The expansion of online poker sites and the start of TV broadcasts of live tournaments contributed to the "poker boom" of the early 2000s. However, players moving from online poker to live games may need to adjust to the change.
Here are some of the facets of live poker that online poker
players should expect:Table image
The image a player presents at the table (also called "table image") is a vital part of live poker. The old man in the cowboy hat may be a thirty-year pro, or just a retiree killing time. The young kid in the hoodie and shades may be an online millionaire, or he could just be imitating what he's seen on TV. They may be exactly as they seem, or they may be portraying a role to scare off the other players. Smart players should gauge their adversaries’ skill and toughness by how they play, not what they wear."The Social Network"
The social networking that goes on at a live poker table has nothing to do with Facebook
. Nearly every player loves talking about the game just about as much as playing. Some of them will tell stories about their casino trips, fabulous bluffs and unfortunate “bad beats". Live players can discover how to use facts from these stories against their opponents, while they keep their own mouths shut. As the old saying goes, "loose lips sink chips".Reading tells
The best way to learn about an opponent’s hand is to watch their tendencies. When the flop shows three hearts, do they smile or frown? When an ace comes on the turn, do they lean forward or pull back? Are their chips in a big, messy pile or are they neatly stacked by denomination? All of these can be vital clues to a player’s style of attack.
Players making the transition from live games to online poker also need to make some adjustments.Speed kills
Online poker games can deal up to sixty hands an hour at a full table, more than twice the rate of dealers at a live game. Online poker software never (physically) shuffles cards, collects tips, misdeals a hand or takes bathroom breaks. The software also usually allows players only fifteen seconds to make a decision on their hand, so slow players will need to ramp up their decision-making processes.Easy reach
Some live poker players use the time spent on the trip to the casino (by car, bus or plane) to make their mental preparations to play. With online poker, the game is a close as your desktop, laptop, tablet or handheld device. Just as the play at the tables is faster online, the mental preparation time is also much shorter. Be prepared to swim with the sharks quickly – or consider yourself dinner!Lights, Camera, Action!
With such an emphasis on speed and convenience, online poker players are often much looser than their live counterparts. Also, the anonymity granted by a cartoon avatar and a silly screen name give online players a shield against opponents who try to measure their prey by the physical tells mentioned above. A “tight-aggressive” approach works just as well against such “maniacs” as it does against the passive “nits” found in some local cardrooms.
Regardless of if the game’s main components are paper cards and clay chips or pixels and mouse clicks, poker is still a “people” game more than a “card” game. Both games offer great challenges in different ways. A well-rounded “rounder” understands how to win in both arenas.