“These two have no idea what they’re about to walk into. Down here to have a good time, they figure ‘why not give poker a try?’ After all, how different can it be from the home game they’ve played their whole lives?”
–Matt Damon as Mike McDermott in “Rounders”
For the majority of us, our first experience with poker was nowhere near a casino. It was either through family members or friends in home games, or played online in the phenomenon. However, the thought of playing in a brick and mortar (B&M) gambling establishment, along with all the accompanying visuals and sound, can be attractive to many. So what do you need to know when transferring your home or online sexygaming skills to playing in a casino? There are many differentiators between online and B&M games, however two elements you’ll be thinking about are tellings and the casino type.
- Tells The main concern most people are faced with when transitioning across the internet to B&M play regards tells. Tells are an action a player performs that can provide opponents with an indication of his intentions for example, placing a hand on the face when you are bluffing. Online, since the players can’t see your face telling them physically, physical tells don’t necessarily a problem (there are online tells, but that is beyond the topic for this post). In fact, a popular poker site runs an advertising campaign where they invite those players who have the “bad poker face” to sign up, since nobody will be able to see your face online. In the movie “Rounders,” quoted at the beginning of this article, the main character is ruined by the way that he treats an Oreo cookie based on whether or not he holds an enormous hand. In reality Tells aren’t always as in the extreme. Most of the time when you’re playing at a casino and especially one that is a “tourist” casino (see following) the players tend to be more concerned about the cards they hold more than what you’re playing. If an opponent is watching you, staring you down when they are contemplating a bet the majority of them are just thinking about the value of their own hand. The art of telling requires long and careful analysis of a player’s habits as you’re unlikely to divulge much information about one hand. Professionals prefer to appear as if they can just look right into your soul and know which hand you’re holding, however there’s a lot more to it than this. If you’re concerned, you could purchase reflective sunglasses to wear so no one is able to see what you’re looking at. You may also decide to keep a set amount of time (five or ten seconds) before deciding whether your hand is strong or not that strong. Pick an appropriate spot on the table to watch while you wait for someone to take note of your move.
- Type of Casino Every casino is not equally. A decade ago, prior the boom in popularity of poker many casinos didn’t have a poker space at all or at best, a small section of the blackjack floor was divided away from where three or two games with a limit of $1-$2 could take place. Of course, things are different today, however there are still distinct kinds of casinos that one might be able to play poker. The first is one called a Card Club. These are most commonly found in locations like California where poker as a game of chance is legal, however some other games that involve gambling aren’t. While they’ve expanded to other games, these clubs are primarily intended to be used for playing poker. Therefore, you’re likely to see the most experienced poker players here but not necessarily the best. They also are a popular destination for tourists too. The most popular type of casino is a Las Vegas Style Casino. These casinos have made a fortune with slot machines, blackjack and roulette and did not concentrate on poker in the past as it’s not a huge profit-maker for casinos. Unlike the other games, which are played against each other and the House (the gambling) and are designed in a way to ensure the House always wins in the long run, poker is a game which allows casinos to earn money by taking a small percentage of the container (called “the rake,” generally no less than $4 per pot) to themselves. While it is not common, some casinos employ “time” instead of a”rake,” which means that every half an hour, a representative of the casino walks around and collects a predetermined amount of money from every participant in the game. Of these Las Vegas Style Casinos, you will find what I call Poker Casinos vs. Tourist Casinos. They are a Poker Casino is one that has always included poker as part of its attraction. It includes The Bellagio as well as The Mirage in Las Vegas and the Taj Mahal and Borgata in Atlantic City. The Tourist Casino includes one the casinos which did not have any poker facilities until the recent boom , which made it a worthwhile a draw to get players to their casinos. Of course both of these kinds of casinos are geared towards tourists, however the Poker Casinos are where you are more likely to meet professional players. Which one you prefer is up to you to choose. The foremost thing to remember is that no matter if it’s in a casino or online it’s poker. Play a smart game and you should rake in the chips, whether they’re real or made from clay.