Adjustments You Need To Make For Live Poker

Live poker games tend to be much softer than their online poker counterparts, however, there are some necessary adjustments you’ll need to make in order to come out on top and win, regardless of whether you are beating games online. This is due to the fact that there are some drastic differences in how the games play.

When it comes to live poker games, one of the most notable differences is that most players who decide to make the trip to the casino came to play, not to be patient and wait around for something really good. This mindset adopted by the vast majority of live poker players creates more action than tighter online games.

So it goes without saying that, generally speaking, live players are much looser with their pre-flop starting hand requirements, and as a result, this creates a lot more multi-way pots. Most live poker players are looking to see a cheap flop in an attempt to connect in some way. The majority of the time, you can forget about making a standard continuation bet, which you’ll usually do on “auto pilot” in online poker games. It just won’t work as often in live poker, since there are too many loose players involved in the pot, and someone is likely to have caught a piece they won’t be folding.

Limping in doesn’t happen a great deal when playing poker on the virtual felt. This is because a basic understanding of the game teaches you to attack weakness at every opportunity, such as when players decide to limp into the pot, since they are doing so with weak hands that can’t continue against aggression. However, when playing live poker, whether it’s cash games or tournaments, you will see players limping into pots a lot. The loose-passive nature of the game means you will also see a lot of players calling your raises and re-raises.

Since there is more limping, when live poker players actually raise pre-flop, you can assume they are doing so with a much narrower range of hands, and you need to adjust to this accordingly by only calling with stronger high card hands than you normally would, and speculative hands that can flop huge, like suited connectors and small pocket pairs in your hand. Remember that pots are almost always contested multi-way, so you’ll be likely to scoop a huge pot when you make a big hand.

Is it a good strategy to use aggression in live poker games? Absolutely, just as long as you are making the correct adjustments for live play. It is all about well-timed aggression when the opportunities arise, and making changes to your pre-flop bet sizing to compensate for playing in a looser game.

If you have a strong hand like a big pocket pair, you need to bet it strongly before the flop. Raising the limpers with a really small bet is more than likely only going to build a pot with many players rather than narrow down the field like you hoped would happen. You see novice players make this mistake all the time, and then try and convince themselves that they still have the best hand unimproved with aces on a really scary board

Similarly, the vast majority of live poker players will not respect 3-bets as much as when you’re playing in online poker games, and so you can expect to size re-raises bigger and still get called. Live players like to call with many speculative hands to try and hit on the flop. So make sure to be aware of what action you are trying to induce and adjust your betting accordingly

Another one of the most important differences between playing online and live poker that players will have to get used to when making the transition is knowing the stack sizes of players at the table. Most decisions are based on effective stack sizes and your equity in the hand. When playing online poker every player’s stack size is displayed next to their online names. In live poker games, it can be a lot of work to be constantly keeping count of each player’s stack, but it’s important nonetheless, and with some practice it will become second nature.

When making the transition from online to live poker games, you also cannot ignore the social aspect of the game, which can provide you with an important advantage. Most brick and mortar poker players are unknowingly telling you what cards they hold, you just need to be good enough to interpret the information they are giving you through their body language, facial expressions, and what they say during and inbetween hands.

So, as you can see, there are some significant differences in how live poker games play. Are you making the necessary adjustments?