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Old 02-24-2013, 05:40 PM   #1
BlatantlyObvious
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Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

Hello all!

I lurk around the forums when I have free time and I have done enough reading to appreciate the thought and knowledge that circulates the boards.

My buddy and I are planning on driving a few hours to the closest card room in Pensacola, FL (the Pensacola Greyhound Track).

I've played NLHE online and last summer I once found myself in a smokey cardroom while I was studying in Austria, but that has been my only live poker experience thus far (and it was in a different language!).

Naturally I'd like to make the most out of our trip, so I've come to you, oh knowledgeable peers, in search of the things that you wish you'd known about playing live before you got started. Table manners? How to deal with other people? Dos and don'ts? Things to avoid? I'm all ears!

Thanks.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:24 PM   #2
browser2920
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

IMO, the single most important thing you can do is treat everyone at the table (players and dealers) with respect, even when they don't treat you with respect. If someone berates you for "bad play" don't get into an argument with them, don't let your ego get involved and feel you have to defend your honor, etc. Just say something like "you're right, I got lucky" or "I'm such a donkey". If you take a horrible bad beat, simply say "nice hand" and nothing else. Everyone will know it was a bad beat, or the guy made a crazy call. You don't have to point it out to them.

The others at the table will respect you even more for not engaging the table jerk and killing the mood at the table. No one wins an argument at a poker table. So don't bother. While I am polite because it's the right thing to do, it also pays dividends. I have had players either check the nuts on the river to me, or not raise my bets, and actually say "I'm giving you the good neighbor discount" because I've engaged in friendly chit chat and not blown up after bad beats.

Remember that most people are there to first have a good time, and then only secondarily win money, just like the pit games. The social aspect of the game is greatly underestimated, IMO, especially by internet players coming to a live game.

So just be nice. And also pay attention. That will take you a long way. If you're not sure about any other procedure, just ask. Someone will be glad to help you.

edit: one other really important thing. Don't "instacall" or "insta-show cards" or "insta-anything". 99% of angles and mistakes will be avoided by simply waiting the 2-4 seconds it takes for the dealer to confirm the action. Such as you go all in, you think the player called, and insta show your cards. Just wait for the dealer to repeat "call". Protect your cards, and it is hard to get angled. If any doubt at all about whether an action is binding or not, ask the dealer before you act. You will save yourself a ton of grief this way.

Last edited by browser2920; 02-24-2013 at 06:28 PM. Reason: sorry this turned out so long.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:28 PM   #3
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

Protect your hand/cards. Don't release them until they have shipped you the pot.

Protect your action. Speak up right away if you think you've been skipped or misunderstood.

Pay attention to the action. Be ready to act in turn. Ask for clarification before you act if you have a doubt.

Ask for a floor if you don't agree with a ruling or action. Speak to the floor, after the dealer has explained their view of the action, if you disagree.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:38 PM   #4
BlatantlyObvious
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

Wow, two very good responses already! I'm getting giddy just thinking about next weekend!

When I watch poker on TV I often see the "pros" dumbfounded by how poor of a hand someone played (and either beat them or got them off the pot with). I am relatively confident with the game, but I feel like I'm not immune from playing hands poorly.

Do people really berate each other to that extent live? I don't understand these Phil Hellmuth-type meltdowns.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:46 PM   #5
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

Some people may trash talk if you play "poorly" but you shouldn't let it bother you. Just play your game and smile and stack chips when you win the pot. You won't likely encounter anything like Helmuth style meltdowns.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:00 PM   #6
BlatantlyObvious
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

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Originally Posted by JDiamond364 View Post
Some people may trash talk if you play "poorly" but you shouldn't let it bother you. Just play your game and smile and stack chips when you win the pot. You won't likely encounter anything like Helmuth style meltdowns.
I'll hold you responsible if I encounter Phil himself this weekend. Mark my words!
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:08 PM   #7
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

LOL if Phil is sitting at a live table at the Pensacola Greyhound Track this weekend and berates your play, I'll ship you a buy in.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:08 PM   #8
BlatantlyObvious
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

Nice. With the buy-in I win from Phil plus yours I'll be up quite a bit already!
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:30 PM   #9
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

1. be careful with the talk from your fellow players and how you respond, i see all too often (scumbag imo)regs try to induce a fold by insinuating much greater strength than actual holding and even blatant lying while showing 1 card....this will be heads up

1b. always table your hand, along with the talk ^^, a "two pair" or even lie about a busted hand could make you think you are beat when you are still best

2. ask for clarification from dealer if ever needed; they are there to help

3. if need be, verbalize your raises/straddles, to avoid inadvertent check or the one chip rule

4. just to echo the golden rule from above poster....at least half are rec players and will enjoy your company and the longer they are there the better chance of a donation

5. have fun!

--just saw some of bigblue's is similar and all very good advice!

Last edited by JayJune; 02-24-2013 at 09:34 PM. Reason: big blue post
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:33 PM   #10
Chippa58
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

Something will probably happen that will expose you as a newbie to the live atmosphere. The other players may assume you're new to poker in general. If that's the case, its likely that your bets and raises will be respected....so you may get away with a well placed bluff or two. Have fun and don't try to hide the fact that you're not accustomed to that environment. Try to use it to your advantage if you can.
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:19 AM   #11
BlatantlyObvious
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

^ that's a very interesting tidbit that I'd not have expected.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:01 AM   #12
Sentenzza
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Bring headphones to prevent your neighbor from talking your ear off. Oh and bring mint gums to give around too.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:03 AM   #13
BlatantlyObvious
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

Heuheuheu I'll keep a tin of altoids just in case I need to "offer" them to anyone.

But headphones? Is that not frowned upon?
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:36 AM   #14
JayJune
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

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Originally Posted by BlatantlyObvious View Post
Heuheuheu I'll keep a tin of altoids just in case I need to "offer" them to anyone.

But headphones? Is that not frowned upon?
def not frowned upon as long as it doesn't distract you from your turn, attention, etc....pretty common for a couple people at each table actually
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:40 AM   #15
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Verbal is binding golden rule.
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlatantlyObvious View Post
Heuheuheu I'll keep a tin of altoids just in case I need to "offer" them to anyone.

But headphones? Is that not frowned upon?
Yeah Def not frowned upon... But people especially dealers have no patience with you if you were to make a mistake when wearing headphones. They'll just give you a lot more **** in general.
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:39 AM   #17
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

Headphones will make it extremely difficult to engage in the social aspect of the game, plus you can very likely miss valuable information. Strange as it sounds, many rec players will essentially tell you how they play if you just listen.

For example, when someone says something like "I never raise with less than QQ, they usually mean it. Or stuff like "I can't believe that guy bet with just a flush draw". There is a lot going on at the table that is worth staying tuned into, and headphones make it difficult. And the worst thing is to have headphones on, and then be the guy who has to ask the dealer "how much is it" or "is that a straddle" because you can't hear him.

I'd suggest you leave the headphones at home for your first few visits, and then decide from there.

edit: and when the guy makes the comment about the flush draw, just say something like "yeah, wow"; don't try and explain why anything is a good or bad play.
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:49 AM   #18
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I wish I knew everyone at the table would laugh at me if I got seated in the CO and chose to wait for the BB.
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:55 AM   #19
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

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I wish I knew everyone at the table would laugh at me if I got seated in the CO and chose to wait for the BB.
That's funny. True, and funny.

Also, OP, don't be the guy who never chops the blinds. And even more important, don't try and be the guy who looks at his cards, then decides if he wants to chop that hand. You either always do it (recommended) or never do it.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:45 AM   #20
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Don't say "I call your X amount and raise..." You pretty much just called at that point
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:21 AM   #21
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

Everything I learned in the 400 hours or so of live poker I've played since.

I was a humongous idiot back then. But of course thought I was pro because I was beating 5NL for 10bb/100 over 2,000 hands.

Quote:
Originally Posted by browser2920 View Post
That's funny. True, and funny.

Also, OP, don't be the guy who never chops the blinds. And even more important, don't try and be the guy who looks at his cards, then decides if he wants to chop that hand. You either always do it (recommended) or never do it.
Unless there's a BBJ in which case you look at your hand and chop if you can't make a BBJ, or complete the blind and give BB a stern look if you can. (this sounds ridiculous but I'm only half-joking, live players love to chase that jackpot and this is actually what your table-mates will do)
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:49 PM   #22
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

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Originally Posted by DK Barrel View Post
Unless there's a BBJ in which case you look at your hand and chop if you can't make a BBJ, or complete the blind and give BB a stern look if you can. (this sounds ridiculous but I'm only half-joking, live players love to chase that jackpot and this is actually what your table-mates will do)
This was pretty standard at the Washington casinos I played that had monte carlos. Obviously a little more likely to hit than BBJ. If it didn't hit, BB would refund the SB under the table.
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:23 PM   #23
BlatantlyObvious
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

Alright I'll leave the headphones at home, but you'll have to excuse my ignorance in not knowing what the CO is.

And chopping blinds -- I'm not sure I've come across this before. I'll try to find it on the forums but feel free to explain for those who may also be in the dark :L

Edit: Alright so chopping blinds is basically taking back your chips if everything gets folded down to the SB/BB? And this is something that people normally do?

Also, I read that it's proper etiquette to not look at your hole cards if you plan on chopping, which means that I shouldn't check my hole cards until the action is on me (assuming I'm BB/SB and chopping conditions exist), but I've seen people complain about those who wait for action to check hole cards.

But I guess this situation does not come up often enough to warrant complaints for the few times I actually wait to check.

Or something.

Also -- is verbal more binding than a physical gesture? Should I do both? Stick to one? Mix it up?

Last edited by BlatantlyObvious; 02-25-2013 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:31 PM   #24
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

chopping is just when the action folds around so that just the small blind and the big blind are left. Usually, the two blinds agree to "chop" which is you just take your blind back, and don't play the hand and move on to the next hand. The house takes no rake.

Where there is a BBJ, let's say quads need to get beat, people may look to see if they have a pocket pair or suited connectors, and if so, agree to see the flop to see if they still can win it. If so, they continue the hand by checking it down until they realize they are not eligible. But it's pretty rare for that to happen. It's more a symbolic gesture to offer.

But the big thing etiquette wise is that either you always chop or never chop. (with exception about BBJ above). You don't look at your cards, and if you have AK in the SB, you raise the guy out of his blind, but if you have 72o, you say let's chop. Bad form.
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:44 PM   #25
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Re: Things you wish you knew for your first live poker?

I gotcha. You're in a sort of agreement with the table that you'll do a mutually-beneficial move regardless of the benefit you may have in your hole cards instead of only chopping when it's in your favor (i.e. bad hole cards).
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