Many bars in the US are now offering free poker games. There are several leagues round town, but one of the more popular ones in the Denver Colorado area is the Denver Poker Tour.
I've been playing these games for the last year or so. I've also played at some others games in Denver and through out the country when I travel. But I've become of fan of these games.
Various bar location allow you to sign up either before the day by calling. But some others have a sign up sheet available at 6PM depending on the bar. I like to call ahead so that I'm not on the waiting list.
The games usually start at 7PM with 500 in chips. The blinds start at 5/10 for at least an hour or until the waiting list is finish. The blinds go up to 10/20 at 8PM and can increase every 20 to 30 minutes. Later in the game in a bigger game they have antes at 200/400 level.
There is a dealer. This is so important, I've played games in other bars where there is no dealer, this makes the game run more smoothly and quicker.
There is bar tab for 1-3 place finishers. First place finishers at the location get into regional/monthly finals where the top finishers can win a seat to a WSOP circuit event.
Why play in a free bar game when the games are loose and silly. It's legal. Live Poker is different from playing online. I felt I needed to learn about social playing. When I play at these games, I look for tells and watch people react to cards and try to figure out what they have. There are the betting patterns, but how they react to the game is interesting. There are some good players at higher levels. The regulars at bars who can play after 9PM tend to be better players. So if I can beat theses players I know I'm improving.
- Don't bluff or force people off hands until 9PM. Continue bets are okay, but fold if challenged.
- People who don't know what they are doing tend to over play their hands.
- They don't see what's not out there. (eg, an overpair)
- Over estimate any pair good kicker. I've won a lot of pots with bottom top pair.
- Going all in on straight draws with (8 outs) is common. Call with 15 outs or trips okay
- Tight works well, but you can afford to be loose at beginning.
- Different bars play differently
- The bars downtown have lots of younger folks who are aggressive and tend to check raise and force you off hands. You can smooth call AA/KK's and they will raise and call with Axs.
- Some bars have more drunk folks who go in with trash and try to draw out
- Short stack strategy.
- There is not a lot of play. One raise and you can be basically all in.
- Loose play can work at beginning.
I've made it to the monthly tournament twice so far. My goal this year is to win at least twice.