Beginner poker/bass advice!

My Knights of Columbus 4th Degree Assembly asked me to learn how to run charity poker events to raise funds for our charitable causes. The current chairman is up in years and will eventually bow out from taking care of all the scheduling and licensing (Michigan Gaming Board), so he is training me to take over for him. We go through an actual state licensed poker room that provides all the equipment and dealers.
I’m a blackjack player and Firekeepers and Soaring Eagle Casinos in Michigan have thoroughly enjoyed my many contributions to their overall profit margins, but since working the poker tournaments I’ve really become interested in learning how to play poker……especially not making a fool out of myself the first time I get the nerve up to actually play in a tournament or cash game. (When I work a poker event, I don’t play; I run cash and chips, and entering all the transactions into a computer. I’ve never played at a live poker table……yet!)
So, wanting to learn, I’ve been on YouTube watching a lot of poker strategy videos. OH MY GOSH!!! What are they talking about? What are the meanings of the myriad of “slang” terms they use like “raise for value”, “under the gun”, loose range pre-flop”??? They talk so fast and throw a TON of information at you, that it gets very confusing very fast!!! I just want to play, not get a Master’s Degree in pokerology!!! I’ll sort through it and eventually get my nerve up to play a live game soon, but I know when I finally sit in that chair, get my buy-in in front of me, and get my first two cards in hand, that I WILL forget EVERYTHING from the YouTube videos!!! Hahaha.
Which is the point of this very verbose post. Isn’t this the same for beginner bass players who go to YouTube or a bass guitar forum to start to learn to play bass? Tons of information being fire hosed at them in which they can’t tell what is correct and what’s garbage. Or when they go on a forum (not BassBuzz because people are nice and give awesomely correct advice!) and ask for help and get inundated with so many long and wrong suggestions/answers that all that happens is that they get overwhelmed, confused, and dejected! Before you know it, the amp gets shut off and covered, the bass gets put into its case then into a closet, the both never to be seen again!!!
What I am thinking of doing about my poker is to walk around the room and observe. Most of the players know me for running chips and such so they are comfortable having me watch games. I have, and will continue, to pick the brains of the managers and dealers for advice. When I think I’m ready, I’ll finally get my nerve up to sit at my first live poker table.
I think that should be the advice for newbie bass players………forget the videos, go to see bands at a bar and get to know the bass player. Find an experienced teacher. Pick their brains on how best to learn. Practice their lessons and suggestions. Eventually, they will get up the nerve to play that bass live in front of a crowd and enjoy the wonderfulness of being on stage!!!
Enough of my ramblings!!!
Have a great day!


Or what’s correct, but too advanced. I think this is one of the biggest issues with YouTube “education”. You pretty much always need a fundamental understanding of the topic already and one or two “Beginner Guide” videos never cuts it.

RE: your poker situation, you’d probably be well served joining or organizing a low-stakes home game, the bass/music equivalent to a jam session.


I am a seasoned poker player. Been playing since 2002 as a 12 year old, started when the WSOP started getting popular on TV and never looked back. I have honestly played tens of thousands of hands - cash games, private tournaments, casino tournaments, you name it.

There is so much to learn in this game that it would be impossible to give you all the information you need in a single post. Like playing the bass, the only way to get better at poker is to just go and play. You learn the most from your losses, and that’s not something you can learn online. Every person is different, and while poker is definitely a card game, it is much more a psychological game. I have won hands while purposefully not even looking at my cards. It’s all about how you bet, when you bet, and whether or not your opponents believe you. I will assume you understand the basics of poker, how the hands are ranked, etc.

I would also advise against going too heavy into the terminology as it will just confuse you and isn’t always necessary to know. “Under the gun” refers to your position on the table on that particular hand. It will generally mean you are in the small blind, and therefore first to act after the flop, turn, and river. This puts you “under the gun” since you are forced to act first before seeing what the other players are going to do. This can be a tough spot to be in, and generally speaking you want a strong hand to be raising or calling a raise in that position. You can also be “under the gun” even if you’re not in the small blind - all it means is that you will be the first action on each subsequent round of betting. Being on the button is the best spot to be, since you will be last to act and get to see what everyone else is doing before making your decision. It is always important to consider how many players are left to act after you when determining whether to bet.

A few general tips - don’t chase straights and flushes. I played a cash game a long time ago as a teenager, and one of my buddies dads was at the table. He told us “those who chase straights and flushes come in cars and leave in busses.” That stuck with me and is usually true lol.

Always raise with a strong starting hand. If you’re holding K-K don’t just call and let some garbage hand like 9-4 get to see a free flop - they might get lucky and bust you, then you look like a jackass for letting them stay in the hand. Sometimes it’s best to slow play, so if you have K-K and hit a third K on the flop, you can sucker your opponents in with a check and hope they made a hand.

Don’t play crappy cards. This is a no brainer but sometimes we can be tempted to play junk, especially if you haven’t seen any decent hands in a while. Sometimes this pays off, as no one is really expecting you to be playing a 7-5 off suit, but generally you will lose.

Don’t become predictable! If you sit there and fold every hand for an hour straight then suddenly raise 5x the big blind pre flop, everyone is going to know you have a monster hand. Sometimes you have to play marginal hands just so you don’t become the guy that everyone identifies as the rookie that only plays A-K.

Bluff! Bluffing is an integral part of the game and will keep your opponents off balance. If you make a great bluff and get everyone to fold - show it! When your opponents see that you just made a huge bet with nothing, they won’t know what to expect from you. You might also convince them that you are a loose player and next time you make a big bet (hopefully with a strong hand) your opponents might be more willing to call you.

Learn to read other players. As I said, poker is mostly a psychological game. Every person is different and that’s the biggest challenge of the game, because no two tables will ever be the same. You have to understand what certain bets mean at certain times. If someone raised pre-flop, then continues to bet aggressively, that’s a sign they have a strong hand. It would be foolish to call or raise this player unless you also have a strong hand. Don’t try to bluff when someone is telling you they have the hand won.

Learn your own tells! This is just as important as reading other players. We all do things subconsciously when we’re at the table. If you have ever seen the movie Rounders (if you haven’t, stop what you’re doing and watch it immediately!), one character has a tell that ends up being their downfall. I won’t spoil the movie, but you’ll know what I mean when you see it. Sometimes a tell can be something minuscule, like shuffling your chips when you have a strong hand. It could be the way you sigh when you don’t have good cards or your body positioning at the table - do you sit up very straight when dealt A-A? Things like this go a long way in figuring people out. It’s just as important to notice your own behavior as it is to notice your opponents behavior. If you can identify your own tells, you can use them to your advantage by repeating that behavior to trick your opponents.

Don’t talk too much! You will give away information. This is a great way to get a read on a player. If they have made a big bet, try to get them to talk. Especially try to get them to laugh. When people are feeling comfortable, they’re more willing to talk and will generally laugh at a good joke. This means they have a great hand. A person that is bluffing will usually try to remain as silent as possible as to not give any indication that they might be bluffing. Good players know this, so you’ll often find the best players rarely talk during a hand. They will remain mostly silent regardless of their cards, so this strategy doesn’t work with everyone.

Some other terms you might hear are things like “pot odds”, which refers to the amount you have to bet in relation to how much money is in the pot. If there’s a $50 pot, and someone bets $5, well now you only have to call $5 for the potential to win all $60, which, depending on where you are in the betting, is a great value. Risk vs reward.

“pot committed” is when you have already thrown a bunch of money into the pot. If the pot is $100 and you’ve bet $40 already, well, you might want to stick around to protect your previous bets. You’ll find this happening often, and usually is a crappy spot to be in since you can’t really fold, but are probably losing.

“raise for value” is something I haven’t heard specifically, but what they probably mean is to make a situational raise. Like I said earlier, if you are on the button sometimes it’s a good strategy to raise from that position even if you have a crappy hand. Since you’re last to act, it puts pressure on the remaining players, and you will also get to act last after the flop. Usually this is referred to as a “position raise”. Just like being “under the gun”, it doesn’t mean you are on the button (since that player may have folded), it just means you will be the last to act in every subsequent round of betting. It’s always important to consider your position on the table when making any bet. It might also refer to a bet you make when you have a monster hand. Let’s say you have the best possible hand that could be made given the cards on the table (this hand is referred to as “the nuts”). Instead of making a huge bet, which will likely scare off your opponents, you could make a “value raise” and just bet or raise a small amount - an amount that will make it difficult for your opponents to fold. You’re basically just trying to suck in as much $ as possible knowing that you have the hand won.

“loose range pre flop” is referring to the range of cards you are willing to play before seeing a flop. If your range is “loose” that means you’re playing basically anything pre flop. Conversely a “tight range” would mean you are only playing strong hands pre flop.

I hope some of that info is helpful and I am happy to answer any questions you might have! Like I said, the only way to get better is to play. I would encourage you to gather some friends and family and play in a friendly $20 buy in game and just play as many hands as possible. They say poker is a game that takes minutes to learn and a lifetime to master and that is absolutely spot on. Good luck buddy!


Wow!!! Advice directly from someone who has mega amounts of experience!!! You are awesome and I will put into practice all that you have shared with me!! :+1::grin: This is WONDERFUL!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! That’s how it should be done, actual personal advice from an experienced player and putting it into practice. You give me confidence to finally sit in at my first live table to play, to enjoy it, but also to keep in mind to LEARN from my “newbie” experiences………:grin:………

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Glad I could help! I am pretty passionate about poker as you may have noticed. Get out there and play! You’re going to make mistakes, bet out of turn, lose some bad beats…it’s all part of the game. Most important aspect of playing poker is to have fun and don’t beat yourself up if and when you don’t win!


Sounds exactly like playing bass

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If someone is starting with Poker, I would recommend 2 things. 1) micro-stake multi-tabling (playing at more tables at once) at some reliable online Poker portal. It will give you much more hands and experience to learn the basics. 2) Never play for free. Poker without real money, especially in the beginning, will give you an absolutely skewed view of the game and how people behave with cards in hand and on the table. Funnily enough, as soon as you have even a 50c buy-in, people tend to play exactly the same way as if there was 10k in the pot. :smiley:

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Hello Ant!
I’ve taken your poker advice to heart and have played in two $35 buy-in charity poker tournaments. No cash games yet. I can handle losing $35, but not $200 buy-ins at those tables since I’m a rookie. I play at a place in which I’ve worked charity poker and know the dealers and some of the regulars.
So far I’ve focused mostly on getting used to the procedures because I was very nervous about making sure I played in turn, had the proper blinds when my turn, following the bets, raises, and checks. I’m a little more comfortable with that, so my next few times I’ll be able to slowly transition to working on my game using your suggestions.
Since the dealers and some of the players know me, they have all been very helpful. And yes, it is no secret I’m a newbie! Plus, I’ve been using winnings from a very profitable blackjack session at a local casino to cover my $35 buy-ins. My doctor says I drink too much beer, so cutting back on the suds I can save a few bucks to play a couple times a month!
If anything, I am thoroughly enjoying the learning experience and the players!
That’s my update!

Glad you’re having fun! I go into my poker games wanting to win, but expecting to lose. I feel that’s the best way to handle gambling in general, it takes away a lot of the pressure.

Once you get used to the order of the game and the natural flow of hands you’ll start to see how my suggestions fit into the game. The procedural elements of the game become second nature, that’s when the real poker starts.

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Hello again, Ant!
Update on my new adventures in poker since I last reported on Bass Buzz.
I finished 12th in a tournament out of 63 in my last $35 buy-in event! So I am getting comfortable and learning A LOT!
I felt like I was ready for my first $1/$2 cash game……:woozy_face::woozy_face::woozy_face::woozy_face::woozy_face::woozy_face:…….I was handed my hat!!! BUT! The players knew me from my volunteer work and who very accommodating, even to the point of running two boards with my last $10 “all in”!!! I did end up with a pair of aces on one board, beaten by three 9s!!!, and beaten by a flush on the other! I was shaking like a leaf the whole time!!! My dealer friends said they know I play well (I didn’t think so!) and that my nerves just got in the way of my common sense!!!..…that I’ll be more comfortable with more experience.
Taking a break because I just worked three charity poker events in two weeks which raised $15,000 for various charities!
Will go back to play a tournament in a week or so. Just need a break from too many hours running chips/cash, keeping track of the register, and entering everything into a computer……:grin:…….
Focusing on playing strong tight hands in position and being aggressive when needed.
Thanks again for your support!

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