Jail House Poker

When you are incarcerated at any facility, one of the most important things you can do is to find a way to spend your time constructively while making acquaintances and getting to know facts about certain people in population. The question is, how do you make friends in prison? Do you just walk up to someone, stick out your hand, and say “Hi, I’m a new inmate”? Good luck with that approach. We’ll dive right in to getting to know people and doing so playing great jail house poker or prison poker

Is there a difference between prison poker and jail house poker? Yes. It’s all in who is playing and where the card games are being played. There are tighter rules in prison than there are in county jail and you need to know what to look for. So don’t just try to jump in to any poker game, take a moment to watch the people playing, without being too obvious. It’s also OK to ask questions to people who are not playing to get a breakdown of the rules.

Instead, what you really want is a way to assess the people around you. To learn who they are, how they think, if they have a brain on their shoulders, and whether you can trust them. You also need to demonstrate who you are, hopefully without pissing off too many people for staring. How can you do that? Easy, play jail house poker.

If you don’t already play poker, now might be the time to start learning. If you’re still a free bird, you can either head to the casino, get a friend to teach you, or start playing video poker online. One thing is for sure though, if you can’t play poker, you won’t be able to figure out who is running the show. Nor can you get yourself in the best position possible, or, for that matter, win enough smokes to keep your nicotine addiction satisfied for more than the first couple of days (and that’s if the prison allows smoking, hint: most don’t).

Prison Poker vs Jail House Poker

Jail house poker is one of those things that you don’t just walk up and throw your smokes or commissary items on the table. In fact, the best thing to do is simply to find a spot where you can watch for a while. See who the players are, watch for their tics, see how aggressive they are, and in the process hopefully figure out who you want to be be associated with and hang out with. Sit around the table long enough and you are bound to get an invite.

One word of warning, it might look cool to be cocky in the movies, but when you are moving up to the dealer in a poker game, you better show some respect to everyone around you unless you want to end up that night’s special attraction. Again, if you are unsure of the rules (rules may change from prison to prison) ask your cellmate or someone close to the table, and be polite.

Prison Poker Rules

Once you are in the game, don’t go for big flashy moves or use colorful poker lingo or even attempt to be a master poker bluff. Just stay modest and play your cards. Let the cards give you the two things you need most right now, respect and friends. Also remember that there will always be a loser at the table for every hand. If you are becoming that loser it may be time to step out of the game before you lose everything. As well, don’t borrow anything to play.

If you can’t pay it back a way to pay it back will be found for you. If you can get enough of both, you might just make it back to the big time home poker tournaments out in the real world when you are done.

2 thoughts on “Jail House Poker”

  1. I always thought it was a good idea to know how to play any type of card games when in prison. Also, what happens when you lose and you dont have money to pay?

    • If you play poker or gamble for anything in prison, you had better be able to cover your losses. If you cant pay for your losses with cash or commissary items, you may have to provide “other services” to pay off your debt. Stay smart, don’t gamble, you cant win every game every time.


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