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Fitting In

These are the words of the Smiling Spy, writing about Atlantic City:
I have been playing full-time for nine months and have tried many playing styles to remain one jump ahead of the casino people. Clean-shaven, I have an image as a friendly "dumb" player throwing his money away. With a beard, I find I am suspected before I sit down solely on appearance, even though I dress well and try to look rich.

I get the least heat playing the $100-minimum tables where, remarkably, there are some of the worst players. Playing a black check ($100) at a low-limit table brings immediate attention. The dealer calls out "black in action" and the floorman rushes over to stare at me. At a high-limit table, purple-check ($500) action does not raise an eyebrow; the attitude toward big action there is blase. Winning $1000 at a low-limit table will create an anxious atmosphere, but winning $3000 at a high-limit table passes unnoticed.

Peter Giles says:

I have been playing $25 to $100. I am afraid if I up my bets I will have to play more conservatively. This is common, and I usually opt for a smaller bet and a greater advantage.

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Basic Poker Rules and Concepts
Right now, let's go over some of the basic rules and concepts that underlie most, if not all, forms of poker.

Two to ten players can play simultaneously at one table; the maximum practical number varies a bit from game to game, depending on the rules and how many cards each player gets.

A standard 52-card deck is employed, usually without a joker. There are 13 ranks in such a deck, which from lowest value to highest are 2, 3, 4, S, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J (jack), Q (queen), K (king), and A (ace). Each rank comes in one of four suits: clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades. Although it can be very helpful to be dealt a hand where all your suits match (this would be either a flush or a straight flush), it's usually no better to hold cards in one suit than another; that is, spades aren't inherently stronger than hearts, or vice versa (with some very minor exceptions that you'll learn in Chapter 8). If you and your opponent hold cards of equal rank, you have an equal claim to the pot and would therefore split it.
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