Playing in CA Indian territory

Last weekend I went to an Indian casino and played in a poker room for the very first time. After being card dead for 5 hours and losing my initial buy in I left and had some questions I hoped everyone here could help me with.

First is the buy in amount, I played $1/$2 and the buy in was capped at 50x the big blind. I was uncomfortable with it but played anyway since I had made the effort to get there and after leaving I am even more convinced I shouldn’t have sat down. At 50x the bb after getting involved in any hand to the flop I felt at a disadvantage when comparing available bets going forward on that hand and suddenly being pot committed before the river. Is 50x the bb a normal buy in limit or was that unique to the casino I set foot in.

Second is the rake at $4 per pot plus $1 for a promotion (bad beat jackpot). That feels high for a $1/$2 game…what is normal for a casino rake at these stakes?

Finally I knew I was card dead at my seat relatively quickly but this was the only $1/$2 table in the room and my question concerns etiquette at a live table. Can I change to any open seat at a table whenever I want?

I look forward to your input.

Went to an Indian casino for the first time 2 weeks ago today. Their buy-in was also capped @ 50x BB. Don’t recall what the rake was but suspect it was similar. Better luck/skill next time.


@gokingsgo1964 - Sorry that your 1st visit to a poker room wasn’t a better experience. Doesn’t sound like a particularly great room though and I hope you will try again, perhaps in a more traditional establishment or a private poker club?

$1/$2 games are called 200NL because the standard buy-in is 100BB, or $200. I do not know the minimum buy ins for every casino but typically the minimum is 50BB, or $100 at these stakes. Maximums also vary but I haven’t seen games capped at 100BB. Many are capped at 150BB.

Again, rake varies by location but typical is 10% of pot with a $4 cap at this stake. A $4 flat rake per pot sounds crazy to me. I’m not even going to address the extra $1 for the bad beat jackpot.

To change seats but stay at the same table, ask the dealer for a change seat button. You cannot just get up and move to an empty chair. In a room where there is more than 1 table, if you wish to change tables, ask a floor-person and they will help you. You cannot just go to another table and sit down.

I hope this helps a little. From what you described, I would never walk into that room with my money.

Added: I looked up the 200NL game at Borgata in Atlantic City, just to double check on what I was recalling. Here is a link to the details of that game. You can look up information on pretty much every major poker room in the US from this site:

Added part 2 - I spent some time looking up 1/2 games in other locations and it seems that games in California and a few other places are much more in line with what you saw at the game you played. Therefore, my best advice is to look up the room you are interested in before going to make sure the house rules are to your liking.

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…wrong exchange sorry

Thanks Warlock,

Never considered looking this up before entering the game (ie the long drive down). That’s good information to have and after reading your input I’ll only enter a game that is structured in a way that is familiar and comfortable for me.

Good luck on the tables.