Fnord plays a lot of both online and offline poker. His brick and mortar tips are good for online players looking to transition to the live poker environments.
Stuff to consider
Overall, B&M games are far softer than online games. Players are looser, raise less often and are more inclined check(/call) the pre-flop aggressor. Hence, you should often bluff less and me more inclined to fold marginal hands to raises. Pay attention and always consider who you’re playing against though.
Don’t be this poopyhead
People come to the B&M to play some cards and have a good time. You will make the most money when people are laughing, playing dogshit cards and paying you off just to see. Don’t show up in your PokerStars blazer, PartyPoker hat with Moneymaker sunglasses, it will hurt your action and tell the table you’re not there just to have a good time.
Verbalize your bets.
Call out “raise” or “bet”. That way you can’t be called for a string raise and it moves things along faster. Also, try to be clear with your checks. Say “check” or tap the table visably. Don’t nod, wave a finger, point to the next guy, etc. It also moves things along and encourages others to not do hard to decipher checks.
Keep the game Friendly
In a really good game with the blind chopping, don’t make a marginal blind steal. Between the rake and the chance of killing the mood, it’s not worth it.
Don’t ever say this
“OMG! How can you call 2 bets cold on the turn with a gutshot with 3 hearts on the board and no heart! You’re horrible”
By saying stuff like that you’re telling the table that you might play poker well and maybe they should try too. You’re also killing the friendly atmosphere. Smile and muck, no matter how hard it is.
Don’t berate horrible, predictable players and put them on tilt. They might play better and are certainly likely to become less predicable. Worse of all, they might leave the game or not come back.
Don’t show cute laydowns
In a B&M environment the combination of tells and paying closer attention to every hand allows you to make laydowns you just can’t make in an online game. You will probably be proud of those laydowns, but for god sakes don’t show them. By showing them you will show the table you’re playing good poker. Also, sometimes the other guy will show a bluff putting you on tilt. Finally, it encourages other players to take shots at you (playing better poker.)
Just quietly muck or say something like this:
“I was just kidding” – Free advertising that you *might* be bluffing and they should call you down.
“I didn’t get there” – Say this one on draw free boards too.
“Shit, is that a Queen? I thought it was a King.”
“I’ll get there next time”
Study up and be prepared for table talk
This doesn’t mean reading Mike Caro’s book of Tells or brushing up on the loose Small Stakes Hold’em pre-flop chart. Pick up the paper or read it online. Brush up on sports and current events. Be prepared to discuss ANYTHING but Poker Strategy at the table. Food and the service also make great subjects to pass the time with.
First, a tell is just another factor to consider. Don’t get too cute with calls and laydowns just because of tells. Also, most tells indicate you should fold, not should call. Your mind wants you to call and gamble it up and undisciplined players often use tells as an excuse to call when they really should fold.
Watch the guy to your left. Quite often they’ll start to fold out of turn pre-flop. If they do, you can play a wider range of hands. If he starts to raise, you can fold marginal hands.
Beware of players who are tortured by their bets/calls “I suppose I’ll have to bet.” “*sigh*”. Be more inclined to call/fold against this.
Watch players watch the flop. Look for players looking to their chips (then often quickly looking away), they likely hit the flop.
Don’t let someone reaching/holding chips discourage you from betting. It’s often an act.
Don’t try too hard looking for tells, it takes lots of practice. I just laid out the easier ones.
My tipping standards
$0 for really small pots (taking down the blinds pre-flop), no call on the flop after little flop action. I might tip a $1 if this happens 2 or 3 times.
$0 for small split pots.
$1 for a healthy pot
$2 for a monster
5% of any jackpot, high hand Bonus, etc.
$1 for exceptional service. Sometimes I give this at the end of a shift.
Also, as a new player throw in an extra $1 if the dealer helps you out as a new player. Either give it with your next pot or at some other oportunity.
If there is a guy being difficult and the dealer is handling it well (particularly if the player is dumping money), toss the dealer an extra $1 and smile. They’ll understand.
If you play the same room regularly, tip the floor a buck or two or three after cashing out. Say “Thanks <name>” Make sure to say their name both for effect and to help you remember it. The floor resolves disputes and manages the wait lists, hence you’ll get the most value by giving them another reason to make you happy. You can’t out-tip the fish on hands. But the fish rarely tip the floor *cackle*.