The notion of playing live cash poker games against total strangers might intimidate you, but getting started involves the same steps for everyone, whether you’re a card-room novice or a card-room regular.
The steps? Checking in and buying chips.
Everyone’s visits must begin at a host station. There, players are required to check in with a host, who’s usually sitting behind a computer screen. If there’s an open seat at a game in progress, the host will slot you in and instruct you where to go. If there are no open seats, the host puts you on a waiting list.
These lists work like customer service queues—players who have been waiting the longest are first in line. As other names are called, you move up the list.
After you’ve gotten comfortable in your seat and are ready to take money from your opponents, it’s time to get chips. Some card rooms have people exclusively charged with exchanging players’ cash for chips. Other card rooms exchange chips the old-fashioned way: right there at the table.
The dealer will tell you which method his card room employs and make sure you get the chips you seek. After that, it’s time to heed Lady Gaga and put on your poker face, because you’re on your own!