Are you a poker beginner? Do you know the game but can't find a table? Four local rooms offer low-stakes Texas Hold'em, Seven-Card Stud and other games. Don't be shy - registration desks are easily found at the front of each room, and attendants will help you buy poker chips and get a seat at your favorite game.
The minimum buy-in to play is $20. The rooms take 10 percent out of every pot ($5 maximum) for their fees.
The rest is up to you.
DERBY LANE: 10490 Gandy Blvd, St. Petersburg, 27 tables. Open noon to midnight Monday-Saturday. Located in Derby Club. Admission charge may apply. Soft drinks and snacks are free. No smoking permitted.
SEMINOLE HARD ROCK CASINO: 5223 N Orient Road, Tampa, 32 tables. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The poker room is in the rear of the casino near the bingo parlor. Free admission. In addition to the house fee, $1 is taken from every pot for royal-flush jackpots, which can pay over $10,000. Smoking permitted.
TAMPA BAY DOWNS: 11225 Race Track Road, Oldsmar, 14 tables. Open from noon to midnight on live racing days. Room is on second floor of the grandstand. Admission fee may apply. Soft drinks are free. No smoking permitted.
TAMPA GREYHOUND TRACK: 8300 Nebraska Ave., Tampa. Open the second half of the year after Derby Lane closes.
All-in: Having all one's chips in play, with nothing more to bet.
Ante: Money put into a pot at the start of a game by all players.
Bad beat: When a big hand is beaten by an underdog who makes an improbable draw.
Bicycle or wheel: An ace-low straight.
Blinds: Mandatory bets that start a pot, usually posted one or two players; frequently used in Texas Hold'em instead of an ante.
Bluff: Betting with a weak hand.
Board, The: The community cards dealt face-up in the middle of a table that any player may use.
Broadway: An ace-high straight.
Button: A symbol (usually a plastic disc) used to indicate which player sits in the dealer position (since the house provides a dealer). A player "on the button" has the advantage of acting last during betting.
Chop, rake or vigorish: Amount charged by the house for play; can be charged on a per-hour basis or through a certain percentage from each hand.
Coffeehousing or Hollywood: Play augmented by lots of talk or showmanship.
Dead Man's Hand: Two pair, aces and 8s. When Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the back of the head in 1876 in the Dakota Territory he fell over dead still holding this hand.
Drawing dead: When a player has no chance to win even though they still are drawing cards.
Flop: First three cards up in Texas Hold'em or Omaha.
Loose: A player who rarely folds and gets involved in many pots.
Muck: The pile of discards or the act of discarding.
Nuts, The: The highest possible hand on the table. For example, in Texas Hold'em if the board is 2-5-7-9-A with no three of one suit (thus ruling out a flush), a player with 6-8 would have the nuts, a 9-high straight.
On Tilt: Playing recklessly due to anger; can happen after losing frequently or suffering a bad beat.
Outs: Any cards that, if drawn, will give someone a winning hand.
Overpair: A pocket pair higher than any of the cards on the board.
Rags: Useless cards; a ragged flop is one that does not help anyone's hand.
River: The last card dealt in a game; in Texas Hold'em it is the fifth card on the board.
Short stack: The player with the fewest chips at the table.
Tell: A player's mannerism that gives away his hand.
Tight: A player who folds easily, playing few hands.
Turn: The fourth card up in Texas Hold'em or Omaha.
SLANG FOR SOME STARTING HANDS IN TEXAS HOLD'EM
A-A: Pocket Rockets, American Airlines.
A-K: Big Slick.
A-3: Baskin Robbins (31 flavors).
K-Q: The Marriage (or the Divorce if it loses).
K-9: The dog, canine.
Q-Q: Dames, ladies.
10-2: Doyle Brunson (he won the World Series of Poker twice with these pocket cards).
9-5: Dolly Parton.
8-8: Little Oldsmobile.
7-6: Union Oil.
5-10: Woolworth, five and dime.
5-5: Speed limit.
Sources: Poker Nation, by Andy Bellin; Texasholdem-poker.com