Making the Switch: Transitioning Playing Styles from Online to Live Poker

tellsSo, you’ve mastered the ins and outs of online poker and have made pretty good money out of it too. You’re now thinking about widening your horizons and trying your luck at real live tables. But, can you- a strict online-only player- make it into the world of high intensity real-live poker?


For people who came from a pure online poker background, the transition to live games can be quite jarring. They are essentially playing the same game, of course, but live poker is a whole different ball game.


Here’s what you need to know if you want to try your hands out at conquering the live poker scene soon:

1. You have to get used to the slow pace.


Live games, are much, much slower than online games. When you can play multiple tables simultaneously in online poker rooms, you’re stuck with just a single table in live poker. Games can go on for hours, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Those unused to slow games might find themselves warding off boredom and sleepiness as they play, dulling their brains and messing up their strategy in the process.

2. You have to learn how to reel in your energy and emotions.


Due to the slow pace, online poker players might feel a bit restless having to sit through a seemingly tiresome game. Live play is very unlike the frenetic world of online poker, everything is more nuanced and careful. You have to reel in all that excess energy and emotion that you have when you play. When you play online, you get to curse, stomp your feet, and fidget, but in in live play players are expected to keep their emotions at bay, to prevent themselves from being read by their opponents and to stop from going on a tilt.

3. You have to relearn a whole new set of table rules and etiquette.


With online poker, much of the niceties involved in traditional live poker games are usually done away with. But if you want to play live poker, then you have to relearn all the rules once more. For example, you can’t string bet during a live game. A string bet means placing a bet (usually by pushing a pile of chips toward the dealer) without a verbal announcement and then adding to the bet immediately after (by pushing ANOTHER pile forward). Only the first bet is valid, and you’ll probably be called on by the dealer if you do this. This also goes for throwing one single oversized chip on the table; unless stated otherwise, throwing one large chip means that you are making a call. To avoid confusion, say raise when you want to raise, say call when you want to call.

4. You have to learn how to handle your cards and chips.


It might be just a small thing, but you can tell who a professional poker player is just by looking at how he or she handles cards. You must learn to get into the habit of protecting your cards when you play (i.e. putting something on top of them to tell the dealer that you are planning on playing them).


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