Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Poker Room Etiquette - Play Poker Like A Professional

No one wants to make a mistake at the poker table. It can be costly and embarrassing, especially if you offend your opponents. Luckily, there are some things you can do to ensure that everything you do is professional and appropriate.

Here is a rundown of the appropriate etiquette to use at a poker table:

During poker games, it is very important to monitor the impression you give the other players. This is not only essential to disguising your like or dislike for your own hands and the actions of others during a poker game, but it is also essential to ensuring that you don’t offend the other players. For instance, while swearing may give away your hand, it can cause you more grief than you realize. Even though poker games are generally adults-only events, it is still inappropriate to have foul language during a game. Many poker players take the game very seriously and do not appreciate unsportsmanlike activities during a game.

Even if you do so without swearing, you should avoid being rude whether you are winning or losing. Consider that not everyone is as good a poker player as you, so trash talk or dissing other players is very inappropriate.

It is key to keep a cool head all of the time. This can help you conceal your own giveaways or tells and also prevents arguments and other conflicts at the table.

Another important part of playing poker is keeping up with the game. Whether you stall the game on purpose or by accident, this reflects badly on your professionalism. Avoid appearing inattentive or inconsiderate.

It is wrong to bet out of turn, so pay close attention to the game so that you are aware when it is the right time for you to take action. Betting out of turn can give your opponents advantages over each other and while some may appreciate the hint, others will be very irritated.

Another thing to avoid is gossiping about other players. This is unethical. You should not talk about another player’s poor poker-playing ability. Keep all conversations brief and light.

The dealers are there to deal the cards and monitor the game. You should respect them. Dealing cards is not as easy as you think and it can even be stressful at times. Many dealers work for minimum wage and that means long hours and small pay checks. So, avoid rudeness and don’t show your displeasure by scowling at him or her over your cards. And, as a courtesy, always place your chips neatly near to the dealer so it is easy for him or her to rake them.

If you notice an indiscretion at the table, speak up immediately. Everybody makes mistakes and no one should begrudge you for wanting to play the game correctly. For instance, if someone places an incorrect bet, you should point it out in an appropriate way. After all, there is money on the table. And sometimes indiscretions can have an affect on the outcome of the game. It is important everyone is aware of every action.

If you are in a showdown at the end of a hand and are required to show your hand, do so immediately, even if you think you are the winner. Don’t wait fo the dealer to ask you. And, if you do win, be modest.

Another rule to follow is neatness. Keep your playing area clean and uncluttered. What more could need besides cash, chips and a card cover token?

Smiling isn’t outlawed. People do say to keep a poker face, but smiling once and awhile keep the game exciting and fun.

Follow these rules and even if you don’t win every time, people will like playing with you.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Aria Poker Room – the Newest Haven for Poker Players in Las Vegas

As a poker player living in Las Vegas, I have pretty much adopted my “home” poker rooms.  There are a multitude of reasons why a poker player living in Las Vegas, or even visiting regularly, would consistently visit the same poker rooms time and time again.  For me personally, the determining factors include: the poker room is comfortable, beautiful and draws large crowds, the floor people or dealers are kind and accommodating, I consistently win when I play at the particular room, and other poker friends and players I know tend to congregate there.    This doesn’t mean that I am “married” to these poker rooms, and in fact, I am always open to try a new poker room just to shake things up a little bit in my daily poker grind.
The City Center project, part of MGM Mirage, recently opened the new Aria Casino (complete with Aria Poker Room) in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip.  A massive, thunderous entity in the middle of the city, it piqued my curiosity.  I figured that the newly opened poker room would be trying to one-up its already existing competition (Venetian, Mirage, Bellagio, etc).  So after the Aria Poker Room had been open for a couple weeks, I looked at some photos and a write up on Las Vegas Poker Source, and decided it was time to venture down and try out a poker session in the new room.
When I arrived, I was instantly thrilled to find that once I entered the casino from the parking garage, the poker room is literally right there. Very easily accessible, which is a plus.  Some of the other rooms in the city are quite a trek from parking to poker table, so this was the first positive aspect.    The next, and definitely the most impressive, is the visual facet of this poker room.  Deep thought went into the design.  There are giant, decorative playing cards crafted from various metals on all the outer corners of the room from floor to ceiling.  It is beautiful and definitely puts one in the mindset to play cards.
The interior of the Aria poker room is pleasing as well; very colorful with prime lighting, 24 brand new tables designed to give players a little more personal space during the game, ultra-comfortable chairs, and plenty of high-definition televisions planted throughout.    I also couldn’t help but notice the special “high limit” room – glass-encased and attached by a private entrance to the cashier cage.  I was told that this room is used for super high stakes cash games and invited guests only.  It is the Aria’s answer to Bobby’s room at its sister property, Bellagio. 
For the convenience of the players in the Aria Poker Room, there are restrooms, ATMs, a coffee shop and carryout food spot within a few steps.  The room is complete with tableside food and beverage service as well.  Players can use their MGM Mirage Player’s Card to earn $1/hour comps to be spent in any MGM Mirage property.
The Aria Poker Room is typically offering cash games at the following stakes:  $1/$3 No Limit Holdem, $2/$5 No Limit Holdem, $5/$10 No Limit Holdem, $3/$6 Limit Holdem, $4/$8 Mixed Game, and $9/$18 Omaha Hi/Lo.  Managers say that they do often run more games than this, and are willing to start a game for pretty much any interest list that is generated by players.  In addition, they have a pager system to send text messages to players on the waiting list when their seat is ready and also have the ability to have a poker dealer send out a notification to players that a particular game is starting up at the Aria Poker Room.  This new technology is sure to be a draw for poker players.
Aria Poker Room has a daily poker tournament available beginning at 1pm.  Poker players may late register until 3pm, but there are no re-buys, add-ons, or re-entry if you bust.  The buy-in is $120 and players receive 8,000 in chips with 30 minute blind levels.  The tournament has been accruing anywhere from 30 to 70 players each day, with weekend tournaments attracting the bigger crowds. 
Despite a slow start, due partly to the economy and partly to its opening being close to the holidays, the Aria Poker Room is a popular new room for poker players to hone both their cash and tournament skills.   Poker players and managers alike give high praises to the poker room staff, stating that they are some of the very best out there.   This is likely due to the high number of applicants to the property during a time in Las Vegas where a surplus of poker dealers have found themselves out of a dealing job.  This factor surely provided the Aria Poker Room with a very large pool from which to choose high caliber staff.  
For more photos and information on Aria’s poker room or tournament schedule, as well as other poker rooms and poker tournament schedules throughout Las Vegas, visit lasvegaspokersource.com.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Aria at City Center – The Newest Poker Room in Las Vegas

For years, Las Vegas has buzzed about the City Center Project. In mid December, the long-awaited Aria casino of this booming metropolis opened its doors to the public. One of the most anticipated poker rooms in the city, according to Las Vegas Poker Source, is now open for business. Located on the outer edge of the casino, the poker room is conveniently accessible from the parking garage. As you approach the poker room, you'll notice that the décor is eye-catching and thoughtful – the outer edges of the room are a cascade of brass fashioned playing cards beginning at the ceiling and trailing down to the floor.  (Click here for photos)

This 24 table poker room has comfortable chairs, spacious seating at each table and quality lighting. The tables are spread carefully throughout the room to avoid cramped space. They also have multiple high definition televisions throughout the room. The Aria Poker Room caters to low and high stakes players alike. Off the main room, there is a slightly elevated salon area for higher stake games and also a private room enclosed in glass, for invited guests and extremely high stakes games. It could best be compared to the famous “Bobby’s Room” at its sister property, Bellagio (both owned by MGM Mirage). This room has direct and private access to safety deposit boxes and the poker room cashier cage.

Within steps of the poker room are conveniently located restrooms, ATM machines, a coffee shop, and a SkyBox To Go Café. Just a bit farther past that is the sports book, full service bar and the SkyBox Bar and Grill.

The poker room typically spreads live action cash games as follows: $1/$3, $2/5 and $5/10 No Limit Holdem, $3/$6 Limit Holdem, $4/$8 Mixed Game, $9/$18 Omaha Hi/Lo. The Aria Poker Room will generate interest lists for other games and stakes as well upon request. The Aria poker room has a player paging system that allows staff to send players who are on the waiting list a text message when their cash game seat is available. They also employ a notification system that allows a dealer to send out a mass notification of a specific game being started.

The Aria Poker Room also holds a daily No Limit Texas Holdem poker tournament at 1pm. Players receive 8,000 in chips and play 30 minute blind levels for a $120 buy-in. There are no re-buys, add-ons, or re-entry; however, registration stays open until 3pm. The tournament has been getting between 30 and 70 players participating daily, depending on the day of the week.

Managers at the Aria say that the poker room has gotten off to a bit of a slow start due to opening near the holidays combined with the current economic situation in our country, which has slowed down Las Vegas in general over the past year. They do feel it was partly an advantage to them though, as there was plenty of poker room staff to choose from in the hiring process due to the job downswing in Las Vegas. Time will tell how the Aria Poker Room will fare, but it is apparent that great time and effort went into the design and operation of this new facility. Poker players seem to contend that the dealers, card room managers and wait staff really are the cream of the crop in Vegas, helping make the Aria Poker Room already quite popular as the word passes through the Las Vegas poker community.

Poker Players can use their MGM Mirage Player’s Card to earn $1/hour in comps for playing live action cash games. For more on Aria, plus the latest information about poker rooms and daily poker tournaments in Las Vegas, visit Las Vegas Poker Source.