When it comes to playing poker, most of the same basic skills and strategies are required whether you’re in a live or online game. However, there are a few nuances between the two formats that can lead to avoidable mistakes if not taken into account. These differences are primarily the result of the slower game pace in live poker and the lack of access to information on opponents.
In a live setting, players only have the ability to rely on their memory, brainpower, and physical reads at the table. This can make it more challenging to exploit weaker players as you’re forced to play stronger hands, and bluffing with marginal hands can often be counter-productive. It’s also important to be aware of the fact that live players tend to limp and call more frequently than their online counterparts.
Unlike in an online game where you can play multiple tables and see 50+ hands per hour, live games run at a much slower pace. This can cause boredom to set in quickly as it can feel like forever before a hand starts. However, this is a good thing as it allows players to focus more on the details of the game and take notes on opponents’ tendencies and styles.
Another big difference between live and online poker is the availability of strategy tools. Many online players rely on a variety of tools and HUDs to help them gain an edge over their opponents, which isn’t always possible in a live game. Online players are typically more familiar with poker theory as well, so they can identify the tendencies of other players and exploit them accordingly.
Live players typically come from an older, less tech savvy crowd and may not be as familiar with these tools or choose not to use them. As a result, it’s not uncommon for them to lose to stronger opponents who have better awareness of their own weaknesses.
Online poker is currently legal in the US, but it’s important to note that regulations vary from state to state. Some states have resisted the idea of poker, while others have made it a reality via agreements with tribal gaming interests or by passing their own laws.