The Casino Poker Room – Beginner’s Guide


Sure 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….”That’s why you need to read The Casino Poker Room – Beginner’s Guide.


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. 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!”

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


Chris Moneymaker, poker player.

The Casino Poker Room – Advice Time

So, what do you need to know about starting?  Here’s some advice from experts:

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 for Craps, home poker games, and all sorts of gambling advice.

Bill Burton from 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. Bill is the inspiration for The Casino Poker Room – Beginner’s Guide. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for 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 Burton’s Common Beginner’s Mistakes 

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 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.

Careful with those chips

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

Advice from Toby Bochan, also from

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 T-Shirt!


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.


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…………………………………”


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


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. 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. & 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:

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!