The internet is the best learning ground for a new player but eventually you’ll want to take the plunge and give live poker a try. Here’s some top tips for the first time you try it…
1) Do not be intimidated: it was everyone’s first live game at some point. That being said if you can, then go with a friend.
2) Always protect your cards: as far as we know a virtual dealer has never erroneously mucked a player’s hand, but it happens reasonably frequently in live poker. This advice is particularly important if you’re in the seat either side of the dealer so get into a routine of capping your cards with a chip everytime you get pitched your second card.
3) Don’t take your cards off the table: In most cards games that you play at home – think rummy – you hold your cards in your hands at all time. Do this in poker and not only will your neighbours get a peak at your cards but you’ll stick out like a sore thumb. Our preferred method is this: turn the cards horizontally towards you, cup two hands over them and peering downwards peel the edge of them upwards one card at a time.
4) Verbalise your bets: To avoid getting angle shot by more experienced and dare we say, regulars, always announce how much you’re betting rather than simply dropping chips across the line. And if you’re calling say ‘call’. This will stop you performing what’s known as a string bet.
5) Follow the action: Online you know when it’s on you, you either get a little sound warning, or the table pops to the front. There’s none of that slick software live so make sure you follow what’s going on and know when the action is on you.
6) Don’t talk about a hand you just folded: One of the biggest etiquette faux pas a newcomer can make is to react to a hand that’s still going on when he’s already folded. For instance if you fold pocket twos and the flop comes 2-2-A the urge to nudge your neighbour or sigh in disgust is palpable. But don’t do it. If you’re not in the hand you’re not in the room is a good maxim to go by.
7) Talk to people: One of the best ways to get accepted at the table is to talk to your opponents, not about strategy but about who you are and why you’re there so take those headphones out. It might even work in your favour down the line, players will sometime mark marginal folds, instead of calls, if they like the cut of your jib.
8) Lose with grace: On the internet no one can hear you curse when you get three-outed for the umpteenth time that day, in the live environment they certainly can. If you take a bad beat just tap the table, stay quiet or fake a ‘nice hand sir’ comment.
9) Win with grace: The only thing people dislike more than a sore loser is an ungracious winner. So resist the urge to do a double fist pump when your hand gets there/holds in a big pot. Save your energy for stacking your chips.
10) Practice riffling chips: One of the giveaway tells that a player hasn’t played much live poker is how they handle chips. Riffling is the simplest chip trick out there and you can practice at your desk or even in the takeaway shop with some pound coins.
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