So you want to play underground poker? Maybe it’s because you can’t find any poker games near you and you want to see some cards. Perhaps you’re bored. Another possibility is that you want to make some money. These are all logical reasons for wanting to play underground poker, but please allow me to share some thoughts before you embark on this journey.

My Experiences

There are many people who have played a lot more underground poker than me, but I think I have more experiences than the average player. If you have read The Dark Side of the Felt, then you know about some of those experiences. While the book was loosely based on true events, some of it was truth, and I can assure you that underground poker is a dangerous place to be.

Your Future Experiences

Underground poker is different than a home game because an underground poker game charges a rake. This makes it more of a business than a game with friends, family, or coworkers where there is no rake. Home games are great. There is no risk. The only real risk is if you’re a good player and you consistently outplay everyone. This then leads to frustration from others, and they no longer want to play with you. Then the game ends.

As far as underground poker games go, that rake means profit for the house. Profit for the house means cash on the property. Cash on the property is like blood attracting sharks, but not poker sharks. These kinds of sharks carry guns and wear ski masks. They bombard the underground poker game with a posse and weapons. They will hold the place up at gunpoint, and you might get a pistol-whipping on the back of your head. This is not an enjoyable experience.

If there is no robbery, then you can be sure that there will eventually be a police raid. This almost always happens because someone who lost a lot of money gets pissed off and rats on the location. This is their form of revenge. For you, it could mean a fine or even a night in jail. This will go on your record. If you’re lucky enough to just get a warning, that warning might come in the form of your head being pressed against the felt so hard that you can’t think or breathe. You want to do something to retaliate, but you can’t because you will be beaten or shot.


So … the next time you think about going to play in an underground poker game, you might want to consider all the possibilities. The problem with these games is that even if you win, you eventually lose because someone is going to swoop in and take your money. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Tyler Nals

If you love poker, then you're in the right place. My poker strategy books are written for the beginner-intermediate player, and many readers have told me that these strategies have helped them turn a profit. My books are easy to understand and written from a macro perspective on how to win as a poker player. You will also find an entertainment angle. Regardless of what level poker player you are, you might enjoy A Fishy Poker Tournament, The Dark Side of the Felt, and The Poker Office. These are poker adventure books, not poker strategy books.

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