Do you know how to sign up for the games? How about table changes? While everyone was a beginner at one time, not everyone wants to look the part.
Here are a few rules regarding live game signup and play that will help you navigate the waters in the casino poker room.
Get a Players Card.
Regardless of where you play, the first thing that one should do is pick up a players card for the casino that they are in. Players cards are how the casinos track your play and how they issue comps.
Also, in some casino's, you can use you card to put yourself on the waiting list for games. Some casinos also require them in order to play tournaments. In most cases, it only takes a couple of minutes to sign up and you may even receive a free gift for signing up.
Finding Out What is Being Spread
When you first enter the casino, look for two things. First, look and see if there are any boards with a list of games. Many casinos use a big screen TV with a scrolling list of games. Some use whiteboards. Smaller casino may just use a clipboard that is held by the brush.
The next thing you want to do is look for the brush. The brush is the person that signs you up for the waiting list. Many have a podium that the brush stands at. Others will have a desk. Typically the brush is located at the entrance of the poker room, but not always.
If you do not immediately see the brush, ask where they are at and you will be pointed immediately. Once you get to the brush, you can sign up on the waiting list. If a seat is available, you will be pointed to it.
Alternative Options for Waiting Lists
Some casinos offer electronic signup for waiting lists. How this works is that you scan your players card into a card reader and you are given options on a touch screen for games.
The Trump Taj in Atlantic City has a quick and easy signup screen at the brush desk. Pick your game and wait to be called.
Also, you can also call ahead to the casino and request that your name be put on the waiting list. You will see this done more at the high limit games than the lower limit games.
Also, some casinos will only do so for hotel guests or players that they know well, also called regulars.
Getting Chips and Table Selection
Once you are signed up for your game, go ahead and buy some chips at the cashier. Not all casinos allow you to buy chips at the table when you first start. Buying chips before you sit down will allow you to play right away and not slow the game down.
Of course, in some casinos, chip runners must be used in order to purchase chips or large amounts of chips. In most cases, try and buy your chips ahead of time.
Once your name is called for your game, the brush will typically tell you what table to sit at. In the rare case there are multiple tables with an even amount of open seats, you may get to choose. However, in most cases, the brush or floor person will direct you to your seat.
Table Changes - Moving Tables - Game Changes
Once you are at your table, you are not automatically locked into that seat for the rest of the night. If you would like a table change, call over a floor person and let them know you request a table change. Most casinos will do their best to accomodate you. If there is a list for the game, you will be put on the list with a table change notation.
If you are at a table and would like to move to a different seat, tell the dealer that you would like a seat change when one becomes available. The dealer in most cases will give you a seat change button and when a seat opens, you have first crack to move to the new seat. Be aware, some casinos don't always have a policy on this and to change a seat, you just need to speak up and say you want that seat.
If more than one person wants a seat change, the person that requests first gets the seat. Also, be kind to your fellow players. If someone is requesting a seat change because they cannot see the cards, letting them move ahead of you is a nice touch.
If you get tired of playing a certain game and would like to switch to something else, such as stud, call a floor person and ask that they put you on the list. Many will take down your name and sign you up. If there is an electronic brush, go swipe your card and sign up.
The above tips are fairly universal, but the procedures may vary from casino to casino. At one casino, the floor person may sign you up for a new game where at another you may get told to go do it yourself. Generally, the bigger the poker room, the better the service.
As you play more, you will be able to tell which rooms are a little more laid back and which ones are strict on policy. Regardless, the above tips will be the norm for the majority of casinos and should help make you look like a regular in the casino, even if you are just a rank beginner.