Your First Live Texas Hold'em Game


Whether it’s the first time ever you play Texas Holdem or you've only played online, heading to the casino for your first live poker game might seem a little scary. However, it doesn't need to be. Most poker rooms will have plenty of floorpeople around to help you get settled, and as soon as you get into the flow of the game, it probably won't seem that different from games you've played online or at home.
You can take comfort in the fact that the Texas Holdem rules are always the same. To help you get going, here are a few live casino poker basics.


Live Texas Hold'em: Signing Up For a Game


When you enter the cardroom, look for a poker room staff member with a microphone. They will normally be near a large whiteboard with initials written all over it. These days, the board is sometimes computerized. All you need to do is tell this person the game and limit you wish to play. They will ask for your initials, and write them on the appropriate spot on the board.
As seats open up for your game, initials will get crossed off. Once they get to your initials, they will call them out. Acknowledge that you are there (a common response to having your initials called is to say "lock it (the seat) up!") and you will be directed to your table. There will usually be a floorperson near your game available to help you find your seat.


Live Texas Hold'em: The Game Begins


Once you take your seat, if a new hand is about to begin, the dealer may ask you if you want to be dealt a hand. It is important to find out if you need to "post," or put up a blind bet in order to get into the game. If you do need to post, you may choose to wait until you are the big blind to start playing.
If you are in late position, you may not want to wait that long. If you do not need to post, you may start playing right away.
Some casinos will allow you to wait until the blinds and button pass you to come in, and you may wish to take this option instead. The only time you cannot come in right away is on the small blind or the dealer button.
Some casinos may give you the option to come in between the big blind and the button by "buying the button," or putting up both the big and small blind in order to get right into the regular rotation of the players.


Live Texas Hold'em: Leaving the Game


You have the option to get up and leave the game at any time. If you get up your seat will be given away, so if you are just getting up to get more money and wish to return, you should instruct the dealer to lock up your seat. If you do this, be sure you return in a timely manner or allow them to open the seat for a new player.
If you are leaving for good, you can say "seat open" to let the dealer know that a new player can come in to that table. If you get up and leave chips on the table, it is assumed you are returning and the chips will be waiting for you when you get back. If you are gone too long, the chips will be picked up and your seat given away, but you will be able to retrieve the chips by contacting a floorperson.