Unfamiliarity Breeds Contempt

 In an unfamiliar casino, I sat down at a $10/$20 limit hold'em game in the cutoff position.

I posted a big blind as the cards were dealt. After an elderly gentleman raised and two players called, I decided to see the flop for another $10 with J-4 of spades. Maybe I'd hit the flop hard, maybe even a flush?

The flop came J-4-Q with two diamonds. The initial raiser bet, one limper called, I raised, and the old guy raised me back. I capped the action in position with a four-bet. The limper came along, calling all the action.

A meaningless 3 of hearts arrived on the turn.The raiser again led out. I popped it again. When he re-raised yet again, I just called. The limper again stayed in, obviously on a big draw.The river was another blank, a 7 of clubs. The raiser bet, the limper folded, and I called.

The gray-haired man showed me a set of queens. I had lost a massive pot with my two-pair flop.

So what did I do wrong? I failed to check the house rules. I did not have to post a blind, despite being new to the table. They played a free hands policy.  Had I not posted, I never would have been in the hand.

So let my experience be instructive: Learn the poker room's rules BEFORE you start playing.

- E. Mark the "e-Shark" Gross