Despite the massive boom in online poker that we’ve seen over the past few years, live poker still remains a significant part of the game. Many players who have success online make the transition to the real thing, and for good reason; the games are softer and there’s a lot of potential to take your bankroll up to higher stakes. However, the move from online to live poker is not without its challenges. Here are five key differences that every player should be aware of to have a successful transition from one format to the other.
Live Poker Games Are Much Slower
The main difference between online poker and live is the pace of play. Online poker is fast paced and there are far more hands in an hour than in live games. This can be a little frustrating to players who are used to a faster game but it’s something that you have to accept.
Another big difference is that the pot sizes are smaller in live poker games and the hand ranges are tighter. This makes it more challenging to play optimally as you won’t be able to exploit as many tells with the same level of accuracy. For example, some players will use weird bet sizing to give information away and you’ll need to be very observant at the table in order to pick up on these types of patterns.
Additionally, there are far fewer hands in an hour at live games as well. This is because of the time it takes for a dealer to shuffle, deal cards, collect chips, distribute pots, and more. This means that a normal player can expect to see around 30-40 hands an hour. This is much slower than the 100k hands per month that some top online players can average.
When playing online you’re able to multi-table which allows you to maximize the number of hands played and increase your chances of winning. At a live table you’re not able to do this so you’ll need to be very focused and patient at the tables. This is especially important for the lower stakes as many live players aren’t there solely to play the game and will often chat with friends or have other distractions at the table.
The final key difference is that live poker games offer more information on your opponents in a qualitative sense than online poker does. This can include everything from body language to table talk to the way they stack their chips. This can make it harder to hide tells when you’re active in a hand but provided you’re careful to act consistently it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to master this skill.
There are a number of key differences between online and live poker that any player should be aware of. Understanding the one chip rule, calculating pot size, adapting to a slower game pace, and knowing how to read live tells are all crucial for successful transition from online to live. Depending on your situation, hiring a coach can also be a great way to minimize the learning curve and maximize your profit.