Intelligent Poker dot com The Intelligent Guide to Texas Hold'em Poker Book Cover - The Intelligent Guide to Texas Hold'em Poker
Picture - Poker Hand Site Icon
About Book Order Book Online Online Rooms Brick and Mortar Rooms Poker Products Resources Non-English Sites
Top Sites

Win at High-Low Poker! Vital knowledge to profit from Seven-Card Stud High-Low. Get a competitive edge.

US Poker Rooms


(Cardrooms in the United States)

The following is a directory of over 200 poker rooms throughout the United States that offer Texas Hold’em poker. The information includes addresses, phone numbers, and when available, links to web sites. Be aware that many casinos throughout the United States do not have poker rooms. Also, not every poker room, offers Texas Hold’em. These listings are not meant to be all-inclusive and conditions constantly change. Before planning a trip to any cardroom, call ahead and inquire about the games dealt, the structure of the games, the betting limits, and the current house rules. Most of the cardrooms listed offer poker tournaments. Call to inquire about tournament schedules, buy-ins, and prizes. Below is an article on how to play Hold'em in a public cardroom.

Southern Nevada

Northern Nevada

Southern California

Central California

Northern California

Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington)

Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas)

West (Colorada and Montana)

North (Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin)

Central (Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri)

Midwest (Indiana and Michigan)

South (Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi)

Northeast (Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York)

How to Play Texas Hold’em in a Public Cardroom

In a casino or public cardroom, poker games are dealt on a large, oval, felt-covered table. The table seats the dealer and up to 10 players. There usually are no markings on the table.
The dealer sits in front of a tray of chips. A plastic circle, imbedded in the table to the right of the dealer, provides a spot for separating the cardroom’s percentage of the pot, called the rake. There is a slot in the table where the dealer deposits cash from players that are buying in, and a box to the dealer’s left where tips are placed.

A small plastic button is used to indicate which person acts last in the hand. The person to the left of the button is the small blind, and the next person to the left is the big blind. Play proceeds from right to left: You act after the person on your right and before the person on your left. At the end of each hand, the button is passed to the next player on the left and the blind positions are shifted accordingly.

The dealer conducts the game. All players receive their cards from the dealer, and the dealer exposes the community cards. The dealer collects the bets from each player and, if necessary, makes change. Players never reach into the pot or handle any chips but their own. Players never handle any cards other than the two that are dealt to them. If there is a showdown at the end of the hand, the dealer inspects the hands and awards the pot to the player with the highest hand. In cardroom poker, cards speak, meaning that you do not have to state the contents of your hand. If you mistakenly state your hand, you still get the pot if your hand is the best. Always show your cards at the showdown and let the dealer inspect them. Pay attention in case the dealer makes a mistake.

Cardrooms make money from poker, either by taking a percentage from every pot (the rake) or by charging players for the time they spend at the table. In low-limit games ($5–10 and below) cardrooms take a rake, usually about 5% of the pot, up to a certain limit, such as $5. In higher limit games ($10–20 and above), cardrooms often charge players for table time instead of taking a rake. In a game paid for by a rake, the dealer takes the money after each round of betting and puts it in on the plastic circle on the table. After each hand the money is moved to the dealer’s chip tray.

The rake is not an insignificant cost to players because poker is a zero-sum game—your loss is someone else’s gain. Suppose there is a game with ten players starting with $100 each, resulting in $1000 on the table initially. If the players are evenly matched and never leave the table, money simply passes back and forth between them, with the cardroom taking a little each time. It’s easy to see that if this game goes on indefinitely, the cardroom will end up with all the money. To make money at poker, not only do you have to be better than the other players, but you have to beat the rake. You must win enough money to afford to give about 5% to the cardroom and play in games with new money entering.

In addition to the cost of the rake, it is customary to tip the dealer. Tips are usually given by a player after winning a pot. Usually players give the dealer a $1 chip after a win. Tipping is not obligatory and for small pots $1 is a large cut and not always given. It is polite to tip dealers, but tips are another poker expense that need to be controlled for profit to be realized.

Joining a Game

Not all casinos have poker rooms, and not all casinos offering poker have Texas Hold’em. Call ahead to find out what games and betting limits are offered at the casinos that you plan to visit.

Betting Limits: Once you decide where to play, select a game with affordable limits. For a $3–6 game, you should have at least $100 in front of you. In a $5–10 game, you need at least $200. For higher-limit games, you need proportionally more money. It must be money you can afford to lose. Not even the best poker players make a profit every time they play. You cannot fear losing money or you won’t be able to play correctly. Placing bets that lose is an integral part of the game. You cannot win in the long run without the ability to absorb losses along the way. If you are new to Hold’em, start with lower-limit games, even if you can afford higher ones. Players in higher-limit games are better. To make money at poker, you must not only have a sufficient bankroll to stay in the game, you must be better than your opponents. Learning poker by playing in high-limit games against expert players is a sure way to lose a lot of money fast.

Signing up to play: When you arrive at the cardroom, tell the manager what games you are interested in playing. They will put you on lists for those games. You can sign up for more than one game and play in the first one. You can also switch games later on. If you want to play $5–10 Hold’em, but that game has a waiting list, you can take an available seat in a $3–6 game. Ask the manager to notify you when a space in the $5–10 game becomes available.

Buying in: Most tables have a minimum buy-in. Before you begin to play, you must buy a minimum amount of chips, usually $50 in a low-limit game ($5–10 or less). Chips come in standard denominations that are color coded: $1 (white), $5 (red), $25 (green) and $100 (black). Occasionally, players will purchase chips from each other, but some cardrooms have rules against this. If there is a question, ask the dealer.

Games in progress: When you join a game in progress, you will be required to post if you take a seat that the blind position has just passed. To post, you must place a bet equal to the big and small blinds combined in order to receive cards. This money goes into the pot in addition to the money from the current blinds. Like the big blind, you automatically get to see the flop, unless there are raises that you decide not to call. When joining a game in progress, you also have the option to wait until the blind position gets to you and then enter the game as a normal blind. Many people do this because it is cheaper in the long run and lets them observe the game before they play. The blind bets are your cost for receiving those initial pocket cards during the times you are not in the blind position.

Leaving the table during play: You are allowed to temporarily leave your seat. Either leave your chips on the table, or tell the dealer you are taking a break, and the dealer will hold your seat for a specified interval of time, usually a half-hour. No cards will be dealt to your spot unless you are seated at the table. If you miss your turn as a blind, the dealer marks your spot with a button that says “missed blind.” When you return, you will be required to pay the missed blind to get back into the game, or you can wait for the blind to come back to you.

Leaving the game: You can leave a poker game at any time. Tell the dealer your seat is open, pick up your chips and take them to the cashier’s window to exchange them. Dealers do not buy chips back from you.

General Conduct

Poker is a fast moving game, and for beginners, it is intimidating to play. Poker has many unspoken norms for behavior, and you risk quick ostracism if you violate them carelessly. If you are new, don’t hesitate to ask questions of the dealer. Also, most poker players are friendly and will assist newcomers with proper conduct.

Don’t pick up your cards: Leave your cards face-down on the table. Look at them by cupping your hands over them and turning up the corners. Get in the habit of looking at your cards once and leaving them face down. There are many other things to observe at the table, so avoid looking at your cards repeatedly. In addition, many cardrooms have rules against taking your cards off the table. Even where it is permissible, picking up and holding cards is still a bad habit to acquire. It is easy for the players next to you to see your cards if you are holding them in front of you.

Protect your cards: If you win a pot, return the cards to the dealer after the money is pushed to you. If you sit next to the dealer, leave a chip on top of your cards to prevent the cards from being accidentally scooped up. Once your cards are gone, you do not get them back.

Act in turn: Don’t broadcast actions before it is your turn—such as reaching for chips or giving cards back to the dealer. If you fold before someone has a chance to bet, they don’t have to worry about a raise from you. If you bet a good hand before people ahead of you have acted, they may fold, which costs you money. Acting out of turn gives information to opponents that they should not have.

Actions are to fold, check, bet, call, and raise: While most communication is non-verbal, all communication of your intended action, including verbal statements, is binding.

• To fold—Return your cards to the dealer. Do not expose them to anyone.
• To check—Tap the table with your hand.
• To bet or call—Place the money in front of you. State the amount if ambiguous.
• To raise—Place the money in front of you. State the amount if ambiguous, or if the dealer needs to make change from the pot.

Don’t splash the pot: Always put bets in front of you where the dealer can clearly see the amount. Let the dealer handle the money and make change if necessary. If you throw your money directly into the pot, no one is absolutely sure if you bet the correct amount. The game will be interrupted while the dealer counts all the money in the pot, and the other players will be upset with you for causing the break in the action.

Don’t make string bets: A string bet is where you call a bet and then reach back to your pile of chips to raise. You must place all the chips for raise at once, or state your intention to raise out loud.

Don’t give information (especially after you’ve folded): This especially angers other players because it can have a big effect on a hand. If you threw away the A© and now there is a Diamond flush possible on the board, a person holding a King-high flush has the highest possible hand. If you comment out loud about throwing away the Ace, the person with the King can raise to the maximum, now knowing they can’t be beat. If cards are exposed in any way (which happens occasionally by accident), everyone at the table must be shown the card. If you expose your cards to another player, all players at the table can demand to see your cards.

Don’t delay the game: Pay attention. Act in a timely fashion when it is your turn.

Respect the dealer: If the dealer makes a mistake, be polite. If you have just received pocket Aces for example, and there is a misdeal before you have a chance to play them, do not give the dealer a hard time. The cards are not yours until everyone has been properly dealt. If the dealer makes a mistake that negates the deal, that is part of the game.

Respect the other players: Some players become angry when an opponent who makes a bad play happens to win. Berating another player for his or her play of hand is inexcusable.  There is no reason to ever get angry with an opponent even if he or she makes playing decisions that are poor or illogical. You should either be happy that your opponent plays poorly or respect him or her for playing well.