As a semi-professional live poker player I have learned many things over the years that have improved my game. One of the things that I learned early on was that finding the best poker room to play in was the pertinent. In my neck of the woods there are many options to choose from, in your case your poker room choices may be limited. If that’s the case you will have to make due until other opportunities present themselves. For those of you who are trying to decide between which rooms to play at here are a few tips that have helped me narrow the choices in my career.
Follow the Action
The most important thing to do when picking out your new poker home is to make sure that you pick a room that regularly has a game going. In my area I would drive to one of the local poker rooms only to find that no game was even running. This is lost money and just a plain waste of your time. I would suggest finding a room that regularly has two full tables running 24/7. This is of course a tip for all of the no-limit hold’em players. If you are a Omaha, stud or fix-limit player your choices will be limited to only the largest of rooms.
Being Comfortable Leads to Better Play
Most of the time poker rooms will be located at your local casino. These are all smoke filled buildings that can really take a toll on your health. My advice would be to make sure and choose a room that is secluded from the rest of the casino floor. This way you will not have to worry about the bells and whistles of the slot machines and you can concentrate on your card playing. Also you will not have to worry about smoke inhalation as these rooms will be closed off and smoke-free.
Check Out the Comps
Another thing to consider when picking out a good poker room is the comp system. Casinos will vary greatly but some have some really great deals. When referring to comps I also include any type of bonuses/promotions that come from putting in hours at that poker room. Some deals to look for are freeroll tournaments that you can gain entrance into for playing x amount of hours in the room. For example at my local room for playing 40 hours in a given month you win a free seat into a $15,000 tournament. This can really boost your winnings. You will also find that many rooms will include food comps which will really come in handy when playing long sessions.
Using these few tips it should be much easier to make an informed decision about what poker room to spend your time in. Once you find the right room I would urge you to start improving your game by reading up on some of the best poker books out today. Here are some great books that have helped me along the way:
Top Tournament Books
Top SNG books
Check back later for future installments of “Beating Live Poker”