Games and Limits for Beginners

Now that we have figured out the proper dress and appearance for the cardroom, it's time to go out and play some poker. Just why is it called playing poker? For one thing, poker is fun... or at least it is supposed to be. Let's discuss what games you can expect to find in the vast majority of cardrooms and let's get started playing poker!

The two mainstays in the majority of cardrooms in the United States for low limit players are limit Texas hold'em and no limit Texas hold'em. I realize that many of you are wealthy, but as a beginner in poker, you will always want to seek out the smallest game that the house offers. The fact that you may have an ample money supply should not induce you to play in anything but the smallest game available. That is not to say that you cannot move up in limit as you become accustomed to this new adventure. It's just more prudent to play small while you are learning. There are many things to learn and there is no way that you can learn everything by reading or watching. There are simply too many nuances to playing poker in public to grasp everything without actually seeing many of the things come up during actual play. When I play, it continually amazes me how often obscure incidents will arise; things that I may not have seen or thought of in years!

So, what are these low limit games and what do they cost to play? No limit hold'em is the most popular with blind limits ranging from $1-$2 all the way up to $10-$25 (and even higher in some rooms). The buyin for the no limit games starts at $100. Limit hold'em is normally available too at limits of $2-$4 or $3-$6 and up. The buyin for the limit games generally starts at around $40. 

In hold'em games, whether they be limit or no limit, there generally will be two blinds. These are bets made before the cards are dealt and that is why they are called blinds as they are made in the blind. The two players to the immediate left of the button (dealer) each post a blind. The first position posts one half of the lower limit of the first bet. The player to his left posts an amount equal to the lower betting limit. In the above mentioned $2-$4 game, the blinds would be $1 and $2. These bets initiate the action for that round. These blind bets are live and get full value towards the bet for that round. These players also have the opportunity to raise when the action gets back around to them, thus the live blind status.

There is so much to learn when starting out with poker. In the next edition of Freshman Poker, we will further discuss these introductory games. In the meantime, read some books and articles about poker and stay enthusiastic. Poker is a game for a lifetime and is a great equalizer when you consider that this game offers no advantage to anyone over another. Its a game with a level playing field. It holds the opportunity for competition without the need for speed or strength. Men and women can compete equally. Until next time, class dismissed!