First foray into live Vegas poker play


I was brimming with excitement. After watching hours and hours of poker on television, after playing online for three months, I was finally ready to tackle the tables in Vegas.  Or was I ?

I plunk down my 200 bucks at Bally’s and nervously sit-in with a group of folks that looked like they woke up in these seats. I felt so out-of-place, nervous and thinking way too much. This was my first foray into live poker play, and I think it showed.

My play was deliberate, the mind always making sure the mechanics of my play were in line with proper table etiquette. “Damn, this is hard,” I thought.

I was mucking nearly every hand for 30 minutes, but then it happened, I finally got a hand. I was dealt King/Queen suited. Knowing nothing about position at the time I “called” some bets in front of me and waited for the flop.

KING     EIGHT    QUEEN  (rainbow)

This was quite the flop for this newbie. I tried to play it cool knowing I was ahead but didn’t want to give it way with movements or tells. All the while having a pretty good idea that any poker player with skills would have seen the glee on my face.

I remember 8 dollars was bet into the pot, the woman to my right folded and the action came to me. I called. The man to my left called and we were going to see the turn.


I had just turned a boat !!!! I had turned a boat. My head raced in exultation. My foot started to tap. I almost couldn’t contain my wonderful good fortune. I have no doubts that a smile was peaking from the side of my mouth. “Oh my God ! I have a full house. I am going to win this pot. I love this. I love you. I love everybody. Viva Las Vegas,” I thought.

Three of us were in the hand and the bet was 15 dollars to me. Trying to use my best “I have nothing in my hand” face. I proceeded to scan the board, look at my chips, take a deep breath, sigh, and then what happened next was simply classic.


Yep, in my glee to win the hand, my uncontrollable happiness, I couldn’t stand it and I flipped my cards over. It took me roughly 1.8 seconds to realize what I had done, but once I did there was a permeable gasp at the table and then laughter. There was an immediate fold from the gentleman behind me and the initial better folded too.  The laughter continued as people looked at me, giggled and shook their heads. “it’s my first time,” I exclaimed. Collecting my pot and stacking my chips was never and has never been so embarrassing.

I was fodder for the rest of the table over the next few hours and eventually my 200 bucks was being stacked into the mountain of chips by some of the better players at the table.

I would not change a thing about this first experience playing live poker. It was embarrassing and costly but it was also important in my maturation as a player. Being a novice it really couldn’t be much worse than that. Now that I am an experienced player, I am thinking about hitting the table and pulling that maneuver off again, playing dumb and then trapping these peeps.

Poker is the ultimate game of deception. Now that I have developed the skills to play at the big boys table, it might serve me well to lay the ground-work for a trap using my perceived naivety.

We shall see….

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