Aug 19 2010

What Everybody Ought to Know About Live Poker

written by: John under Poker Comments: Comments Off

hard rock las vegas poker tournamentWhen you are playing online poker, there is little need to be nervous. Sitting in your own house is less than unsettling. Unless you are playing stakes that are way too high for your bankroll, online poker is generally quite easy to get into. Live poker, however, can be quite intimidating, especially for players who are only used to online play. As online poker has taken over the world of poker, more and more players are learning how to play in a casino after they learn how to play on the internet.

Most brick and mortar casino games are easy to jump into. At a roulette table, you put your chips down and let the wheel do the work. When playing poker, however, you need to really know what you are doing, particularly if you have any hopes of winning. There are some general areas of concern that apply to the majority of new live poker players. Carefully read below and you might just feel a bit more comfortable when you hit the tables.

Your Chips

Having actual physical chips to play with is one of the biggest differences between online poker and live poker. In an online game, every little thing is virtual. You are never going to make a raise too big or too small unless you actually type in the wrong amount. In a live poker game, though, it is pertinent that players pay steady attention to all of the small details. It is usually quite easy to spot the new player in a live poker game. They will be fumbling their chips, have shaky hands, and so on and so forth. Even if you are a new live player, you don’t need to make it obvious to your opponents.

The easiest way to control yourself is to simply take a few deep breaths. Of course, this is much easier said than done. Some players use pills or alcohol to help calm their nerves, but it is far from a necessity. Realize and understand that the other players at the table are humans just like you. No one wants to embarrass themselves, but it isn’t the end of the world if you make a handful of mistakes. Personally, I found that letting the other players know that I am new to live poker helped put my nerves to rest. No one is going to look at you like you are an idiot if they already know that you are uncomfortable. If you think that simply announcing your live poker inexperience is unnerving in itself, just try it out. Your worries will pass very shortly.

Count out each and every bet with extreme precision. Take one chip off your stack at a time if need be. There is no rush, your hand will not be dead if your action is not made in five seconds. This is the easiest way to get familiar with the general handling of chips in a live poker game. You will inevitably fumble the chips from time to time, but this is all part of the learning process. Don’t try to do chip tricks or whatever you might see on TV when you are new to live poker, this will definitely make you look like a moron.

General Etiquette

Live poker games are played with real people. You can’t tell them that they are idiots like you would in an online poker chat box. Well, you can tell people that they are idiots, but it generally isn’t a good idea. The rule of “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all” is often applicable in live poker.

You should, however, consider engaging in some friendly conversation. This is hardly a requirement, but it will often do far more good than bad. If you are talkative at the table, you might be able to gain some extra information about your opponents. You would be surprised to find out how open some people are about how they approach poker in general. There are a lot of players who will openly tell you how they would have played this hand or that hand, or why they folded or raised in a given spot. Furthermore, friendly talking will lead to a lot of players who respect you. They will fold hands that they otherwise would not or might tell you what they were holding. Table talk is one of the primary aspects of live poker, so be sure to get comfortable with it. In addition, talking to other players can help calm you down, so it is one more way to get used to your surroundings.

A lot of the same online poker concepts will also apply to live poker. It is very rude to hit and run the table. In other words, don’t win a massive pot and then instantly quit the game. While it is not against the rules by any means, doing this will definitely earn you a lot of enemies. You need to balance the risk and reward of pulling this kind of move. Aside from this, don’t try to angle shoot. Pretending to call a hand, make a raise, or even fold can be very annoying. In fact, even if you don’t technically break a rule, behavior like this is often grounds for calling a hand dead. If you are using common sense, the odds are that you are not going to anger either the dealer, floor people, or the other players. Of course, you are inevitably going to run into people who will use whatever shady tactics they can think of to try and earn an extra buck.

Live poker is a much more social environment than online poker, so players should always keep this in mind. Even if you don’t want to be social yourself, don’t ruin the fun for everyone else. There is nothing wrong with sitting in relative silence, just don’t try to initiate arguments or unnecessarily cause problems. In the end, live poker will be both enjoyable and profitable if you can act like an adult, there really isn’t any more to it than that.

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