A Guide to Playing Poker for the First Time


The borders show two very important things: how much money do you need and with which opponents you are confronted.

A good rule of thumb for a first bankroll is 20 times the “big bet”. So if you played 3/6 Hold’em, you should go shopping for $120. You can buy chips from a cashier, or a companion will bring you to the table.

Low-limit games are usually populated by locals who play very conservatively. You’ll find these games mostly in downtown and off-strip poker rooms like Binion’s and Palace Station. There is not much action and the rooms are not very inviting.

High-limit and no-limit games (15/30 and up) are the realm of professionals “rounders” who live off poker. The Bellagio is Las Vegas’ leading high-limit space. If you can not count on thousands of gastric losses or have a lot of poker experience, you should avoid these games best.

The best bet for the casual player is the low to medium limit. These games offer a beautiful environment and players with different experiences, who turn into friendly games with lots of action.

If you have decided on a game, make sure you plan a lot of time. The waiting time can sometimes take over an hour.

The game itself also requires a lot of time. Despite what you see on TV, most of your time is spent mucking your cards.

The good news is that your money will last a long time. Only the two players immediately to the left of the dealer must each ante a hand: a “small blind” equal to half the lower betting limit and a “big blind” equal to the lower limit. A full table has 10 players. Even if you fold each hand in a round, it costs 1.5 times the lower limit: $ 6 in a 4/8 game. 10 bad hands on a blackjack table will cost you $ 100 in a fraction of the time.

There are, however, a few other casino costs to consider.

In return for the safe environment, fair gaming and free drinks, the poker room charges a commission called “rake”. This is usually a percentage of each pot up to a specified maximum. In the 2/4 game at Binion, the rake was 10% up to a maximum of $4. The house always wins, or at least when you do.

The traders rely on tips for a large part of their income. Although not mandatory, 3% of your winnings are considered standard.

If you do not have time for all the moaning and harking and just want a short shot of No Limit Hold’em excitement, tournaments are the way to go. In tournaments, you can play with a lot more chips than you could otherwise afford. Use a fast-growing blind structure to accelerate the action and give you the chance to win thousands of dollars.

For $130 to $330, players get $500- $750 in tournament chips and play until someone has them all. If less than 50 people participate, the first 5 finishers share the purse. if more than 50, the top 9.

If that sounds like too much risk for the 50 other players, you will appear in the poker room at 1 o’clock to sign up for a satellite. These one-table mini-tournaments last about an hour and are the best poker value in Vegas. For $35 to $75, 10 players will receive tournament chips worth $300, and the two best will win a seat at the main event of the night.