Both live and online, No-Limit Hold ’em, like all other poker variations, is played according to the same set of rules.
Even though the same approach principles apply to both, there are some significant variances to be aware of.
While I wouldn’t go so far as to claim it’s an entirely different game, a live player attempting to play online (and vice versa) may be in for a pleasant surprise.
The purpose of this essay is to highlight some of the most significant distinctions between live and online situations to facilitate the transition. It can let you change much more quickly and increase your victory rate significantly.
1. At equal stakes, live games are much softer.
If you’ve ever played NL200 or more significant stakes online or heard stories about it, you know how difficult these games can be.
Dedicated grinders that know the method and don’t make many mistakes can be found here. Beating online cash games at high stakes necessitates a lot of table work.
On the other hand, live games at the same or similar levels are a lot easier.
“If you can defeat NL200 online, you should be able to beat NL1,000 in your local casino with ease.”
In most NL200 live games, a decent NL10 online grinder will be a favorite. Even if it appears unusual at first, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation.
Because most casinos are not financially practical to spread anything below NL200, everyone who wants to play poker must do so at these stakes or above.
If you want to have some fun, you can play as little as NL5 online, and many recreational players do so. As a result, you won’t find many people playing NL200 games online who are just wanting to let off steam, whereas you will find plenty of such players in a live setting.
It works both ways, of course.
A decent winner in their local 1/2 game who sits down at the same stakes online can have a tough time.
Before you can become lucrative in these games, you’ll probably need to brush up on your tactics and learn some new talents, and you’ll almost certainly need to employ tracking software to avoid being at a disadvantage.
As a result, choose an acceptable stake while migrating from one environment to another.
2. The Speed of Live Games Is Much Slower
Players who play online are accustomed to playing multiple tables simultaneously and seeing hundreds of hands every hour.
You can only play at one table in live games, and the speed of that table will be far slower than any online game you’ve ever played.
“At most live games, you should expect to see only 30-40 hands every hour.”
This is due to several factors.
To begin with, a live dealer requires time to shuffle and deal cards, collect chips, and distribute pots, among other things.
Second, many live players, especially at lower stakes, prefer to take their time and focus on the game. Many of them are there to laugh, speak and have a good time.
If you’re used to playing online, this can be aggravating, but it’s the nature of the game, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
So it’s best to know ahead of time and be prepared.
3. Reading Can Be Beneficial in Live Games
The existence of physical reads in live poker is one of the most significant contrasts between the two. Some individuals believe that poker tells are overrated, but I’m afraid I have to disagree.
I’m not suggesting that live reads are the most crucial aspect of poker strategy, but they can play a significant role in big pots. Many recreational players reveal a lot of information about their hand strength, so you can figure them out if you pay close enough attention.
“Some people are so oblivious to what they’re doing that they act differently when they have a solid hand vs. when they’re bluffing. “
When bluffing, some players smash chips, while others only speak when holding a mighty hand or doing something else that reveals information.
You can attempt to get engaged in additional pots versus these players once you’ve picked up on these specific tells, increasing your edge even more.
4. In live games, you’ll be able to play more multiway pots.
Prepare for more multiway scenarios in live games, whether it’s in tournaments or cash games.
People will frequently fold terrible hands online and move on to the following table.
Live players, on the other hand, are obliged to sit at a single table and choose to play a large number of speculative hands to avoid becoming bored and folding.
In lower-stakes games, cold-calling 3-bets is prevalent. While these movements are rarely seen online, they are frequently seen in actual games, with several other players joining in on the fun.
You’ll have to deal with these multiway pots and make necessary alterations to your strategy because there’s no way around it.
“When you’re up against three or four other players, even the most excellent preflop cards lose value, and a poor one-pair hand doesn’t have much value post-flop either. “
As a result, you’ll have to be patient and wait for excellent opportunities to put your money down and make some systematic laydowns.
5. In live games, you have more leeway with bet sizes.
In any competent online game, you can expect to get called only by the top of your opponent’s range if you try opening for 5x. Live players, on the other hand, are more concerned with the size of their hands than with the size of their hands.
What I mean is that if they like your hand, they’ll call it 3x, 5x, and even 10x open.
As a result, you should experiment with your preflop raises to see how much your opponents are willing to pay and then use that information to your advantage.
You can also change the size of your post-flop bets.
When attempting to control the pot, you can get away with really modest bets, and when you’re looking for value, you can get away with really massive bets.
It’s beautiful that in live games, you don’t have to worry about balancing as much.
No one will see what you’re doing unless you’re playing against a formidable lineup. If you’re up against tough opponents, stand up and pick a less complicated game to play; it shouldn’t be difficult.
6. In live games, you can easily use your table image to your advantage.
When you play online, your opponent has to contend with a large number of other players. As a result, unless you’re making some significant errors or giving a particular player a hard time, you’ll go unnoticed.
Live games, on the other hand, are an entirely different story.
People sit with the same players for several hours, so they naturally notice what you’re doing and try to figure out your approach – sometimes unintentionally.
As a result, developing your image for a single session or even over time if you’re playing against the same players can be advantageous.
If live players label you as a big bluffer, for example, changing their thoughts will require a lot of convincing.
Those few massive bluffs you run will stick in their minds for a long time, no matter how many times you turn the nuts on the river.
“While you should never reveal your hand when playing online, making a large bluff in a live game might pay off handsomely in the long run.”
There are no hard and fast guidelines for how you should or shouldn’t design your image.
The only thing that matters is that you are aware of what others are likely to think of you and that you take advantage of that perception by doing something that they do not expect.
7. You can have a higher win rate in live games but a lower hourly wage in online games.
Although live games are substantially gentler, playing live rather than online does not guarantee you will win more money.
While your BB/100 win rate will almost certainly increase, you’ll also be playing a lot fewer hands.
To win the same amount in a live scenario, you’ll need to win at least 12BB per hour if you win at 2BB/100 online and play 600 hands per hour at several tables.
Of course, you can win even more, but it’s crucial to remember that the best indicator of your win rate is how much money you earn each hour rather than the actual massive blind total.
8. In live games, the rake is usually higher.
Although online players frequently express their dissatisfaction with a rake, live games are even more challenging in this aspect.
It’s especially true at lower stakes, where you’ll have to accept that the house will take a significant portion of every pot you win.
Naturally, some games are superior to others, but you may not have much of choice to begin with. It’s worth mentioning that some of the games feature an uncapped rake, which means they’ll take a certain proportion of every pot, regardless of size.
Unless you’re playing against incredibly inferior opponents, you should avoid these games.
Furthermore, you are unlikely to receive a “normal” rake in live games.
While some rooms have promotions and leaderboards where you can get some of your money back, this isn’t a typical feature, and the amount you get back is likely to be minimal.
We must also comprehend the viewpoint of the casino.
They have a limited number of tables and cannot replicate these spots to maximize revenues, unlike their online counterparts.
In the end, they must earn enough money to cover their expenses, but it is the players who pay the price through the rake.
9. Online gaming provides a lot more flexibility.
If you play online poker, you may open your client and discover several open tables almost whenever you want to play.
Whether it’s day or night, there are generally some games going on, especially in larger venues with many people.
So, especially if you’re playing cash games, you have complete freedom to determine your timetable.
With live poker, however, this is not the case.
The majority of live casinos and poker rooms will spread games throughout the day and night, with weekend traffic particularly intense.
“If you want to find strong live games, you’ll have to play late at night, and Fridays and Saturdays will largely be dedicated to poker.”
So, if you value independence and flexibility, online poker is probably a better choice.
If you appreciate the atmosphere, live games can be a lot of fun, but you’ll need to plan your calendar around them rather than the other way around.
It’s a Personal Preference Whether to Play Poker Live or Online
There are a lot of distinctions between online and live poker, as you can see.
Whatever path you take, it’s critical to recognize and embrace these distinctions and balance them in advance.
Live poker may not be for you if you don’t appreciate being around other people or if you don’t feel comfortable playing into the night.
However, if you have solid foundations and don’t mind a slower game speed, you should be able to sustain decent win rates in most live games and have no trouble steadily expanding your bankroll to increase stakes.
Live games are more enjoyable.