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, 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 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 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, 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 T-Shirt!



Texas Hold ’em 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

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

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


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).


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).downloadTwo-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!


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, 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  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. – Great Site for Beginners and Fanatics

Poker 2I have been following “pokernews” on Twitter for some time.  Every day there is a seemingly new post that interests various levels of poker players.  They call themselves “The #1 source for poker news, reviews, live reporting, videos, and game strategy.” After following them, I believe it – and it’s worldwide. But, visiting the resources provided at the website is even more exhilarating.

They also include:

  • Live Reporting of Tournaments with streaming from all over the world.
  • Up-to-the-minute News Stories
  • Videos, ranging from coverage of after-Tournament Parties at Monte Carlo
    Lynn Gilmartin  of PokerNews  gives lives and video-taped coverage of tournaments and poker players from around the world.

    Lynn Gilmartin of PokerNews gives lives and video-taped coverage of tournaments and poker players from around the world. Here, in Australia.

    (Europe) to basic strategy to WSOP Tour coverage

  • Poker Rooms covering online and mapping American Poker Rooms.
  • Following the most important players of the time, their tweets, and their rankings.

It is an awesome some for any poker enthusiast or advantage player.

Poker Black Friday - the end for most online poker sites at the time.

Poker Black Friday – the end for most online poker sites at the time.

They also provide Popular posts of the week and month.  One of last month’s popular posts, for example, was concerning the day everything changed as far as online poker in the United States is concerned – Black Friday, April 15th, 2011. On that date, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed a 52-page indictment against top executives of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker, as well as a civil complaint against those companies. Those named in the indictment faced years in prison while the civil complaint sought $3 billion in assets from the sites. PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker immediately stopped serving U.S. players.  Here’s the link below:

Black Friday: Reliving Poker’s Darkest Day Five Years Later

So is a must resource for ALL poker players.  It will be added to the Gambling resources links in our side bar.