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Rules Of Play
 

Strange as it may seem, the rules of play aren't standard in American casinos, not even in all the casinos in Las Vegas or in Reno, for example. This fault lies with the Gaming Commission of Nevada, which doesn't require standard rules and doesn't even require a particular casino to post the standard and prevalent rules in that individual club. In fact, the situation is so chaotic that rules may change from table to table in each casino.

I can mention personal experiences which have been frustrating because of this situation. Playing alone at a table, head to head with the dealer, I was making opening and neutral bets of $15, raising them to $30 when the deck was favorable and lowering them to $5 when the cards were unfavorable. I was also playing two hands at a time, since I was alone, and this enabled me to slow down the game and also made it easier for me to thoroughly count the cards.

I had played for about half an hour against one dealer, then he took his break and another dealer took over. When the deck next became unfavorable, I reduced both bets to $5, but this dealer informed me that if I played two hands at a $5 minimum table, I'd have to bet at least $10 a hand as my minimum bet. I told him that the previous dealer had allowed me to bet only $5.
"I'm sorry; you'll have to bet $10."
"Where does it state that I have to bet $10?" I asked.
The dealer disregarded my question and called over a floor man, who informed me that $10 was the minimum bet at a $5 table when playing two hands, even though this same floor man had been watching my play before and had seen me bet $5 a hand.

It's this kind of arbitrary rule-making that's not only irritating but illegal, as far as I'm concerned. If these are rules for the game, then the Gaming Commission should enforce them, or at least have them posted.

In most of the Vegas casinos it's impossible to know what the rules of that house are. Nothing is posted, either on the walls or at the tables. A player must ask for every option allowed. In Northern Nevada and Atlantic City the situation is a little bit better, since the important rules concerning doubling down and splitting cards are posted at the tables.
To clear up the mysterious Las Vegas rules, let's first deal with the Vegas casinos, which are the center of gambling in America.

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As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap
 
I've already discussed how people tend to project their own values onto others. You can take this a step further in the psychology of reading other players hands, and in how they read yours. If you're up against a level one "strong means weak" player, he will probably think you employ the same "clever" strategy.

To play poker at a strong level, you need to study yourself, your opponents, your opponents' view of you, and (if you still have any energy left) what you think your opponents think you think of them.

To do that, you need to study and remember everything that happens at the table. In online poker, this is fairly easy: Almost every site now has a note-taking feature that allows you to store useful notes like "Likes to over bet pre-flop with small pairs."
 
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