Getting started in live poker play, Part III



Editor’s note: This is the final part of a three-part series.

Sometimes, as a beginner, you may have a question or need a little more time to make a decision. Simply say “time” so the dealer can hear you. This freezes the action and allows you to get an issue resolved or for you to make a final decision. Don’t abuse time requests. Here are some other things to consider.

ACTING IN TURN: Wait until it’s your turn to act. Don’t attempt to muck your cards or make a bet before your turn. It’s impolite and provides information and an advantage to someone yet to act. And if your river bet is called, you’re required to turn over your cards.

DON’T DISCUSS HANDS WHILE IN PLAY: Any discussions of a hand should be done after the hand has ended. Never talk about or show your cards to anyone while the hand in progress.

TIPPING: It’s common practice for the winner of each hand to tip the dealer. In most games, the dealer receives a dollar or two from the winner. There are players who tip well; you’re not required to match their generosity. You should contribute something to the dealer, though you’re not required.

CASHING OUT: When you’re ready to leave, tell the dealer to deal you out. Put your chips into an empty chip rack and head to the cashier cage or the podium where you purchased them.

COMPS: Find out before playing if you can earn complimentary credit for playing a certain number of hours. Some casinos provide you with a meal “comp” and when booking a room, call ahead and always check with the poker room for a poker room rate. Again, based on daily play, you may save a tremendous amount of money for your room and meals.

Being prepared to play poker means you’re not distracted, feeling ill or playing with the rent money. You should have a positive attitude, be mentally alert, know the rules, play solid aggressive poker and know when to quit. Having read this three-part series I hope some of the initial fears of playing live have been quieted by the knowledge you now bring with you to the cardroom.

— Al Spath live broadcasts on TwitchTV: (PositivePokerInsiders), and streams from (signup using referral code: ppiposse). Contact Al at with questions and coaching inquires.

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine