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5 Things Live Poker Players Take For Granted

Copag Playing Cards

The other night, I played in a home game for the first time in years. It was a friendly game, but it was clear that most of these players had never stepped in a live poker room.

While playing the game, I realized that many poker players become spoiled in recent years thanks to either technology or the rules by which modern poker games are played. Here are a few things that poker players tend to take for granted.

Automatic Shufflers

Early on, it became apparent that I knew how to handle a deck of cards better than anyone at the table, and before long, I was asked to deal the entire night. I was getting tired by the end of the night because of having to shuffle and deal cards every hand.

This made me realize how spoiled we have become with automatic shufflers. The machine does all of the shuffling and the most we have to do is have a dealer pitch cards. Of course, with online poker all of these actions are automated. Automatic shuffler makes the game so much faster and does a better job at shuffling cards.

Betting Structures

We don’t usually give a second thought to how we bet in poker cash games, but this home game reminded me of the importance of a set betting structure. For example, a $2-$4 Limit game has $2 bets and raises on the flop. If you are playing NL Hold’em, the minimum bet is the size of the big blind.

You don’t have to worry about deciding that we are going to be $1 per round one game and $5 per round the next. While NL Hold’em has no limit on betting, they have to bet at least the blind. They can’t just throw in $1 when you’re playing $1-$2 NL Hold’em.


We never give a second thought to playing with poker chips at a table in a poker room. That’s the norm. It makes it easy to determine how much someone has in front of them and how much a bet is.

Poker Chips

This game was playing using cash only. That made it tough to gauge what some players had in front of them. Furthermore, it was not the most sanitary of games either. This was made worse by the fact that COVID-19 is going around.

Quality Playing Cards

When is the last time you played poker with a store brand deck of cards? Back in the day, I wouldn’t play with anything other than Bicycle cards at home games. Nowadays, we have become used to Copag cards or other high-quality cards that even Bicycle cards are viewed as lower quality.

Lower quality cards open the door for potential cheating and sometimes they tend to stick and bunch up. This slows down the dealer and slows down the game. There’s nothing worse than using a dollar store deck of cards to play poker. I respect people who go overboard for quality cards for their home games.


One thing I have always appreciated about live card rooms is that there’s security around. If you have a problem, you can get some help pretty quickly. If you need an escort to your car, someone can hang with you from security.

When things go wrong in a home game, you either have to hope that someone will back you up or that you are able to defend yourself. We had two players get a bit plastered and they wanted to go after each other.

Fortunately, they were too hammered to really cause a problem but I’ve seen situations that is not the case. In fact, that is one reason I don’t play home games that often. I’d rather have some backup when people start acting a fool.

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