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.

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:




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!