice chairs and cushions, and bathrooms.  Many players admitted they prefer a poker room with space, especially at and between the tables.

When it comes to smoking, most players seem to be changing towards a non-smoking poker room. “I ‘ve played in rooms where smoking is allowed and it’s horrible. Can’t get away from it. Your cloths smell terrible afterwards. A smoker in a no-smoking room can always take a walk to indulge but a non-smoker basically doesn’t enjoy their time playing (especially when Mr. Chimney sits down right next to you).”

Foxwoods Poker Room – Best in New England

Comfort can be a product of the way management enforces good etiquette and nice behavior so that everybody feels comfortable – which brings us to our next consideration, the Management of the Room.

Concerning the Management of a Poker Room:

The first part of what management controls is getting to the table.  almost unanimous was the preference for “…quick to get from waiting list to seated at a table…”

Foxwoods Resort Casino. Waiting for a game.

Every room needs someone on duty 24/7 who knows all the games who knows all the correct rulings, and is accessible to the dealers and the players. Great managers, or “floor-men,” are guys who know when to intervene and guys who know when to let the players handle their own situations.

The sign-up desk should be warm and friendly instead of ignoring its patrons, standing there politely waiting. “Greeting people poorly is a very common problem in poker rooms,” said one response. “If you aren’t a people person, don’t work the sign-up desk. Floor people should also have some people skills instead of having an assertive, officer-like attitude. A friendly person who approaches situations professionally and makes informed decisions will please more people in the long term. Correctness is most important but you can make correct decisions and still be pleasant.”  Which brings us to part four.

The Poker Room Staff

Good dealers are a must, good floor people as well and other support staff like cashiers, chip runners, wait staff etc. Everybody agrees you should have great dealers. But some people think a great dealer tells jokes and gives his sports picks, while others think a great dealer never says a word except what has to be said to call the game. Being a good dealer is not that easy – just think back to your sessions. It must be hard being a dealer for years. Dealing with lots of rude customers really much take its toll. Maintaining a smile night after night of people accusing you of giving them bad cards, etc. has to be emotionally draining.

poker dealer

Here are “good dealer traits” that were mentioned mostly:

  • Most of the dealers have been here at least 4+ years.
  • Good dealers deal a decently paced game
  • Don’t talk too much
  • Know the game left and right
  • Very courteous especially to the losing players.
  • Provide a consistent experience as other dealers (which suggests better training by management)
  • Treats 1-2 (limit) players like 10-20 (limit) players. (i.e., treating all players like they’re important)

Wait staff should represent the positive aspect of the service industry. Visiting players and people on vacation expect polite and fast cocktail service.

Concerning the Games:

Poker Room at Hollywood Casino in Bangor, Maine

Poker Room at Hollywood Casino in Bangor, Maine

A lot of tables with a wide mix of games, including stud, seems to be best – games for high rollers, games for low-rollers (one player called them ‘degens‘ as in degenerates, but that’s kinda harsh!), games for hobbyists and games for the low limit players to introduce them to poker, let them learn on and move up in stakes. Good games seems to be the most imports factor, and yet the house has little control. Players who make good games tend to flock to the best run rooms. So, the clientele ultimately plays the most important part of good games. What a revelation!!!

What was lower in considerations and THE FINAL CONCLUSION

Service with a smile.

Can you believe that being treated well was more important in my findings than free food, drinks, and comps? Promotions, and all the amenities were important, but not if the place was a mess, run poorly, and made the players uncomfortable with the game.

So, my conclusion is this:

  1. Management must care and cater for its players
  2. This will attract the best clientele, raising the interest and packing it’s poker room.
  3. If the poker room is packed, then the rake will be small, with tournaments and a variety of games.

Heard this before?  Sure, SERVICE COUNTS. It’s the same old thing we have been saying for years, as we see casinos change to a business first model instead of the service / hospitality model we were used to in years past.  It’s the same for any part of the casino, not just the poker room. Happy players means repeat business of the best kind. Treat players fairly, make them feel like valued customers, and they’ll come back for more.  Simple……….too bad it’s more often a thing of the past….and that’s the rest of the story!

 

Binbin

Presidents & Poker – Happy Presidents Day

 

Did you know that many American Presidents have also loved a good game of poker?

Martin Harris in his post for PokerStarsNews, covered the many presidents who enjoyed a good card game, saying “Poker is a great revealer of character, a truism that applies to Presidents as well as to lesser men.”

Did you know:

  • Before becoming the country’s first president, George Washington gambled at cards, keeping close records of wins and losses on a page in a ledger book titled “Cards and Other Play.”
  • Theodore Roosevelt used poker as a way to gain entry into social circles while moving up through the ranks to the vice presidency.
  • No president had a special dedication to poker the nation’s 29th president — Warren G. Harding. Harding hosted poker games twice a week with members of his administration, earning them the nickname the “Poker Cabinet.”
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt  brought back the poker-playing tradition during his administration with low-stakes games several times a week, often nickel-ante stud.

But the most studious poker-playing president of all was Richard Nixon. He became proficient at poker while serving in the Navy during WWII, earning perhaps as much as $10,000 which he used to help fund his first Congressional campaign. So taken with poker, Nixon even turned down dinner with famous flyer Charles Lindbergh as he was hosting a game that night.

The entire article can be found at “US Presidents Who Played Poker.”

 

Casino Chips Curiousity

“The guy who invented poker was bright, but the guy who invented the poker chip was a genius.”

Ever wonder about the the poker chip? …..I have. If you think about it, it’s the universal symbol of money, and it was gambling that made it possible. Here are a few questions that crossed my mind that provide some interesting facts about the casino chip’s evolution….

1) How were chips ever used in casinos? When gambling became widespread in the 18th century, one difficulty was that people who gambled had different types of coins or valuables for wagering. To solve this problem some gambling venues offered gamblers substitutes like pieces of ivory, bones or clay. In the USA, the humble origins of the modern day familiar casino chips were born out of necessity. The game of poker first developed in the mid 1800’s along the Mississippi and other saloons and bars throughout the West.

2) Were chips forged as fake in the early days? Yes. Gamblers began to forge substitutes. As a result, gambling establishments began to brand their substitutes, the only surviving relic of which is the large plate (check) with a printed value. The problem continued, so casinos responded in the same old way – each casino created specially designed, hard-to-replicate chips that were unique to their venue. Chips became standardized in size, but the materials used for them, such as clay or expensive ivory, still varied widely.

3) What are today’s chips made of? Manufacturers now use high-pressure techniques combined with a mix of composite to produce chips. To hinder forgery the casinos even include a microchip in their chips

4) Can I use one Casino’s chips in another casino? Sometimes, but it’s always best to cash in before you leave. If the casino is owned by the same company, the chips might work at multiple properties. In Las Vegas, it’s common to see casino chips with the name of two different casinos printed on them – one on either side is the standard. Obviously, you’ll want to check with the pit boss or poker chip cashier first, just to make sure.

5) What about the colors? Do they mean anything? In most casinos, the denomination of the chip is a particular color:

  • white – $1
  • red – $5
  • green – $25
  • black – $100
  • purple – $500
  • orange – $1000

 

Chip Collecting

Casino chip collecting became increasingly popular during the 1980s, as evidenced by the sale of chips through several casino and collecting newsletters. Bill Borland’s Worldwide Casino Exchange (early 1980s) had a casino story each issue and dozens of old chips for sale. There are many different ways to collect casino chips. Because of the amount of chips available and the increasing price of some, collectors have begun to specialize. A collector might choose to collect every chip from a certain casino or one from every Las Vegas casino.

As for me, I like to collect pens – yes, casino pens. But that’s probably best saved for a future post.

That’s all for now.

Binbin

FARGO Poker at Mohegan Sun – Thoughts from the “Newbie”

The last two weeks of cramming to prepare for my first poker tournament is done.  The FARGO POKER weekend at Mohegan Sun is complete.  The learning curve was steep.  I take back with me many observations and experiences, which I’d like to share with you:

Concerning Playing Live Poker

The poker room is not the ambiance of a Home Game!

The Live Poker Room experience is like nothing you’ve ever anticipated, especially the first time.  No matter how much online practice, no matter how many resources you’ve read, and no matter how much advice you get before hand, the real table with real poker players is an overwhelming event for the beginner. The only way to become an efficient player is study, practice & play.

Home poker games do not prepare you for what you are about to experience.  Not only is the game taken very seriously, but it seems like everyone woke up crabby!  (Not the FARGO group, which I’ll get to later.)  Walking into a poker room is like walking into a Grumpy Resting Face Convention. If I want that serious of a negative vibe, I’ll just watch the news for two hours.  But, if you want to play poker, get used to that environment.

Poker players speak their own slang, much of which doesn’t make sense to the novice player. The speech is as fast as the pace of the cards. It’s definitely a different culture.

Speaking of fast-pace, each player is expected to keep up. The poker room is a tough place to get used to all the rules in betting, turns, blinds, etc.  Forget the strategy of outs, pre-flop hands and raises – the logistics and rituals of play are mind-boggling alone, especially as a “newbie.”  Only experience in the lion’s den of the poker room will get you where you need to be.

Being an excellent Video Poker player has little effect on success in the Poker Room. The solitary game of knowing the correct way to play every hand is no match to the all-encompassing experience of the Poker Room.

Concerning FARGO Poker

While my experience on my table of nine players made my head hurt, I wouldn’t have trade it for the world.  Not only are these players of FARGO experienced, tough players – they are also amicable, kind to new players, and eager to help you feel as comfortable as possible.  They chat throughout the early play, zinging each other, and telling stories of events past.  Many are friends that meet up only for this event, or similar events in Atlantic City & Las Vegas.

I gave me so much advice that they didn’t need to – after all, I was another competitor at the table (but not a threat 🙂 ).  But these people had nothing to prove, they knew their strategy, they knew each other, and fun was always on the agenda.  While I was busted first from my table, I lasted two hours, thanks to so much help and reminders.

The dealers love Fargo, and Fargo love the dealers.  Their reputation for fun and great poker play precedes them now at Mohegan Sun.  I wouldn’t be surprised if dealers ask to be put on that shift and those tables.  Special thanks to the dealers from “yours truly,” since you made each other aware of this guy in seat one – who was pretty wet around the ears.  So many took care of this poker stranger.

Conclusions

FARGO POKER is FANTASTIC!  These people love their poker, love playing each other and love to bring fun and consideration to all involved.  Special shout-outs to Tracy – who runs a great event and is one of the most accommodating people I’ve ever met, Sassy – who kept me on the straight and narrow concerning whatever I was doing at the table, “Big Mike” – for our time chatting in the hospitality suite, Rick Becker – the unsung hero, and “Cousin Vito” – whose coverage on his gambling podcast, and personal tweets made me realize this was a “Do-not-miss-event.”

And it should be a “Do-not-miss-event” for the rest of you next October at Mohegan Sun.  FARGO 2018 – don’t miss it!  As they say on their site, “Come Meet the Friends You Haven’t Met Yet…………………………………”

Binbin

Fargo Poker At Mohegan Sun

Is that what beginning poker players look like?  I think I’m about to find out…..

Next weekend, I am branching out to participate in my first poker tournament when Fargo Poker comes to Mohegan Sun.

What IS Fargo Poker?

Fall Annual Recreational Gambling Outing (FARGO), founded in 1997 by Bill Alan Hafey, is a regional poker based event, loosely patterned after BARGE (an online community of poker enthusiasts that hosts an annual event (of the same name) in Las Vegas) and ATLARGE (a similar group in Atlantic City). “Regional” meaning FARGO takes place in the Northeast region, but people from anywhere on the planet are welcome. Originally, FARGO was held at Foxwoods Resort Casino and the F in FARGO stood for Foxwoods. In 2014, FARGO was moved to Mohegan Sun Resort Casino and the F was changed to Fall.

If interested, you need to act quickly – FARGO Registration ends tomorrow on 10/8/17. The registration fee for FARGO 2017 is $30. For this, you will receive a gift, the bounty for the NLHE event, a personalized embroidered jacket if you win an event and all the incidentals involved in getting ~100 people together for a weekend of fun. This fee is waived for non-playing guests.

For general information, go to the FARGO web site. Structure sheets will be available on the main FARGO page.  Here’s a quick view of the weekend:

  • Thursday’s event, recently added, is the Greg “FossilMan” Raymer, winner of the 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event Heads Up Tournament Training ($100) session.
  • The Friday event is the Bill Alan Memorial Pairs Event. One player will play Limit Omaha/8, and the other player will play Limit Hold’em.
  • Breakfast at the Seasons Buffet – The $15 fee is non-refundable if you oversleep, so be sure to get a wake up call. As always, feel free to tip an additional amount.
  • The Saturday event is NLHE with a bounty. I will provide the bounty, not the casino.
  • The Sunday Mixed Event will be HORSEDugi, where the “R” will play as RazzDugi, a split game of Razz and Badugi.

Back to me

……and my first tournament – because essentially this post is all about FARGO, ME and BEGINNING POKER HELP

I have played home games for years, on and off, but playing poker at this level – yikes!  I would consider myself a knowledgeable and proficient video poker player of over 20 years, and playing VP is a passion. Many Royals have flashed on my VP screens over the years, and expert play is always something I practice & strive for.

A recent hit at Foxwoods playing Ultimate X

But, Video Poker is a solitary game, and with a rate of over 600 hands per hour, I am able to recognize the patterns and not interact with others, silently enjoying my game at my pace.

But casino room poker means I have to interact with, well – PEOPLE!?!  So, I decided that it was time to do some studying, since I know this was going to be quite different…….I started my homework.  Here are some resources, besides our resources at NETG

HELP!!

A shout-out to Cousin Vito and his podcast CousinVito’sCasinoPodcast for making his avid listeners, (such as “moi). aware of this event. For more info and a primer on FARGO and Tournament Poker, check out his podcast E:55 Poker Survival Tips for Beginners and FARGO Poker with Tracy

Training Websites/ Everything Poker Websites

Some websites are excellent paid courses available to coach your game. The are tons of these sites, but a few were mentioned more often in poker internet forums.  DuecesCracked offers Videos, Forums, Tournament & Cash Game Videos, an Interactive Video Player to Discuss videos with coaches, No sign-up fees and a 7 Day FREE Trial.  Highly recommended. Two perfect beginner training video  include The Coaching Tree & Real Life: Micro NL-Grinder

Other websites are great for any level, and any type of poker service.

RedChipPoker.com is just that.  Forums, a great podcast, strategy articles to cover all levels, tools such as poker calculators & quizzes, and includes some great coaches for help.

Cardplayer.com & PokerNews.com have similar portfolios of poker help, including coverage and dates for national poker tournaments such as WSOP & WPT. They also follow the best poker players in the world, and legislation concerning online poker & online gaming, including DFS.

Finally, if you’re look for websites for basic beginners tips, try:

PokerListings.com

CardsChat.com

ThePokerBank.com

It’s time for me to do some studying and practice. Every beginner at the table has the fear of looking like “that guy” – the novice.

It’s simple, with today’s post, we don’t have to be that guy.

Wish me luck!

Binbin

Poker Primer from “Adequate Man”

I consider myself a very good video poker player.  I’ve studied Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, and Double Double Bonus video poker.  When I say studied, I mean practiced, trained, and worked towards AP status. But I know very well that poker and video poker are two different beasts.

Yes, I have played home games, penny-ante kind of stuff, but not with serious, experienced poker faces across the table.

So, this October, I’m about to take the plunge into the casino poker room. Cousin Vito, on his weekly podcast, has been talking about the FARGO POKER Event at Mohegan Sun, October 12 – 15th.  I’ve decided to join the event, meet the friendly people of FARGO poker, and report on it here. Click above to read all about it.

I looked at this great website I know of, NETimeGambling.com. There, I found a great Poker primer.  Kyle Wagner from the site ADEQUATE MAN has a great Beginner’s post on how to start playing poker called “How To Survive At The Poker Table.”

Below is just a sample, (minus the profanity.) The pictures were added by “moi.”

“How To Survive At The Poker Table.”

One of my favorite all-time movies – “the Sting”
Poker used to be cool. From Wild Bill Hickok getting shot up over aces and eights to Paul Newman and Robert Shaw eyeing each other in The Sting, it has always held a place in American culture as the game you’d find grown men playing in the smoke-filled back rooms. Here’s all you need to look like you know what you’re doing, not (mess) up the game, and hopefully not get taken for all you’re worth.

That said: I do mean hopefully. This article can’t teach you how to play poker well. There’s plenty enough writing about poker out there, and plenty enough guides on the matter, both basic and advanced. We’ll take you through some basic table etiquette, parlance, and rudimentary concepts for playing soundly. But remember: We’re only here to make you Good Enough. We aren’t even trying to keep you out of the “If you can’t spot the sucker in the first 20 minutes …” pile, since an experienced player will get a sense of where everyone stands easily enough. We’re more aiming for “Just make sure you’re second-slowest when you’re escaping the bear” territory.

Foxwoods Poker Room

Largest Poker Room in N.E. at Foxwoods

Foxwoods Poker Room Largest Poker Room in N.E. at Foxwoods
Most of this advice boils down to “keep….. to yourself”—this is good general practice regardless of venue. So, here’s how to fit in well enough at a table that you won’t get on everyone’s nerves, and also how to keep your head far enough above water that you can afford to come back.

TABLE ETIQUETTE

You’re shooting for two things here: You want to avoid slowing the game down, and you want to avoid being the annoying simp everyone has to correct. We’ll start with pace-of-play stuff.

1. Know when it’s your turn.

2. Don’t bet or fold out of turn.

3. Know what kind of bet you can make, and what kind you can’t.

4. Don’t stack your chips like an idiot, but stack your chips. images

5. Don’t splash the pot (also: Don’t say, “Don’t splash the pot”). When you bet, don’t just toss your chips in the middle of the table; place them in front of you, preferably in somewhat organized stacks. This lets the rest of the table see what you’ve bet, and keeps it separate from the pot.

6. Leftovers.

  • Don’t buy in for a ridiculously small amount.
  • Know the difference between “bet” and “raise.”
  • Leave your cards on the table.
  • Don’t look at other players’ cards. .
  • Don’t slow-roll. Slow-rolling is a troll move in games that have hole cards, where at the end of a hand, you only turn over one of your two cards. By the rules, you’ve got to turn both over eventually anyway.
  • Don’t take money off the table.
  • Tip the dealer.
  • Don’t String Bet.

HOW TO ACTUALLY PLAY…….Sorry, to get the explanations of the above great suggestions as well as the rest of Kyle’s post, click on his Title above. You won’t regret it.

Binbin

What Makes a Good Poker Room?

I’m not much of a poker player.  I love home games, dealer’s choice, low limit games – just as long as the most I can lose would be equal to the cost of a McDonald’s Happy Meal. But it’s the casino poker room that we wondered about.

Four New England casinos have poker rooms. By 2019, poker rooms will most likely be offered at MGM Springfield & Wynn Boston Harbor. For information about games, tournament, and general info, check out the following links:

Hollywood Poker Room, Bangor ME

Twin River Poker Room, Lincoln RI

Mohegan Sun Poker Room, Uncasville CT

Foxwoods Poker Room, Mashentucket CT

Twin River Casino Poker Room

Poker Room at Twin River Casino, Lincoln, RI.

“What makes a good poker room?” It seems it takes a lot of little things and big things combined.  Poker player preferences are as different as the casinos themselves.

One thing I found tis that a consensus on what makes a good poker room was not easily found.  A few basics did pop up often though: the room’s rules should be clear, the dealers should be pleasant. The staff should keep an eye out for cheats and colluders.  That being said, without a lot of experience, I checked out poker forums and asked the question “what makes a good poker room?” However, to quote Paul Harvey, now, “for the rest of the story.”

Concerning the Rake:

First of all, the “rake” is the scaled commission fee taken by a card room operating a poker game. It is generally 2.5 to 10 percent of the pot in each poker hand, up to a predetermined maximum amount.  Obviously, most players prefer a lower rake %.  Low rake is sometimes switched with time charge, especially in the early mornings. Some players actually had decisive limits – 5 percent rake and a $3 maximum per hand, 10 percent with a $4 maximum is the highest that should be charged.

Second, a BBJ, “Bad Beat Jackpot” is also not preferred. What is a “bad beat jackpot”? It’s  when a poker room pays out an amount of money if a very good hand (usually Quad Eights or better) ends up losing to another hand. This “bad beat jackpot” is usually divvied up between all of the players at the table who participated in the hand that was played. In most circumstances, the loser of the hand will receive 50% of the bad beat jackpot, the winner of the hand will receive 25% and the remaining players will split the remaining 25%.  The “bad beat jackpot” accrues over time and grows based on how much rake the poker room is collecting.  The low rake combined with fewer BBJ’s are preferred.

Concerning Comfort:

Mohegan Sun Poker Room

Most players like what everyone in a casino prefers – a comfortable place to play. One player said, “The poker room exists to generate rake and the best way to generate rake is to provide an atmosphere that people enjoy. If I ran a poker room, I wouldn’t be in the “Poker” business, I would be “hosting a party and a party atmosphere” (business)…..Make the poker room fun. Hire/train competent staff because it makes the room more fun and increases your drop.”

But to most, quiet is most conducive to a comfy atmosphere. The room should be clean, good-looking, and well-lit, with nice chairs and cushions, and bathrooms.  Many players admitted they prefer a poker room with space, especially at and between the tables.

When it comes to smoking, most players seem to be changing towards a non-smoking poker room. “I ‘ve played in rooms where smoking is allowed and it’s horrible. Can’t get away from it. Your cloths smell terrible afterwards. A smoker in a no-smoking room can always take a walk to indulge but a non-smoker basically doesn’t enjoy their time playing (especially when Mr. Chimney sits down right next to you).”

Comfort can be a product of the way management enforces good etiquette and nice behavior so that everybody feels comfortable – which brings us to our next consideration, the Management of the Room.

Concerning the Management of a Poker Room:

The first part of what management controls is getting to the table.  almost unanimous was the preference for “…quick to get from waiting list to seated at a table…”

Foxwoods Resort Casino. Waiting for a game.

Every room needs someone on duty 24/7 who knows all the games who knows all the correct rulings, and is accessible to the dealers and the players. Great managers, or “floor-men,” are guys who know when to intervene and guys who know when to let the players handle their own situations.

The sign-up desk should be warm and friendly instead of ignoring its patrons, standing there politely waiting. “Greeting people poorly is a very common problem in poker rooms,” said one response. “If you aren’t a people person, don’t work the sign-up desk. Floor people should also have some people skills instead of having an assertive, officer-like attitude. A friendly person who approaches situations professionally and makes informed decisions will please more people in the long term. Correctness is most important but you can make correct decisions and still be pleasant.”  Which brings us to part four.

The Poker Room Staff

Good dealers are a must, good floor people as well and other support staff like cashiers, chip runners, wait staff etc. Everybody agrees you should have great dealers. But some people think a great dealer tells jokes and gives his sports picks, while others think a great dealer never says a word except what has to be said to call the game. Being a good dealer is not that easy – just think back to your sessions. It must be hard being a dealer for years. Dealing with lots of rude customers really much take its toll. Maintaining a smile night after night of people accusing you of giving them bad cards, etc. has to be emotionally draining.

poker dealer

Here are “good dealer traits” that were mentioned mostly:

  • Most of the dealers have been here at least 4+ years.
  • Good dealers deal a decently paced game
  • Dont talk too much
  • Know the game left and right
  • Very courteous especially to the losing players.
  • Provide a consistent experience as other dealers (which suggests better training by management)
  • Treats 1-2 (limit) players like 10-20 (limit) players. (i.e., treating all players like they’re important)

Wait staff should represent the positive aspect of the service industry. Visiting players and people on vacation expect polite and fast cocktail service.

Concerning the Games:

Poker Room at Hollywood Casino in Bangor, Maine

Poker Room at Hollywood Casino in Bangor, Maine

A lot of tables with a wide mix of games, including stud, seems to be best – games for high rollers, games for low-rollers (one player called them ‘degens‘ as in degenerates, but that’s kinda harsh!), games for hobbyists and games for the low limit players to introduce them to poker, let them learn on and move up in stakes. Good games seems to be the most imports factor, and yet the house has little control. Players who make good games tend to flock to the best run rooms. So, the clientele ultimately plays the most important part of good games. What a revelation!!!

What was lower in considerations and THE FINAL CONCLUSION

Service with a smile.

Can you believe that being treated well was more important in my findings than free food, drinks, and comps? Promotions, and all the amenities were important, but not if the place was a mess, run poorly, and made the players uncomfortable with the game.

So, my conclusion is this:

  1. Management must care and cater for its players
  2. This will attract the best clientele, raising the interest and packing it’s poker room.
  3. If the poker room is packed, then the rake will be small, with tournaments and a variety of games.

Heard this before?  Sure, SERVICE COUNTS. It’s the same old thing we have been saying for years, as we see casinos change to a business first model instead of the service / hospitality model we were used to in years past.  It’s the same for any part of the casino, not just the poker room. Happy players means repeat business of the best kind. Treat players fairly, make them feel like valued customers, and they’ll come back for more.  Simple……….too bad it’s more often a thing of the past….and that’s the rest of the story!

Binbin

Texas Hold’em Table Game – A Beginner’s Look

Today, NETimeGambling continues its series on Beginner’s Tips. Today, we look at Texas Hold’em – the casino table game.

Chris Moneymaker

Chris Moneymaker

If you recall, the big poker boom in the early 2000’s was centered around Texas Holdem Poker.  Coverage on television also fed the seemingly poker starved fans especially after Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2003 he was the first player to do so by qualifying at an online poker site. His $2,5 million dollar win had a huge effect on the growth of poker world wide. Online poker started growing immensely and Texas Holdem was now the game to play.

We turn once again turn to poker expert, Toby Bochan, from All About GamblingToby Leah Bochan is the author of The Badass Girl’s Guide to Poker, has written for Woman Poker Player Magazine, and contributed to Women’s Poker Night.

According to Toby, If you’re familiar with how to play Texas Hold’em, it should be a snap to understand & sit down and play. Here are the basic rules:

  1. To start playing, each player puts up an ante wager, and have the option of putting up a bonus jackpot wager as well.
  2. Each player and the dealer are dealt two cards, face-down. These are the hole cards.casino_holdem_345x230_1
  3. If you want to play your hand, you put down a bet that’s exactly twice the amount of your ante. In other words, if your ante bet was $5 and you want to play, you have to put down exactly $10. If you decide not to play and fold, you lose your ante bet.
  4. The dealer deals three cards face-up in the center of the table. This is also known as the flop. These three cards are community cards, meaning all players can (and will) use them to make their final five-card hand.

    texas holdem

    Community Cards for all players.

  5. Players now have the option to bet again, and can only bet the same amount as the ante (so if the ante was $5, the bet is $5 this time). Or players can check, which means they don’t bet. You don’t have to bet — you get to keep playing whether you bet or check.
  6. A fourth community card is dealt face-up. This is also known as the turn.
  7. Again, players can bet or check. The bet is again the same amount as the ante bet. This is the last opportunity for players to bet. Again, you don’t have to place a bet here to keep playing.
  8. A fifth and final community card is dealt face-up on the table. This is known as the river.
  9. The dealer turns up his/her cards and shows what the best five-card poke hand the house can make, combining the dealer’s hole cards and the community cards.
  10. Player by player, the dealer will turn over each player’s hole cards and determine the best five-card poker hand. To make the best five-card hand each player can use one, two, or none of his hole cards in combination with the five face-up community cards. The dealers are trained to pick out each player’s best hand, but you should also be able to tell what your best hand is. Make sure you know what beats what in poker.
  11. The dealer determines if the player’s hand or the dealer’s hand is higher.
  12. If the player has the higher hand, he/she wins. The house pays 1-1 on all bets, and in some cases, the ante as well
  13. If the player loses, the house takes all the bets & the ante, too.

Ultimate-Texas-HoldemUltimate Texas Hold’em, by ShuffleMaster

Ultimate Texas Hold’emSM features head-to-head play against the dealer, and a fun side bet that pays odds if the player’s final five-card hand is a Three-of-a-Kind or better.

How to Play
To begin each round, players make equal bets in the Ante and Blind circles and may also make the Trips bonus bet. Once players receive their two hole-cards, they can either check or bet three to four times their Ante.ultimate-holdem

The dealer then reveals the three-card flop. If players haven’t already made a Play bet, they can check or bet two times their Ante. The dealer then reveals the turn and the river, and if players have not already bet, they can fold or bet one times their Ante.

Next, the dealer reveals his or her two hold-cards and announces the hand. If the player’s hand beats the dealer, his or her Play and Ante bets win even money. If the dealer’s hand beats the player’s, the player’s wagers lose.

If the player’s hand ties the dealer’s hand, the player’s bets push. The Blind bet pays if the player’s winning hand is at least a Straight, but if the player beats the dealer with less than a Straight, it pushes. The dealer needs at least a pair to qualify. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, he or she returns each player’s Ante and all other bets receive action.

Poker Tournament – Join the Winter Deep Freeze Poker Challenge at Foxwoods

2017-winter-freeze-deep-freeze-with-logo

Once again, Foxwoods Resort Casino is offering a great poker tournament to go with its 25th Anniversary.  Foxwoods has long offered some of the best poker tournaments in the country as one of the leading poker rooms on the East Coast.  If you play poker, check out the schedules below.

EVENT SCHEDULE 

EVENT STRUCTURES

SATELLITE STRUCTURES  

The Casino Poker Room – Beginner’s Guide & Mistakes

people-naughty-dog-plsaying-pokerSure you play poker – at home with others.  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….”dogs-playing-poker

chris-moneymaker

Chris Moneymaker, poker player.

Those experiences don’t make you ready for the casino poker room. It takes some study. The whole poker boom ten years ago, started by Chris Moneymaker winning the World Series of Poker out of no where, gave young and old the idea of “I can do that!”

Think again.  I HAVE played those home games, and I know NOT to step foot in a poker room just yet.

So, what do you need to know about starting?  Here’s some advice – not from me, but from experts:

  1. Start low bets ($1-2, or $2-4) and limit tables.  Stay away from “no limit” at first. – Mark & Dr. Mike from their “You Can Bet on That” podcast.

    Great Podcast fpr Craps, home poker games, and all sorts of gambling advice.

    Great Podcast fpr Craps, home poker games, and all sorts of gambling advice.

  2. Bill Burton from AboutGambling.com gives the following pre-play advice – “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 where they will write your name or initials or they will write your name on a list. Either way you will be called when it is your turn.”

    One of my favorite all-time movies - "the Sting"

    One of my favorite all-time poker movies – “the Sting”

By the way, 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. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com continues to outline common mistakes. He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Bill’s Common Mistakes made by beginning poker players in poker rooms include:

Betting Out of Turn – You must wait until the player to your right acts.

Making a String Bet – 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 the bet and the raise in at the same time. 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.

cat at pokerNot Knowing What the Bet Is – You have to know what the bet is when it is your turn. You must pay attention to amount of the bet and if the bet was raised.

Folding Instead of Checking – Sometimes if the player does not like the next card dealt 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.

Throwing Chips Into the Pot – Place your bet in front of you. This way the dealer sees that your bet is correct.

pokerNot 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.

guys-playing-poker-cigarsLosing Control of Your Emotions – Keep your emotions in check. Veteran players as well as newcomers make this mistake. It is one that should not be made by anyone!

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

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

Toby Bochan, also from AllAboutGambling.com, adds:

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 hand hears, it’ll give them information that they might use to their advantage.

play-pokerIf 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, you have to turn them up for the whole table to see. After all, why should only the lucky players next to you get to know what you were holding?

I hope that helps – you as well as me.  Someday you might see me trying my luck.  I’ll be wearing my NETimeGambling.com T-Shirt!

Binbin

 

Texas Hold ’em – All Those Nicknames For Your 2-Card Hand

texasholdemNames, names names.  It’s amazing the slang used in gambling for all sorts of things. If you visit the casino, you heard the basics before:

  • Action – the amount of money a player wagers during a playing session
  • Camouflage – any action made by a skilled gambler to hide his activities from the casino.
  • Eye in the sky – refers to surveillance cameras situated on the ceilings of the casino’s gaming area.
  • Whale – a high roller

But, poker players have their own slang, jargon…..whatever you want to call it. And, Texas Hold’m leads them all.

Here’s a list of Texas Hold’em starting hands and how they got their names –  a definitive list of names that are still actually used, and the convoluted (fancy word for “what may be a lie”) story behind them.  Thanks to the work of Al Moe, here it is. Check out his Bio below his article before you leave.

acesAce-Ace –  Aces only come around about once in every 221 hands, so your really enjoy them, except when they get cracked (beaten). That’s why sometimes a player will say they had eggs, and they got scrambled. Other names for the best starting hand in the game are: pocket rockets, bullets, and the nuts.

Ace-King – Big Slick (Those Texas Boys again, when you’ve got a slick of oil coming up from the ground you are pretty happy – it’s almost as good as AA, but you ain’t got no cash yet).

Ace-Queen – Little Slick or Big Chick are the favorites, Killer Queen is a backup, because it loses to AK.

Ace-Jack – Blue Dot Cleanser (Ajax used to be in every American kitchen).

Ace-Deuce – Acey Deucy, Top and Bottom, No Field Goal (no kicker to go with the ace).

pair-of-kingsKing-King – Cowboys, King Kong, Knuckleheads (when they are played hard and lose to AA)

King-Queen – Royal Family, Marriage.

King-Jack – Kay Jay, Kojak (1970’s police show).

King-Nine – K9 (canine), Dog hand, Big Dog.

Queen-Queen – Ladies, Bitches,

Queen-Jack – Maverick (1950’s western “Living on Queens and Jacks”)

Maverick, the Tv Show, 1957 - 1963

Maverick, the Tv Show, 1957 – 1963

Queen-Ten – QT, on the QT (silently, secretly, especially since QT makes a nice straight that is often over looked).

Queen-Nine – Quinine (an early anti-malaria drug).

Queen-Seven – Computer Hand (1980’s computer simulation showed the hand to be right in the middle of all hands, a break-even hand).

Jack-Jack – Jakes, Meat hooks, Fish hooks, U-turn and 0 and 20 (never wins).

Never wins!

Never wins!

Jack-Five – Motown (Jackson Five).

jackson-five

Jackson Five

Jack-Four – Tire changer (what’s a jack for?).

Ten-Ten – Audi (Audi TT), Dynamite (say it slow,TNT).

woolworths

Woolworths Dept. Store.

Ten-Five – Woolworths Five and Dime (old stores with lots of goods for five and ten cents)

Ten-Four – CB Hand, Good Buddy, Broderick Crawford (1950’s cop show using the term 10-4 which meant “everything is alright).

Ten-Two – Doyle Brunson (who won two WSOP Championships with 10-2 on the final hand).

barbara-feldman

The original “agent 99” in Get Smart – Barbara Feldman

Nine-Nine – Barbara Feldman (Played Agent 99 on 1960’s Get Smart TV Show), Gretzky (the Great One’s hockey number).

Nine-Eight – Ninety-eight, Oldsmobile (the Old’s 98 was a hot car starting in the late 1940’s)

Nine-Five – Workday, Dolly Parton (from the movie 9 to 5), Workin’ Man (song by Merle Haggerd)

Eight-Eight – Ovals (88 looks like to race tracks), Snowmen, Dog Balls, Piano Keys (88 keys).

Eight-Six – Maxwell Smart (Agent 86 on 1960’s TV show Get Smart).

Seven-Seven – Sunset Strip (1960’s TV show 77 Sunset Strip), Crutches, Hockey Sticks, Hammers.

Seven-Six – Union Oil (old gas chain was Union 76), Independence (US – 1776.)

Worst hand.

Worst hand.

Seven-Deuce – Hammer (you’ll get hammered if you play the worst hand in Texas Hold’em), Beer Hand (you’ll be out of the game and at the bar if you play the hand).

Six-Nine – Happy Meal, Big Lick (sexual reference).

Six-Six – Kicks (1950’s Chuck Berry Song, Get your Kicks on Route 66), Hard Road

Five-Five – Sammy Hagar (sang “I can’t drive, 55), Double nickle.

Five-Two – Bomber (as in B-52)

A B-52D Stratofortress from the 93rd Bombardment Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., drops bombs. B-52Ds were modified in 1966 to carry 108, 500-lb bombs while the normal conventional payload before was only 51. (Historical U.S. Air Force photo)

A B-52D Stratofortress (Historical U.S. Air Force photo)

Four-Five – 45, Jessie James (was killed with a .45 caliber handgun).

Four-Four – Handgun, Magnum, Dirty Harry (1970’s Movies with Clint Eastwood, who used a .44 caliber Magnum handgun).

Three-Nine – Jack Benny (who always said he was 39 years old).

Three-Three – Craps (they look like ’em), short route (half of route 66).

Three-Ace – Baskin Robbins (31 flavors of ice cream).download

Two-Nine – Twiggy (1960’s fashion model who was thin).

Two-Four – Lumber Number (a two-by-four piece of wood).

Two-Two – Ducks, Quackers,

There are others, but those are the popular ones.  Who knew playing Texas Hold’em had so many names for your two card hand.  I’m still getting confused over Flop, Turn and River!

Binbin

Special thanks to Al Moe for his many contributions to all levels of gamblers over the years. Moe is the author of Vegas and the Mob and has written for Gambling Times/Poker Player, Pokernews.com and Casino and Gaming Chips Magazine. His love for casinos and the history of gambling are only exceeded by the thrill he gets learning new casino games and his desire to teach new players how to get the most for their money at the casino. He writes the very fun & informative AboutCasinoGambling.com  which is a great resource for some of the simplest or hardest questions you may have, and everything in between.  Do yourself a favor and check his archives out.

New Hampshire Adds a New…….Casino?

New HampshireNETime Gambling has not covered gambling in New Hampshire. Why, because getting casino gambling in the Granite State has been on again, off again since the blog was started some four years ago.  Who knew, under the radar, there was a secret in New Hampshire that most us didn’t know!

Well, we did, but on such a small scale that it seemed unimportant.  But, while lawmakers refuse to join the New England Casino Expansion race, gambling is still growing in the Granite State.

downloadA casino facility has just opened in Nashua. Jennifer Currier’ article on NH1.com entitled “Gambling Expands in NH with New Nashua Casino” describes the opening, and how this new casino would be the 10th gambling property in New Hampshire.  The new Nashua, NH casino, The Boston Billiard Club & Casino, says it will include 15 poker tables alongside five pit games including roulette, blackjack, Mississippi Stud, Let it Ride and more (Doesn’t seem like a home poker to me) in accordance with the Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission.  Click on the link above for more info.

Hampton Falls Poker Room, New Hampshire

Hampton Falls Poker Room, New Hampshire

Previously, NETG posted it’s first look into New Hampshire’s poker rooms in Poker Update – Healthy in the Northeast, Including New Hampshire?.  At the time, it looked like similar operations to California’s Poker Rooms before Casino Gambling was allowed, only on a much smaller scale. But now offering Blackjack & Roulette as well?  How does this happen in a state without the legislature legalizing casino gambling?

According to CasinoCity.com, “charitable gaming in New Hampshire includes poker, bingo, Lucky 7, raffles, games of chance and card rooms. The only form of legal electronic bingo gaming is handheld electronic bingo cards. Bingo, and Lucky 7 have been legal in New Hampshire since 1949 and games of chance since 1977.”

rockingham_logo

When Rockingham Racing ended, a void was filled with more charitable casinos.

The New Hampshire Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission is responsible for the enforcement of applicable laws and regulations of charity games. In 2011, HB348 was signed into law by the governor. This legislation requires primary game operators conducting games of chance to use video monitoring in all areas where money is handled, including table games and the cash office. Also, language was included to make it a felony to defraud charities of any monies legally due from charitable gaming.

Here’s the basics:

  • 55% of the revenue generated by these facilities goes to operating and management costs
  • 10% is paid back to the state
  • the remaining 35% gets donated to local charities.
  • Players are limited to any single of $4. Poker is a bit more complicated, with a $5 cap per hand, and each player cannot put more than $500 into the pot.
  • Players keep their winnings.
The new Nashua casino opens in 5 days.

The new Nashua casino opens in 5 days.

It seems gambling is alive in New Hampshire and growing.  But don’t think this will lead to legalized gambling and a casino or two.  The legislature understands that adding legalized casinos with all the fixings would compromise the Charity Gambling Law in NH, with many needy charities loosing out to the new legislature, most likely due to casinos demanding that the law in changed or stopped in the interest of the brick-and-mortar casinos.

So, maybe New Hampshire is content just the way it is – for now.

That’s all for now.

Binbin