Internet versus live poker continued 3rd post

This will be the final post regarding equipment. The combination of the three posts should provide a pretty well rounded idea of the equipment you will encounter if you decide to play
sometime in a live poker room game. Most are items you do not deal with while playing online.

Card Guards:

Card guards are used to protect your cards during play. You definitely do not want to be in a pot with a great hand and end up losing it because your cards were killed inadvertently. That is just like playing online and losing your internet connection at a key time. I suggest you make sure you have a good card guard to take with you when you go to play in a live game. There are places you can buy one from a very nice selection for about $10.00 US. You may already have something at home that you can use. It should be (if round) about 2"-2 1/2" in diameter and about 3/8" thick. It should weigh at least 2 ounces and preferably 3-4 ounces. Some people use plaques that are rectangular with rounded corners. The weight is very important.
When the hand starts and you are dealt cards, the cards may never leave the table. Put you card guard on top of them. Slide it off when you are looking at them and then slide it back on. If your cards are laying on the table in front of you after a round of betting, even though you called, the dealer may pick your cards up and muck them with the other cards left from those who folded. Once mucked, they are dead. The dealer will not pick your cards up if they are protected with a card guard.
The weight of the guard is so important because on occasion it could be hit by a flying chip that was poorly tossed or by a card someone threw. You don’t want it knocked off your cards.
Some people use silver dollars or some type of medallion. You don’t want anything that sticks up, keep it flat.
Some players are superstitious and may carry 3 or 4 different guards with them and change them depending on how there cards are running.


Round plastic discs smaller in diameter than the chips in play. The dealer uses these to separate the chips in his rack. Hi will separate his chips by inserting a lammer behind every 20th chip. This makes it easier to count down his rack, and much easier to grab 20 chips at a time. Twenty chips is a standard stack in a card room. Some card rooms allow dealers to sell chips out of their racks, some do not and some will only at certain times.


These are a little smaller than a chip, about the same diameter as a lammer. These are usually made of metal and have a logo or some design on the top side and a small knob protruding from the center of the bottom side. You can hold it in two fingers with the knob pointing down and snap it on to your cards and it will spin like a top. Some players like to play with them while they are playing cards, some collect them. They are not very good to use as a card guard, too light. Card rooms give these away with certain promotions. Some tournaments will give one to each of some number of the top finishers. Some times they might just drop one into the pot at the start of a hand every now and then.


Dealer Button.

This button you are probably familiar with as it is in play here at Replay. In most card rooms this button is commonly white and about 2 1/2 " in diameter, 3/8" thick and has DEALER is hot stamped in black on both sides. The position of this button during play, indicates which player would be dealing the cards if this were a home game. The real dealer will deal first to the person to the left of the button and then on around the table and end with the player having the button. this button also lets you know who has the blinds. The first person to the left of the button has the small blind and is first to act. The second player to the left of the button has the big blind. This button helps the dealer keep track of who to deal to first after each round of betting.

Missed Blind Button.

If you leave your seat while playing in a live game and the blind come to you before you return, the dealer will throw a MBB over in front of your chips.when you return to your seat, you will be given the option to post the blind and re enter the game immediately, or wait until the big blind comes around to your seat and enter at that time. If the card room is busy and people are waiting for a seat, the dealer will put a MBB button in front of your chips each time you miss the blind. If the floorman notices very many of theses stacking up in front of your chips, he may pick your chips up, take them to the cage and give your seat to the next one waiting. When you do get back you are on the waiting list for a seat. Most places would not pick you chips up unless you were gone at least 45 minutes, and a little longer if you told them you were going to eat dinner, etc.

Reserved Button.

This button comes in all sizes and colors. Often times in a Casino or Card Room with a hotel attached, a player will call the poker room from their room and ask if their is a game going. Sometimes a regular customer that lives very close will do the same thing. If there is a game and a seat open, they will ask for it to be locked up for them and they are on the way to the poker room. The floorman will tell the dealer to lock up the vacant seat and they will hold it for the player coming in. The dealer will throw a Reserved button in front of that seat. If another player comes in and gets on the waiting list for a seat, they usually will pick the Reserved button up if the original caller in hasn’t arrived within 15-20 minutes and give the seat to the person waiting.

Buy Button.

Used to indicate a player has ordered and paid for chips and a chip runner will be bringing them to the table. During the hand that player declares his bets, calls, etc. to the dealer. The dealer will draw light from the pot and keep track of it. When the chips arrive dealer will take the proper amount of chips needed to make the pot right, and give the rest to the player.

Rebuy button or chip.

Tournament play only. In some tourneys with only one rebuy they will use this chip to keep track of rebuys. They give you the chip with your original buy in chips. When you rebuy you give your rebuy button or chip to the dealer along with the money for the rebuy fee and he keeps that in his rack to indicate each rebuy made. Most houses don’t use these anymore, they just have the dealer check a box on a list of seat numbers and keep it in his rack.

Add ons,

Some houses use a button or chip to keep track of addons just like mentioned about with rebuy buttons. These are still used in most card rooms today even though it can be done by the dealer on paper.

All IN Button:

At one time it was fairly common to see a dealer throw an all in button over in front of a player who has indicated all in. The button lets the other players know that player has gone all in even though they still have chips in front of them. Today this button is rarely used. Dealers more often just announce a player is all in and looks at the other players still in the hand to be sure they are aware of it.

KILL and HALF KILL Buttons:

These are large buttons, usually about 4" in diameter and commonly yellow or red. One says KILL on both sides, the other says HALF KILL on both sides. Some times situations occur in card rooms that bring about the use of these buttons. An example would be that on a given day, the regular morning crowd left a little early. It is 3 pm and the after work players wont start coming in until about 5 pm. There are 5 players waiting for a $10-$20 no limit holdem game to begin and there are 5 other players waiting for a $20-$40 game to start. The shift manager will ask one group if they would be interested in playing the other limit. If they decline, he will ask the second group. If they say no also, he may get the 2 groups together and offer a compromise so they can have a game. He might offer to spread a $10-$20 game with either a Full Kill or a Half Kill. If they agree and it is a $10-$20 Full Kill game, it proceeds as follows: The first hand is at the $10-$20 limit. A Kill Button is place into the first pot by the dealer and when hand is complete the chips and button are pushed to the winner. The Kill button stays in front of that player during the next hand. The kill button will move from player to player each pot until a player wins two hands in a row. When that happens, that player keeps the Kill button for the next hand. The limit for that hand will be $20-$40. If they were playing Half Kill the limits would go to $15-$30. As long as the player keeps winning pots the limits remain at the increased levels. Once someone else wins a pot it goes back to $10-$20 until someone wins two in a row. In High Low Omaha instead of two pots in a row, the Kill or Half Kill is activated by a player winning the whole pot.
When a hand in either game goes to a Kill or Half Kill situation, the blinds remain $5-$10 and the person with the Kill or Half Kill will put either $20 or $15 on top of the kill-half kill button in front of him. In some houses the betting goes around in the normal order and when it gets to the killer he has already posted but he can check if no raises in front of him, or call if there were or raise and the betting continues around the table in the normal manner. In some houses they give the killer last action. In that case when the betting gets to the killer it skips over him and then comes back to him at the end of the round giving him last action.
Kill and Half Kill games have become fairly popular now and some card rooms are spreading them on a regular basis.

Most Pots Won (MPW) Buttons.

A promotion to generate more play from locals. Players earn entry into a Freeroll Tournament sponsored by the house. House will advertise that the tournament entry period will run for one month. At that time the top 60 or any number they choose , on the MPW list have won entry into the tourney.
During open play that month the dealer will give a MPW button to each player signed up for the promotion each time they win the pot in holdem or win the high part of the pot in hi/lo Omaha. The house may set a $ limit on the size of the pot won to qualify for a button. When you finish playing you go to the cage and cash in your chips and turn in your buttons. They will record the number of MPW that you have. A list of all participants is posted somewhere in the Card Room and updated daily so player know where they stand. similar to the leader boards here in Replay Poker.

3rd Man Walking Button.

Obviously the name is not politically correct. It probably should be called a 3rd person walking button.
When a table gets short on players, the card room wants to keep the game going so they can fill it up as players come in. But, players do not like to play short as the blinds come around much to often. So, most of the time if a game gets down to 7 handed the house will reduce the rake by $1 per hand, $2 if down to 6 players and will not take any rake if 5 handed or less until they gain a player. It is normal fro players playing lengthy sessions to leave the table to eat their meals and then continue playing upon their return. It is not uncommon to see two seats empty for some period of time at dinner time. At this stage the third man walking rule comes into play. It states that if anyone else leaves the table, their chips will be blinded off when it comes around to them if they are not back by then. The dealer will throw a 3rd Man Walking button in front of your chips when you leave the table. Usually a person can leave after their small blind and have time to go use the restroom and be back by the time the big blind gets around to them. The pace is a lot slower than online.

OVER button:

These buttons are somewhat similar to Kill or Half Kill buttons in that they combine players wanting different games. These buttons are usually about 3" in diameter and come in all colors, but will always be the same color in a game they are being used in.
In this situation it might be 5 players waiting for a $10-$20 limit holdem game and 5 other players waiting for a no limit holdem game. If they agree to combine, each of the no limit players are given on OVER button that stays out in front of their chips. The blinds are $5-$10 and the limits are $10-$20 and the game is played this way as long as any of the limit players are in the hand. At any time that there are only players with on OVER button still in the hand, it becomes no limit for the remainder of that hand.

This concludes my postings on card room equipment. I have skipped some things that are rarely used. The combination of the 3 posts I have made pretty well covers this topic and if you go to play live for the first time, you should not likely have any surprises in this area.
If you have any questions I can help with, just let me know.

Best Wishes,



Wow! Seville, you ready to put this into a small pamphlet booklet? It is a real treasure… I’ve got to go back and reread it several times so that I can ingest it…

I had the privilege of dealing cards at the Hayward card palace in Hayward California in August 1973, just before the W SOP I got to meet some of the early great players, and I assure you that none of these things were in vogue at the time!

Thank you for bringing me into the 21st-century… Micki

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Thank you Micki,

I have chips from the old Card Palace in Hayward, CA. in my chip collection. I was in Hayward a few times, but never had time to play…

Did you get my email add I sent ?

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Great post my friend…:sunglasses:

No… I think this arrived when mom was in the hospital… So I’ll go look for it!