The number of people playing poker, both for fun and in tournaments, has grown exponentially over the past decade or so. It’s no surprise to learn that the advent of the online age has had a lot to do with that. If you can master the poker basics without having to sit down around a table and learn the hard way from more experienced players, it is easier on your self-confidence – and your wallet.

An estimated 120 million people play poker online. There are real money poker sites that cater for everyone, from beginners to professional poker players. Indeed, around 60 percent of professional players play poker entirely or predominantly online. However, if you play poker for fun, you are certain to want to experience what it’s like to play live poker sooner or later. Here are some points to keep in mind when making the transition from online to live poker.

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Be ready for a slower pace

Every aspect of live poker takes place more slowly than online. A live poker hand typically takes about two minutes, while online, you can easily get through two, even three, hands in that time. That’s quite a difference and it’s necessary to make some adjustments to your game and your mindset.

Staying patient and focused is key. Too often, players accustomed to online play enter the pot when they would ordinarily hang back, just because they are impatient to get involved in the action. A good way to avoid this is to work on your reads, even if you are not in a hand. Try to put each player into a hand range and keep track of how you get on.

Play the players as much as the cards

Image and tells are a core aspect of live play that have little relevance when you play online. Image is all about how players perceive you. It is dictated by everything from the way you play your cards to your posture to your chat at the table. Don’t try to be too smart too fast – conveying a specific image convincingly is not easy if it is not natural. Keeping a low profile and remaining quiet and enigmatic is the perfect fallback position.

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If you’ve seen Casino Royale, you will know that a lot is made of poker players’ tells. In general, identifying tells is a far more complex and uncertain science than it seems in the movies. Occasionally, you will stumble on a player with an obvious tell. But usually, looking for tells is difficult and unreliable. The point is, don’t obsess too much over tells. It’s more important to get the basics right, such as betting the right amount, knowing when to fold and so on.

Be ready to learn

Every day is a school day when you play poker. When Mike Sexton said the game takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master, he was not wrong. Playing at a live table is a completely different experience to playing online, so be ready to re-learn everything you thought you knew.


Ruby has been a writer and author for a while, and her content appears all across the tech world, from within ReadWrite, BusinessMagazine, ThriveGlobal, etc.

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