Tips for your first time poker tournament

You’re a recreational poker player, playing in basements and kitchens. You show up for the occasional tournament at the Elks or Kiwanis. Maybe you’re still in school and play there. But casinos and other public poker rooms — they intimidate you. You’d like to go, if only because you have friends who go and you’d like to join them. But you’re afraid of embarrassing yourself.

Following these tips will allow you to feel comfortable sitting down for the first time.

Don’t worry about looking inexperienced

Everyone has to start some time. There’s no disgrace in being new. The good players know this and will be tolerant and forgiving of any mistakes you make. It’s only the jerks who will be rude or condescending.

Make sure to act in turn

Acting in turn is easy if you make sure to follow the action. You don’t want to act before it is your turn to do so. Also, it is really annoying to others if you don’t act when it is your turn to do so. Avoid having to say, “Is it to me?” or “My turn?” The action moves clockwise, one person at a time. It’s an easy concept to understand. Act in turn!

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Don’t anticipate the action and broadcast what you will do before it is your turn

Two actions fall into this category. Don’t grab or count out the chips you expect to be betting until it is your turn to act. And don’t hold your cards in a way as to indicate you are going to fold. Doing these things gives other attentive players an advantage to know what you are going to do before they act.

Make your bet (or raise) in one motion

It’s against public poker room rules to make what is known as a “string bet” or bet in two or more motions. You must make your bet or raise in a single motion. When you see poker players in the movies say “I bet $200” and put out $200, and then radically add “and I raise you another $300” and put out $300, that’s a string bet — and that’s not permitted when you play in poker rooms.

Don’t take chips off the table

This is called “ratholing” and is generally forbidden in casino play. When you win money it must stay on the table. The only time you may take chips off the table is at the end of your session.

These suggestions will not turn you into a winning player. But they will help you avoid embarrassment or frustrating other players while you are learning the basics of how to take their money.

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