For the inexperienced players coming into a live poker setting, live poker may seem very slow. Online players are accustomed to playing multiple tables at once, seeing hundreds of hands an hour on each of those tables and stacking on the chips. Live, though, you’re only limited to one table at a time and about 20 hands an hour. If you’ve never played poker before, this can be very intimidating! However, with some simple practice, any fear you may have will become a power of your mind.
First of all, in order to get used to the pace of online poker, it is much slower than playing against a live poker room. Most online players understand this and just use it to compensate for their lack of physical presence. In most cases, you’re not going to be the only human in the room. There are usually many other players on online poker tables at the same time, giving you the chance to take advantage of the fact that there are no humans breathing overhead.
The first thing you must do if you’re going to become used to the much slower pace of online play is to simply stop focusing on the speed of the game. When you’re playing online poker, there is virtually no pressure on you to play your best hands. If you have made the right plays up to now, there is no need to try to get ahead in money owed by playing too fast. Just let your play happen at its own pace.
As with playing against live opponents, you should also make sure to pay close attention to your betting sizing. Although you’re playing online against imaginary opponents, your opponents are using the exact same betting sizing strategy as you. Therefore, it’s critical that you understand your own betting sizing as well. In this way, you can ensure that you’re playing according to the same betting system as your opponents.
One reason why smaller pots are generally easier to win is because the competition in smaller pots is often fierce. When you play live players, it is impossible to know which players will raise and which players will fold before the flop. Since it’s all a matter of luck, it’s better to play small pots and fold slightly more frequently than to simply fold to every hand you get dealt. Also, when you play online, the number of opponents you face is generally much larger than the number of opponents you’ll face in a live poker game. Therefore, there is an added incentive to stay in action and put up some resistance with raising bets.
Another reason why live players tend to win more frequently is because they are less likely to fold immediately after the flop. When you play a live game, there are only two possible outcomes: you win or you lose. With multiway pots and lower stakes, the chance of winning has a much greater chance. This is because you stand the potential for three or more opponents folding before the flop. If this occurs, then you have a relatively good chance of winning before the flop, if not, at least you have a great chance of winning without having to put out any actual money.
The final reason that living settings are much softer on your pockets is because the house has to make up for the small profit made by players. There is no such thing as a “bank roll” in online poker; just about everything in the world of live poker is about risk management. Since you’re dealing with hundreds of players at once, sometimes unexpected combinations occur that could cause you to lose more money than you expect. In a multiway pot, if your opponents all have the same odds of getting you to the flop, then you are probably going to make some loses. However, since you’ve been playing for an hour, you’ve probably made enough wins that you are at a strong advantage. Therefore, in a small pot, it’s much softer on your pocketbook, even though it may be harder to win.
So, if you want to play poker the right way, do so with the assumption that you have outsized risks that your opponents do not. The best way to increase your winning chances is through hand reading. This is a skill that can be honed through hours of practice and is not difficult to learn. It is important to remember that the big blinds at live poker are not a constant, and will shift up and down throughout the day based on whether you’re playing the aggressive or defensive styles, and will also depend on the size and strength of the individual tables you are playing at.