In the past, we’ve looked at some ways to live it up in Las Vegas when you don’t have much money to spend –– despite that being almost a counterintuitive approach to a city of excess!
On this same topic, playing poker isn’t always an appealing option when you’re traveling on a budget, despite the fact that it’s one of the defining activities of Las Vegas. Losing your money is never fun, and it’s not a good idea when you’re trying to… you know… save money. However, if you take the right approach, you can still have some fun at the tables without needing a large bankroll, or a foundation of expertise.
Here, we’ll give you a few tips on how to enjoy a bit of Vegas poker without breaking the bank.
Don’t try to be James Bond
Okay, we all want to be James Bond in one way or another. But aiming to look glamorous and win a fortune will distract you. The main idea here is to simply enjoy yourself and have fun with the game. Trying too hard to look badass (even though we all want to do the same thing) is ultimately likely to cost you money, and can lead to a disappointing experience. So it’s better to leave the fancy clothes and cool poker antics we see in the movies at home. Besides, Bond’s most famous poker scene is full of errors anyway, so it’s not exactly the right example to follow!
Know the basic terms
The best way to ensure you enjoy an in-person poker experience is to get yourself acquainted with the lingo. Learning some of the common poker terms will help you to understand everything that’s going on at the table –– as well as to look the part, so to speak. This way, you don’t stand out as a beginner (whereas if you do, there’s a possibility that more experienced players will try to take advantage of you). The first terms you should keep an eye out for are “big blind” (the mandatory bet that rotates around with each hand) and “no-limit,” which as it sounds, means that you can bet your entire stack at any time. Even beyond these though, there’s a bit of a language to learn in order to get the most out of the tables.
Familiarize yourself with Texas Hold’em
This is the most popular version of poker, and the variety you’ll usually find in most casinos. In Texas Hold’em, each player is dealt two face-down cards, called your “hole cards.” Check them, but don’t show them to anyone! Then you can either check, bet, or fold. The dealer then lays out three cards, which constitute the “flop.” After another round of betting, the dealer adds a fourth and finally (after yet another round), fifth community card. You then play the best hand you can using your two hole cards and any three of the communal ones. So long as you nail all of this down, you’ll be able to have some fun even at the low-stakes Hold’em tables.
Find more casual poker rooms
Playing at a high-stakes table can be unnecessarily stressful, and the last thing you want on your vacation is stress. So instead, keep an eye out for low- or no-stakes tables where you can play for fun. In general on a trip to Vegas, you may want to stop by the Aria to shop, or visit the Bellagio to see the fountains…. But these headlines casinos are not usually the best places to stick around for poker, as they tend to have more upscale, high-level rooms. You’re more likely to find a game your speed at places like Bally’s, The Mirage, and Excalibur.
To enjoy your night(s) out on the town, it’s not required that you learn every single thing about poker –– nor that you amass a big bankroll. Just the basics are enough to help you have a good time and maybe pick up a thing or two as you’re playing. Also, don’t feel like you have to blast through your budget. Keep your losses below the amount of money you’d set aside for this, and you’ll be stress-free.