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First Poker Tournament: A Beginner’s Guide

First Poker Tournament: A Beginner’s Guide 



How Do Poker Tournaments Work?

Before you sit down to play in your first poker tournament, it's important to do a bit of research. Tournaments are an excellent way for beginners to learn how to play the game of poker. Tournaments provide new and experienced players with large payouts, level playing fields and plenty of time on the felt. Furthermore, a tournament is a one-time investment, allowing the player to budget their monetary risk by limiting the amount of times they buy in. Ultimately, any tournament player can win the top prize spending only the amount required for one registration.

Playing live poker for the first time can be daunting. Our advice? Don't be overwhelmed, and remember to go out and enjoy your tournament. That's what it's all about!


What to Expect in Your First Live Tournament

In order to enter a tournament, all players must register at the Borgata Poker Cage for the event. Players need to have a valid ID and an M life card. Players pay a pre-determined amount consisting of the buy-in and the entry fee. So, you’ve found the perfect first poker tournament to play, arrived at the casino within the open registration time and have registered at the Borgata Poker Cage. Now what?

The Cashier will provide you with a Yellow Registration Ticket. In addition to your information, the ticket will also display your Table and Seat number. You can locate your Table yourself or you can ask the nearest Poker Supervisor for directions and they will happily escort you to the table. Poker Seat numbers begin with 1 to the left of the dealer and proceed clockwise around the table to Seat 10. Seats 5 and 6 are directly in front of the Casino dealer.


How Long Does it Take to Play a Tournament?

The average poker tournament will last approximately 6 to 8 hours. The good news is that tournaments also provide players with 15-minute breaks after every 4 to 6 levels, depending on how long the levels are. You may also get up from the table at your leisure but know that if you are in a blind position, your blinds will be forfeited if you aren’t at the table to play your hand.


Poker Etiquette

Before you head off to the casino for your first poker tournament, it's a good idea to make sure you brush up on the basics of poker etiquette. You don’t want anyone else on the table to know what you have, so always protect your hand. Only you should know what your cards are; so never be the player that shows another player their cards. This is considered disrespectful. All players on the table are entitled to an unimpeded view of their opponent’s chip stack and that chip stack should be neatly kept. Always pay attention to the action - the last thing any player wants to do is accidentally call an opponent’s raise or give away information early by checking or betting when it’s not your turn yet. One last note, whether you are in the hand or out of the hand, discussing the hand while it’s going on is a definite - do not do!


Live Poker Tournament Strategy

There are many different strategies and many levels of strategy depending on your poker skill level. The following are just a few simple poker tournament strategies for beginners. Many players find no interest in playing low games, but you need to see that your goal is to learn poker strategy and not to waste money while doing that. Always start at low stakes.

Another key strategy when you are starting out is to play only your strongest hands and avoid many tough decisions post flop. This will let you play less, but more aggressively when you decide to take your hand into action. Also, concentrate on using your position and playing tight-aggressive approach and it can take you quite far.


Feel ready to get in on the action? Check out our Poker Tournaments page and plan your visit today!