Joined: Nov 11, 2009
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November 11th, 2009 at 2:54:56 PM permalink
I've never played real poker, and would just like to know the lowest cost places to get started. I do not care about the lowest house cuts, as I don't plan on winning when I start off. I'm just looking for places to start off the cheapest.
So I says to him, I said "Get your own monkey!"
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
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December 1st, 2009 at 8:38:56 AM permalink
This will depend a little on laws where you live, but in most places you should be able to find a $1/2 spread anytime the room is open. To play for less you will need to go online.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
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December 1st, 2009 at 11:23:32 AM permalink
I would suggest starting with a limit game, rather than no-limit if you are planning on playing holdem. You can control your bankroll a little easier.
Joined: Nov 23, 2009
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December 1st, 2009 at 12:36:37 PM permalink
Cheapest depends on what you mean ... I think of poker in terms of the "average" player trying to overcome the built in house edge. Most think of poker as competing against other players, this is the wrong view.

Typical LV rakes are 10% of the pot with a $4 maximum.

I think a $4 rake in a $2/$4 game (max 10%) is far more expensive than a $4 rake in a $4/$8 game (max 10%). After tips, you are trying to overcome a house edge of about 15% in the $2/$4 game just to break even (average pot size $20 in a loose game, $2 rake + $1 tip). In a $4/$8 game with an average pot over $40 (quite common in a loose game, $4 rake + $1 tip), the house edge is about 12.5%. In an $8/$16 game, with an average pot of $80 and a $4 rake and $1 tip, the house edge is 6.25%.

These edges are increased significantly if you are also contributing $1 per hand to a bad beat jackpot.

The higher the stakes in a limit game, the lower the house edge. I always suggest playing the highest limit your bankroll can afford, that is the cheapest game!


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Joined: Nov 30, 2009
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December 1st, 2009 at 12:36:59 PM permalink
Tournaments are a great way to get started. You play for a fixed amount and should get to see lots of hands. Tournaments help you ease into "brick & mortor" play.
I am an employee of a Casino. Former Table Games Director,, current Pit Supervisor. All the personal opinions I post are my own and do not represent the opinions of the Casino or Tribe that I work for.
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
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December 2nd, 2009 at 11:03:35 AM permalink
Quote: MrPapagiorgio

I don't plan on winning when I start off....

Oooo.... Can you sit at MY table?

Seriously, if you are new, and sit down at a casino poker table, the other players will become very friendly - as they seperate you from your cash, without telling you how badly you played.

If you really want to learn, and not worry about winning OR losing, look into a poker league. There are three of them in my area. They all run more-or-less the same way.

They are played in a bar/restaurant, typically in the back party room. Several different locations on different days of the week. Unlike a bowling league where once you sign up you're expected to play each week for the entire season, in the poker league you can play as much or as little as you like - sign up for the game just a couple hours before it starts. Some leagues are even easier. Just show up and play!

It usually costs nothing to play. The venue pays the league, and simply hopes enough people buy booze and/or dinner to make a profit. Some leages ask that you tip the dealer, as well as patronize the venue, but it's all optional. Any requirement to pay would make it illegal.

The players in a league tend to be very helpful to new players. They will explain all the rules, as well as offer advice.

Why would league players be helpful when casino players wouldn't? League players are generally there to practice in-between casino trips. It's beneficial to them to help the novice, so that they can practice against better players. Casino players simply want your chips.

The one national league I play in is World Tavern Poker. Check it out.
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