Moving from Online Tournaments to Live Poker

While there are some online poker players that would like to continue grinding away and building their bankroll at the virtual tables, many successful online players look forward to the transition from the Internet game to the more personable live setting and the higher value tournaments that exist in the live casinos. In short, the technical knowledge of poker is only one part of the live game and many players making the transition need to make other considerations as well before they are able to become successful in the live tournaments. With that in mind, here are a few of the more important aspects of making the move from a successful online tournament career to the live environment.

Perhaps the biggest change that an online player will need to make is in how they hold themselves at the table. Many live professionals have made a living by being able to read physical and verbal signals, or tells, that help them measure the strength of the hands held by their opponents. Being unfamiliar with the live environment, an online player could be giving off plenty of tells in their first experiences. A good way to train for this eventual transition is to use the online format as a simulation. When making a bluff or big bet, the player should find a comfortable position that they will be able to use in live tournaments. This posture should be the same for both bluffs and made hands and should be well practiced before the player's first live tournament. In the first live tournaments, a player may wish to remain quiet so as not to give off any verbal tells of hand strength.

Another difference between the live games and online poker rooms such as PokerStars, is the pace of the game. With live dealers and no potential for multitabling, the action that an online player is used to is simply not present in the live game. Hands move at a slow pace, with even competent dealers often getting no more than thirty hands out per hour. Many online players feel the lack of action in a bad way and try to compensate by getting involved in more pots. This is a sure recipe for disaster or at least the loss of a lot of chips. To prepare for this challenge of a slower game, an online player can move down to only playing one table at a time and carefully considering every decision that they must make. In this manner, the transition will be easier in terms of the speed of the game.

There is also a difference in live betting as compared to the online poker world. In most tournaments, the action will be more passive, but with larger bets. An opening raise in the beginning stages of a live tournament is usually three to four times the big blind instead of the two to three times found with online poker. In addition, being too aggressive in the live game will developer a player image very quickly and opponents will pick up on the fact that the player is frequently bluffing.