It might seem like there’s no point in playing a live game or two if you are an online poker player. Still, if you wish to become a professional, it’s worth considering, as live poker has a lot of nuances that can be beneficial to learn and practice. Plus, the most prestigious tournaments are all held live.
If you want to compete at that level, learning the skillset required for success is essential. Here is a list of practices every online poker player would benefit from knowing when it comes to live poker:
Reading Physical Tells
Reading physical tells is one of the critical elements in any poker game. You can only learn it by playing in real life, which requires seeing how players move and act.
Being familiar with some of the most common tell signs give you an edge over your opponents who don’t know what they should be looking out for. Doing so can help you make better decisions and win more often, thus increasing your overall poker success.
Considering that you already have online poker experience, you already know how to read your opponents’ tells by their betting patterns, the time they take to make decisions, and the board. Now you just need to add that extra layer by learning to read their physical tells.
Physically Protect Your Hand
When playing in a casino or card room, you must be aware of who is potentially watching you. If your opponents can see what hand you have by the way you hold and protect your cards, they will know when to fold or call. It is also important to remember that some players may try to use distracting tactics to make you misplay your hand, so stay focused.
Also, although less common, some dealers could think that you’re no longer playing and collect your cards prematurely. It could happen if you have to get up for a short break, and when you come back, the dealer mistakenly thinks you’re already done with your hand. To prevent this from happening, always protect your cards no matter how confident you feel about where the round is going.
One good way to do this is to keep your hands over the table so that it’s clear to everyone (including the dealer) that you are still playing. If you’re going to take a very short break, leave chips over your cards to make it clear that you’re still in the game.
Abide by the Dress Code
Another critical factor to consider when playing in a casino or card room is the dress code. Depending on where you’re playing, different rules may need to be followed.
For instance, some casinos may require you to wear certain types of clothing (e.g., collared shirts). Even if there’s no hard and fast rule, it’s still good practice to dress properly to remain courteous and show respect to your opponents.
Thankfully, casino dress codes are no longer as strict as they used to be, so you’ll likely have more flexibility in what you can wear. But you must still abide by the dress code if one is enforced and not try to push the boundaries too much.
At the same time, while going to a casino is an excellent opportunity to try out clothes you wouldn’t usually wear in a home game, you still don’t want to draw too much attention away from the table.
Please keep it simple and dress smartly; this will help ensure that everyone at the table stays focused on playing rather than distracted by what other players are wearing.
Follow Casino Etiquette
Follow the expected etiquette, no matter what type of game you’re playing in a casino or card room. That includes avoiding profanity, not showing your cards until after a hand has ended, and not speaking during play. Additionally, be mindful of how much money you’re betting, as some casinos may limit how much you can bet per hand.
You must also be courteous to your opponents, even if they’re not playing how you expect them to. Remember that poker is a game that requires respect and courtesy from all players; don’t let your emotions get in the way of you playing your best game.
If you decide to drink while playing poker, check casino policy first, and exercise moderation if it is allowed. Be mindful of your opponent’s reactions, as drinking can lead players to make less-than-ideal decisions due to impaired judgment.
Keeping Track of the Action
Playing poker on a screen differs from playing in person for many reasons, making keeping track of the action harder. One key difference is that it is much easier to get distracted when playing live poker, as more non-game-related activities are happening around you.
It can be easy to lose focus, miss out on a crucial move, or misread an opponent’s hand because you weren’t paying close enough attention. So when playing live, try to make as many mental notes as possible about what happened during each hand. Doing so will help you review your opponents’ play styles so that you can adjust your poker strategy accordingly.
You should also be aware of the game clock. Most casinos use a timer to indicate when a hand should end and the next one can begin. Before the timer runs out, make any final decisions. If you don’t, the dealer will move on to the next round without allowing you to act.
Managing the Table Dynamics
A big difference between playing online and live is that in a brick-and-mortar casino, several tables usually share the same area. As such, managing the table’s dynamic is essential when playing in a live setting.
Paying attention to other players’ behavior, playing style, and level of aggression will help you make better decisions at the table and determine which opponents are more likely to make mistakes.
Furthermore, it’s also important to be aware of how noise and action from other tables might affect the mood of your table. If players at other tables are getting too rowdy, it can distract those playing your game. Try to keep the atmosphere in check so everyone has an enjoyable experience.
These tips and guidelines will ensure you always look and act your best when playing live poker. Doing so will help you maintain a positive reputation at the tables and improve your skills. So don’t be afraid of going face-to-face with other players; it’s part of the game.