Before you venture into the world of live poker, remember that it’s vastly different than its virtual counterpart. However, countless online poker players have torn up the live poker scene. What have they done right, you ask? Read on for a few friendly tips.
First, remember that live poker is a slower game. Instead of logging 100 hands per hour at an online poker table on PokerStars or Full Tilt, your upside in a live game is about 40. Therefore, there’s a considerable amount of downtime. As soon as you muck your hand, it may be several minutes before your next opportunity to play arises. As such, be prepared for the grind. The days of rapid-fire poker action are over as soon as you step foot into a casino.
You can prepare yourself for a long day of live poker by having a diversion. Break out your iPod and listen to your favorite slow jams. Read a book, do Sudoku, and do whatever it takes to keep your interest in the game high. Whatever you do, avoid getting bored and spewing chips. Just because you haven’t played a hand for an hour doesn’t mean that you should be insta-raising with 9-4 offsuit. Boredom is the number one enemy of successful live poker players.
Be aware of live tells. In the online world, you’re paying attention to tells like bet size, bet speed, and table banter to pick up subtle hints about what your opponents may be holding. In the live arena, a whole new set comes into play. Be wary of any player movements, including how they stack their chips, facial expressions, hand movements, and even whether or not you see a player swallow nervously. All are key to surviving a mega-sized live poker tournament.
In cash games, it’s vital to pay attention. When real money is on the line in every single pot, it’s critical to keep an eye out for live tells. As is the case in tournaments, be wary of the mathematics like pot odds and implied odds when competing in cash games. If you’re going to hit your hand 20% of the time and an opponent lays you 5:1 odds, then you should be calling automatically. The mathematics are very important in live poker, especially Limit games.
Tournaments can last up to 16 hours in a single sitting, so come prepared to endure a grueling day. Be sure to eat a healthy, filling breakfast prior to the start of an event and allow plenty of time to find your seat in what may be a maze of players. Remember, past World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Events have attracted nearly 9,000 players. It can be an ominous start to your day to spend time searching aimlessly for your seat.
When you finally take a break, don’t eat anything you might regret later. Cuisines like Mexican or fatty foods may be poor choices. Instead, stick to light, bland foods to give yourself enough strength to survive to the finish line. Pasta and rice would be excellent selections when you step up to the buffet line during the dinner break. Avoid foods and drinks high in sugar, at least during the early portions of the day, otherwise you’ll be crashing back to Earth within a few hours.
Given the paucity of hands, it’s critical to curtail tilt. If you drop a sizable pot after being sucked out on, control yourself. Remember, it happens online constantly. In live poker, it’s essential to regroup and play solid poker as soon as possible. Don’t play valuable hands while being affected by tilt.
We’ll see you at the tables!