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Poker Lessons?

Discussion in 'The Poker Room' started by MikeOPensacola, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. MikeOPensacola

    MikeOPensacola El Jefe

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    Does anyone know if any casinos on the strip or downtown offer poker lessons like they do for table games? I’d like to learn how to play and become acquainted with the table etiquette. Thanks...
     
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  2. cha4zz

    cha4zz Tourist

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    I'm not 100% sure on lessons but my best recommendation would be to have a go at one of the lowest stake tournaments that are run. Not sure if I can link to an external website but this site is amazing for upcoming tournaments.

    Best way to learn is to have a go at a couple of the cheaper tournaments for say $60 and go from there.
     
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  3. El Jugador

    El Jugador Low-Roller

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    To get you started on the road to professional gambler-caliber skills, we've put together a list of casinos that offer gaming classes.

    Boulder Station: Poker on Thursdays at 3 p.m.

    Circus Circus: Blackjack daily at 10:30 a.m.; roulette daily at 11:30 a.m.; craps daily at 12:30 p.m.

    Excalibur: Poker daily at 11 a.m.; roulette daily at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.; blackjack daily at 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; craps daily at 12:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

    Golden Nugget: Poker daily at 10 a.m.; craps daily at 10 a.m.; Pai Gow daily at 10:30 a.m.; roulette daily at 11:30 a.m.; blackjack daily at noon.

    Luxor: Poker daily at 10 a.m.; roulette, craps and blackjack all daily at noon.

    Mandalay Bay: Poker daily at 2 p.m.

    MGM Grand: Poker daily at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

    The Palazzo and The Venetian: Craps on Mondays - Fridays at 11 a.m.; blackjack on Mondays - Fridays at 11:30 a.m.

    South Point: Craps on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:15 a.m. and Saturdays at 11:15 a.m.

    Stratosphere : Poker on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 - 9 a.m.
     
    Staying somewhere other than an MGM property for once....
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  4. 18000rpm

    18000rpm Low-Roller

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  5. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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    A little outdated, as Luxor, Mandalay Bay and The STRAT no longer offer a poker room.
     
    Poker is BACK!!!
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  6. zignerlv

    zignerlv VIP Whale

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    And, as for the others, I would verify by calling the casino to verify before assuming this pre covid list is accurate and heading over to attend one of these.
     
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  7. LuckyDuckyDan

    LuckyDuckyDan Low-Roller

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    If we're ever in town together, I'd be happy to show you the ropes. I agree with the others that it comes quick if you just sit down and give it a try. Personally, I'd go for a low-stakes limit cash game (not no-limit), but I'm not a big tournament person.

    I can probably get you most of the way there on rules/etiquette in a hopefully not-too-long post:

    Both Limit Hold'em and No-Limit Hold'em starts with every person getting two cards. There are two forced bets - the small blind is the person to the left of the dealer button and the big blind is the person to the left of the small blind. The action then starts on the next person in the first round and then ends with the person who has the dealer button. At the end of every hand, the dealer button moves one hand to the left. So the previous big blind is now the small blind and the previous small blind is now the button.

    In limit hold 'em, the small blind is half of the small bet (rounded down, if needed) and the big blind is one full small bet. The blinds in a $3/6 limit game are $1 and $3. In no-limit hold 'em, the blinds are indicated in the game stakes. The blinds are $1 and $2 in a $1/2 no-limit game.

    Know when it's your turn and take your action - You're certainly allowed to think about your action when it's your turn, but try not to waste everyone's time by staring off into the distance, lost in your music if you're wearing headphones, watching TV, reading the paper, etc. Also, don't act before it's your turn. Even folding your cards that you know are garbage ahead of it being your turn changes the dynamic of what someone ahead of you might do.

    Push your chips out in one motion or speak your action out loud - There is a line that goes around most poker tables. Anything you do on the felt between you and that line is your business. Anything you push out over that line is (well, should be.. dealers sometimes give latitude here) a live bet. You get one motion to push your chips out. If you put some chips out and then reach back for more and do more, that's called a "string bet" and not allowed. You'll be held to the chips that you moved in your first motion. If you speak out loud and say, "Raise to 40," your verbal bet is binding. You can put $40 out there in however many motions it takes you. Voice takes precedence over chips, so if you say "Raise to 40," and you put $35 out, you'll be required to add a chip to make it 40.

    In limit hold'em, your bets must conform to the limits. In a 3/6 limit game, the pre-flop and flop bets are in increments of 3 (first bet is 3. A raise can only go to 6. A re-raise to 9). The turn and river bets are in increments of 6. In most rooms, if there are more than 2 people remaining in a pot, the bet can only be raised to 4x the limit. So pre-flop/flop, the max would be $12 and turn/river it would be $24. If it's just two people remaining, that limit is waived and you can go as high as you want... $3 or $6 at a time.

    In no-limit hold'em, your bets must be at least the big blind. In a 1/2 no-limit game, you must bet at least $2. You can bet up to any amount you have on the table (betting everything you have is being "all in"). You cannot add more money mid-hand. Any raise after an initial bet must be at least the amount of the last bet/raise. If the first bet is 10 and someone raises to 25, your options are that you can fold, call 25 or raise to 40 - the last raise was from 10 -> 25 = 15; so your raise must be the current bet of 25 + the last raise of 15.

    Show your cards after the final round of betting if you made the last aggressive action - The person who bet/raised last (not called) is required to show their cards first. Just do it. You either win or lose. Don't waste time. Also, unless you are absolutely 100% sure that you are not the winner, show your cards face up at the end. If you show your cards, the dealer is forced to consider them. If you abandon them face down, you are giving up the pot - even if your hand is better. We've all misread a pot - it happens... and it makes you feel like trash. Save yourself the pain.

    Tip the dealer if you win - Most poker dealers keep their own tips. Throw them (at least) a dollar after every pot you win. For low-stakes limit, there should be no need to tip a dealer more than a dollar. For even low-stakes no-limit, I'll throw more at a dealer if I win a big pot. People disagree with that, but whatever.

    Obviously, in tournaments, you don't (and can't) tip. Typically the winners will throw a few bucks the dealers way or the tournament structure will have a few dollars earmarked for the crew.

    Without talking strategy, that's about 80% of what you need to know from a etiquette/mechanics perspective. Pay attention to when it's your turn. Make a decision. Make an action. Turn your cards over when it's done. Tip the dealer. Congrats, you're now better than 1/3 of the locals who show up every day.

    Edit: Added the word 'pain' to complete the sentence at the end of the 'show your cards' paragraph.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
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  8. MikeOPensacola

    MikeOPensacola El Jefe

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    Thanks @LuckyDuckyDan. :clap::clap::clap: That’s exactly the kind of information regarding mechanics of the game and etiquette that I’m hoping to learn. I’m looking forward to giving it a go when I’m out there in June.
     
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  9. Flowers

    Flowers VIP Whale

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    I remember when my brother @Champster1 and I took poker lessons at Luxor, it must have been 2 decades ago. Great class and then it was followed by some practice sessions and I remember playing in a small buy-in tournament. Good times.
     
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  10. LuckyDuckyDan

    LuckyDuckyDan Low-Roller

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    You bet! Always happy to show people the ropes. I love poker and want more people to play!

    One more etiquette thing. This only applies to cash games.

    If a hand is started and everyone at the table folds pre-flop to the blinds, most casinos will allow you to "chop," and basically abandon the hand. The idea is that it's rarely profitable to play heads up against the casino's rake. Both blinds would agree to this. Then they would both fold their cards and take their money back. The button moves to the left (where the small blind was) and the next hand begins, with the big blind becoming the small blind and a new big blind to his left.

    Note that this must be agreed to, but is considered gentlemanly to do - even if you have a good hand. That said, if either blind does not want to chop, the hand continues to play out in the normal way, with action on the small blind to call the standing bet (the big blind), raise, or fold.

    Generally speaking, if you don't agree to chop the one time you have pocket AA, you should not expect anyone else to agree to chop with you in your session. Chop once, chop all. Or don't chop once, don't chop all.

    The blinds cannot chop if any other player has action to the pot - a single person calling takes away the chop option. You cannot chop at any other point than the blinds' actions on the pre-flop betting round.

    Some rooms (particularly the nugget) have promotions for 4-of-a-kind and players will want to run it down if they have a pocket pair to see if they can hit their quad. Ideally they'll ask you to call and then just throw you your one bet back to you if/when they miss but win the pot. Sometimes that happens... sometimes it doesn't. Most do because they always want to see the board to get a quad and don't want to take away their chances at doing so.
     
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  11. Michael Smith

    Michael Smith VIP Whale

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    I would think simply playing one of the online games like WPT would increase your skills. I've become a much better player that way, although there is definitely a significant difference in playing online with anonymous competitors and actually being at a table with humans who have various idiosyncrasies.
     
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  12. LuckyDuckyDan

    LuckyDuckyDan Low-Roller

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    Playing "free" poker is a waste of time in terms of learning strategy. People do mind numbingly stupid things when the game is devoid of value.

    Even if you're playing $0.01/$0.02 NL poker at Bovada/Ignition for a $2 buy in, that's worlds better than free poker.
     
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  13. booker

    booker VIP Whale

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    @LuckyDuckyDan, excellent advice and explanations.

    Mike, a few years ago playing at a Rio's regularly scheduled tournament during the WSOP, a man and his 21 year-old son on the boy's birthday entered their first tournament. The boy and his father were killing it. I got hot against his son with a couple of hands and busted him. Dad at the other table knocked out my friend with his pocket Aces. Dad was killing the table. I made it to the final table and set next to his left and eventually also got knocked out by Dad when he again had pocket Aces.

    He was such a nice guy and couldn't believe his luck. I hope that he won as he had a huge chip lead when I left.

    Like @LuckyDuckyDan, I would be happy to meet with you if the stars align and talk poker and play in a low level tournament (or even my limit! for a bit) with you.
     
    Tentative for WSOP & Super Senior event
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  14. Packbacker

    Packbacker Low-Roller

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    Great advice so far. As with anything if you have questions ask the dealer. They are there to help and to control the game.

    a few other additions:
    1 player per hand. Don't advise the player next to you on what to do, announce what you folded, etc. after the hand is over you can discuss it.

    English only at the table (to prevent collusion) during active play.

    Protect your cards. You and you alone are able to protect your hand. Don't lift the cards off the table and do place something as easy as a chip on top of them to prevent them from being fouled by another player or mucked by the dealer. As was said earlier turn them up at the end unless you are 100% sure you lost.....I've won a few pots that way with a hand i didn't read correctly (alcohol may have been involved).
     
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  15. MikeOPensacola

    MikeOPensacola El Jefe

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    Thanks gang, so much great information and advice. :clap: :clap: :clap:

    @booker and @LuckyDuckyDan, thanks for the offer of showing me the ropes. I’d definitely like to meet you guys and learn about hold ‘em.

    That brings up another question. Is it okay, or frowned upon and not allowed, for me to sit with a friend at a table with few players and have them kind of explain things to me if I’m not playing? Or, should I just buy in for a small amount at a lows stakes limit game and tell the dealer and players that it’s my first time playing and might need some help with the flow of the game?
     
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  16. Packbacker

    Packbacker Low-Roller

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    pre-covid sitting behind a friend was fine as long as you didn't discuss the hand while it was going on. Nowadays my guess is it would be frowned upon.
     
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  17. Basil

    Basil VIP Whale

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    A few things I wish I had known- some of this may be too detailed and may not come up at all, but having heard this will make it a bit more familiar if it comes up:
    • When you walk into the poker room, there will generally be a screen showing what games are being played, and a list of names/initials waiting for the game (or the phrase "open" or something along those lines. You may also see "interest" next to the name of the game, although those are generally larger games that shows the names/initials of people who want to play that game. For example, here's a picture I found from the bellagio:
    poker wait list.jpg
    The name of the game is on top (1-3 NL Holdem, no limit holdem with a $1 small blind, and a $3 big blind). Underneath are the table numbers that have the game (don't worry about that at this point). Instead of the table numbers, that is where "interest" would show if it was an interest list. The little blue icon next to some of the names is a phone icon- that player called ahead to be put on the list. They will need to check in first, then they will take their place in the line. So, in this example, Brett would be the next player to be called for a seat, unless John R shows up and checks in before the seat is called.
    • Once you've decided which game you want to play, go up to the desk and let the floorman know which game you want to play. If there's a wait list, give your name/initials as well. For example, "Could I get on the 1-3 list for Mike P"
    • There will be a cashier cage in or right next to the poker room. You should get your first buy in from the cage. If you're playing 1-2 or 1-3 NL, you should get reds or nickels. Some limit games will have specific chips, so let the cage know which game you're going to be playing, and they should give you the appropriate denomination. (for example, some 3-6 limit games will play with $3 chips)
    • If there is no wait list and you are seated right away, or if you need to rebuy while at the table, then once a hand at the table is finished, place your money on the betting line. Either the dealer will make change for you, or they will call a chip runner. If they call a chip runner, the dealer may announce to the table how much you're playing until the chips show up. For example "$100 behind in seat 3" means the player in seat 3 actually has $100 in chips even if you don't see them. The dealer will keep track of the action, and if the hand wraps up before you get your chips, then you may have to give chips to the winner of the hand once they show up. So again, as an example, you were playing 1-2, someone raised it to $10 and you called. After the flop, you fold, but don't actually have the $10 in chips. The dealer will keep track of this, and once your chips show up, you would give $10 to the winner of the hand.
    • You may be asked if you want to post (not as common in Vegas as it is in other parts of the country). Posting is putting in a big blind in order to get in the game, even if it's not your turn for the big blind. For example, the button may be on the person to your left. That's the furthest you can be from the big blind. In order to get a hand, you will need to put in a big blind, which you can either do now, and you'll get a hand, or you can wait until your "natural" big blind and post then. For your first time, I'd suggest waiting, and observe the table until it's your big blind to get a little more comfortable. If you are sitting down in your natural big blind, then you may not have the choice. If you are sitting in what would normally be the small blind, you'll be given the option to "buy the button". This means you pay both the small blind and big blind in order to get a hand right away (so, in a 1-2 game, you're putting up $3). This allows you to play the button on the next hand. Again, as a first timer, I'd suggest declining and waiting for your natural big blind
    • Other games that don't require posting will give you a hand right away. If you're within a hand or two of the big blind, they may ask if you want a hand or want to wait. In this case, waiting would be waiting for the blinds to pass you, so you can come in next to the button and have that many "free" hands before you need to put up a blind. Again,for the first time, you may want to say that you'll wait
    • A few things about betting and this one is VERY important: verbal is binding. Whatever is said "call, fold, all in, etc." is binding. And it's whatever you say first. That whole TV things of "I'll call your $5 and raise you $10" is BS. In any cardroom, that's a call, because it's the first thing you said. (the reason is to avoid angle shooting, otherwise you could say "I'll call your $5" then see your opponent make a face and add "and raise you $10"). In the end, just clearly announce what you want to do. "Raise to $20" or "Call" etc. Then put out the appropriate amount of chips. This way if you mess up the actual mechanics of the bet, you've already verbalized, so you're good. Also, be careful of casual conversation with poker terms when the action is on you. You may be saying something about how you should have called on the last hand, but if the dealer hears you say "call" that may be considered binding, even if it wasn't meant as an action.
    • If you are going to push chips forward instead of verbalizing, it must be done in one motion. For example, if you have 2 stacks of $100 each, and you want to bet $200, you need to move both of those stacks forward together. If you don't, you may be called for a "string" bet, and only the first motion will be considered valid (so if you moved one stack forward, then went back to move the other stack, only the first stack would count). If you verbalized "$200" first, then you don't have to worry about this, and can do this in as many moves as needed since the verbal is binding
    • Stack your chips in piles of 20- so for $5 chips, in $100 piles. This is the standard, and while not everyone does it (unfortunately), it makes it easier for everyone, including yourself, to know how much you are playing. Also, any large chips ($25 or $100s at a 1-2 game) need to be in the front or on top of your stack so everyone can see them. No hiding chips to make people think you have less than you have
    • No "going south" or "ratholing" or 20 other terms for it. Basically, whatever chips you have in play are in play until you leave the table. If you're doing really well and want to take $XX off the table to lock in a win, you can't do that. Taking a couple of dollars off your stack to tip the cocktail waitress, though, is fine.
    I'm sure I'll think of more, and sorry this was way longer than I thought it would be when I started. And this sounds like a lot, but really it's pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Also, dealers will be very helpful, as will most other players(sadly, not all of them)- but any time you're not sure of something, just ask the dealer. You're not the first first-timer at a poker table, and you won't be the last :)
     
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  18. MikeOPensacola

    MikeOPensacola El Jefe

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    Great stuff @Basil, thanks. :clap: :clap: :clap:
     
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  19. puttputtfc

    puttputtfc Low-Roller

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    This will depend largely where you decide to play. Golden Nugget and South Point seem to be more flexible at the low limit games and the players may not mind. Orleans, Red Rock and Boulder tend to draw more experienced, grumpier players who would not allow this at all. You should seek out a low-limit limit game as no limit will be an expensive etiquette lesson.

    If I may add to Packbacker's advice, never discuss anything about a hand while it's in play especially if you don't have a hand. New players tend to blurt out "Flush!" when the fourth heart hits or "Everyone has the nuts" if Broadway is on the board. Don't do that.
     
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  20. spdandpwr

    spdandpwr VIP Whale

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    @MikeOPensacola let's hit up a 1/3 game at the Encore -- if we go late enough, people will be cool with us talking about it. The biggest thing about poker is not trying to get action in every hand. I know a lot of newbies that limp into every hand and hope to qualify on the flop: that's a losing strategy

    Also, we're in town when @Marky147 is in town...he's a poker pro as far as I'm concerned
     
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