These days everyone seems to be hooked on online poker and the majority of the new generation of poker players almost exclusively play online and have probably never seen or played in a live cash game. Back in the days before poker became a global phenomenon it was only played in brick and mortar cardrooms, in casinos, or in illegal cardrooms, there was no internet poker and the game was played in its original normal fashion. Although Internet Poker may be convenient, easily accessible and extremely fast paced, all factors which allow you to maximize your profits efficiently and quickly, there is just simply nothing like a good live game of poker. Personally I need to get away from the constant hustle of online poker every now and then and get my much needed dosage of live poker, Whether it’s the fact you get to socialize and meet new people or maybe because you can read and analyze your opponents more accurately, poker is a game that is enjoyed most while you are playing live. If you’ve never played a live cash game or haven’t been to your local casino in a while then there are some adjustments you will have to make to your game before you step into a live game of poker.
The First adjustment you will have to make is to tighten up and not play too many hands, in online poker the pace is very fast and you get to see about 50-70 hands per hour, whereas in a live casino you usually have a dealer and you will only see about 20-30 hands per hour. What does this mean for you?, well as an online player you are probably used to the quick pace and perhaps play more than 1 table which means you’re used to seeing over 150 hands an hour. Out of these 150 hands the majority are folded and you probably win around 4-5 big pots in a couple of hours, but in Brick and mortar casinos were the pace is much slower you will maybe only win 1-2 big hands in a hour and get garbage hands for a whole hour straight. So you will have to be a lot more patient and adjust to the slower pace, you cannot get bored and start playing too many hands. A lot of tight internet players will approach a live game and get involved in a large number of hands with weak holding just because they are sick of folding. If you cannot adjust to the different pace of the game then you will be giving up a significant part of your edge and giving the other players at the table a considerable advantage.
If the slower pace causes you to be impatient you should do something to occupy yourself, start Talking to the other players around you, go for a dinner break, or practice your hand reading skills on the hands you’re not involved in. You may even want to start reading a book or playing your PSP if it is allowed in the casino, also you should keep anDewa Poker eye on players that have become impatient with the game or are on tilt and are starting to make rash decisions, these are the players you would like to target.
The next thing you should be ready for in live poker is some ridiculous bad beats, I don’t know if it’s the atmosphere in the casino or something else, but people tend to gamble a lot more when they are playing live. Don’t be surprised to see people chase gut shot straights or call you till the river with pocket 4s and then hit their set on the river to crack your AK, loose players in the casino will chase long shot draws and if they miraculously suck out on you shouldn’t immediately go on tilt. Remember in the long run your stronger hands will hold up against these loose players and eventually you will collect a lot more money than them, the luck factor in poker always evens out so continue to play a solid game and you will reap the rewards. A good way to counteract the bad players at the table is to loosen up your hand selection pre-flop, you may want to start playing with suited connectors and suited aces and face cards a bit more. These hands will fare well in multi-way pots because if you hit your straight or flush you will get a lot of callers and take down a huge pot.
Another adjustment you will have to make is to bring your poker face and reading abilities to the table. In online poker you have around 30 seconds to make a decision on each street and obviously you cannot see your opponents, this takes out a big factor of play in poker, you are unable to read and analyze your opponents based on their reactions and behaviors (also known as tells), hence you usually have to make a decision based on the strength of your cards unless you have previous knowledge of whether the player is loose, tight or aggressive ( Poker Odds Calculators can help you obtain this information).
In live poker there are a lot more factors to consider, in a live game, a large part of a good player’s edge comes from reading his opponents hands based on a “feel” or instincts about what’s going on in the hand, and sometimes this can take awhile so take your time and analyze your opponents correctly. Often in a live game you will know if you can bet your marginal hand for value or whether your opponent has flopped a very strong hand simply based on their physical behavior and betting patterns, so be weary of this and train yourself to read and analyze your opponents accurately, this is one of the main factors in becoming a successful Live Poker Player.