@IIIII, @Psychonication, @tuckercat
I played live in the Barcelona Casino five days a week from the middle of October to the middle of December last year (2011). Assuming it hasn't changed much in 5 months, their standard is:
- Four live tables NLHE, (1/2 max buy-in 200, 2/4 max buy-in 400, 5/10 max buy-in unlimited). Sun-Thu inclusive there will be two tables 1/2, one table 2/4, one table 5/10. Fri/Sat they do not have any 1/2 tables, and the lowest limit is 2/4 (higher limit unchanged)
- Two live tables PLO (from memory 1/2 and 5/10, but I don't play PLO so cannot be completely sure on this: the higher limit is definitively correct)
- One poker machine 1/2 max buy-in 200, available every day. The poker machine is essentially the same as playing on-line there is no dealer
The mix of limits does change a little depending on demand, but very rarely. All tables are nine-handed, but when you get down to about 4 players they'll start to merge tables.
The advertised rake on live tables is 5% upto 2/4 and 2.5% on 5/10. I think there is a maximum rake but I cannot remember what it is, for the lower limits you (almost) never hit it, so it doesn't come into play too much. In practice the rake is a little less than 5% because they only take 1 for every 20 put in the pot. So, as an example, if the pot is 20-39 the rake is still 1. Having written that, the effective rake is conversely inflated in large pots because there is a custom that when you win a big pot you tip the dealer a couple of euros.
The rake on the poker machine is 4%, and this is applied to the whole pot so long as a flop is seen (mimicking the online experience).
One caveat with the poker machine when I was playing there the poker machine was new and being trialled: the rake started off at 3%. I haven't been there for a few months so they may have changed it again (or they may have introduced more machines, or removed the one they had I don't know).
You will need your passport to enter the casino. It's free to enter the section where the slots and automated roulette machines are. To enter where the card games are (including poker), a day pass is about 5, a month pass ~40, and there is an annual pass too. No dress code within reason (so, for example, trainers are OK, but swimming trunks are not).
I was going to write about how you actually get onto a live table, but this post is getting rather long. If interested, request it in this thread and I'll write about it. Expect about an hour wait though, rising to two hours or more if you are unlucky.
I played 1/2, 2/4 and the games were incredibly weak. There are some Spanish regs, about half of whom are solid and half of whom are very bad. The rest is made up of drifters from the roulette, black jack, and punto blanco tables; youngish guys who have seen poker on TV and want to have a go (lots of these on Thu, Fri, Sat nights buying-in for the minimum, waiting for a decent hand for about 30mins, getting bored and shoving with KJo); plus the odd foreign reg like me.
Before I played live, I had been playing NL100 online successfully, having worked up from NL4. I found the transition difficult. Bluffs that work at NL100 were called down at live NL200. For example, I'd be called down over 3 streets by villain with 99 on board of KKJT3, including him calling a 3bet pre
. I would say that live NL200 is even worse than online NL4. If you are in a pot HU with a reg who also knows you are a reg, then you might want to venture a bluff. However NEVER BLUFF AN UNKNOWN: instead we're value-betting 3 streets with TPTK. I lost several stacks this way because every now and then I'd slip back into online NL100 habits. Eventually I found I could not play online NL100 and live NL200+ successfully because the standards were so antithetical. My online NL100 habits were bad for my live NL200+ habits, and vice-versa. So for about 8 weeks I played live exclusively and that was very profitable. I'd have played at 5/10 in a heartbeat if I had the bankroll for it.
Sorry for length of post, pm/reply in thread if any questions.