Poker faces of all shapes and sizes have clustered around the card tables at Aspers Casino for the past four years.
The Westfield Stratford City venue, which houses London’s largest card room, welcomed its 5millionth visitor earlier this year.
But for newbies favouring its more sedate surroundings over the neon glow of the games machines things could be a little intimidating.
Every Sunday, Aspers hosts free learn to poker play sessions where beginners can get to grips with the Texas Hold Em five card game.
Alternatively, you can round up some mates and hire a table for £90 an hour then call on the expertise of a dealer.
We grill Aspers’ poker coach John Casey about cards, chips and what makes a winning hand.
Go to aspersstratford.co.uk .
You need a bit of luck - but some knowledge of the game still really helps and it can go a long way.
At the end of the day anyone can play and anyone playing can get lucky, that’s the beauty of the game.
It’s the easiest game to learn but the hardest to master because you’re always learning stuff.
It’s constantly evolving and changing but the good players work out the percentages and they know how to minimise luck.
How many pals should I bring?
There’s eight players maximum and four minimum on a table.
But poker players are funny creatures - they don’t want to miss a hand.
They want to be involved and want to play and enjoy the game so you can get one person wanting a game and he will say to the dealer, you’ve got four people on that table, let’s get going.
It’s a good, community feeling within the card room and it’s got a nice vibe.
Your top three tips for newbies, please?
Learn the hand ranks and figure out what wins and what doesn’t.
Learn to enjoy it, too.
And financial management - don’t play with money you can’t afford to lose.
How do you spot a bluffer?
If you’ve got someone sitting at a table and they’ve been giving it the big one and suddenly go quiet, it’s a good indication they don’t have a big hand.
Other signs are as soon as they start talking to someone else and say ‘are you betting anyway?’ questioning others and their voice rises and they start getting really excited.
But some players are good and you just can’t tell at all.
Just try not to do anything with your face.
And if you’re a new player, don’t get involved in speech play and talking about the game and how you’ve played.
Why all the funny clobber - hats, glasses, hoodies?
You can get all sorts of stuff like that - players don’t want to give anything away and they don’t want a twitch in their neck to show, so they cover the face.
Any superstitions around the Aspers’ tables?
You get a couple who say the deck’s unlucky for them, or the seat.
I tell them it’s all in their mind
You get some who only want to play those in the bigger games as well but noone does anything like what you’d see in the movies.
Check your hand
First up, how do I check it? Left from the corner and take a peek - don’t lift up the cards completely around your face.
That way someone would literally have to lean over to see your hand.
Best hand? Straight flush to ace, otherwise known as a Royal Flush.
It’s when you’ve got a hand of cards of an Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 - all in the same suit.
And the worst? A 7-2 off suit is considered the worst hand
That’s because they’re the lowest two cards you can have that cannot make a straight
Lowest hand that can win? An ace high
Basically, an Ace with any other card trumps all - for instance, it would beat a King high
The second-lowest is a pair.
Order of play
Dealer button given to one player
One person dealt small blind, other big blind.
Two cards dealt to players
Peek at your cards and decide whether to raise or check.
Dealer puts three communal cards on the table, called a Flop
They always burn the first one
Decide whether to raise or check
Dealer reveals fourth card, the Turn
Decide whether to raise or check
Dealer shows fifth card, River
If everyone decides to check, cards are revealed in the Showdown