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July 6, 2008

Texas Hold Em Online vs. Live Poker

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Written by: Chris Wilcox
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For some players, transitioning from online poker games to live games in a casino can be quite easy. For others, it is a bit more of a struggle. There are a couple of key aspects that make the two quite different to play, not in the way you play your cards, but in the overall feel and flow of the game.

The first and primary difference is speed. By this I mean the speed of the game. Live games move much more slowly than online games. The pace seems to crawl compared to online. This one difference can be very hard for some online players to cope with in a live game. Online, you may see 50 or 60 hands in an hour. Live, you may see 20. This is a huge difference, obviously, and makes the game feel a lot different live than it does online. You just do not get nearly the action that you do in an online game.

The effect this has on many online players, is that they have a much harder time keeping their concentration at high level. If you are used to seeing 60 hands an hour and all of a sudden that drops by 2/3, it is very easy to let your mind wander. Many players adjust to this by listening to music on an ipod etc. Depending on how social you are, this can be a fine approach. If you don’t mind making idle conversation, however, you may be better served by talking to the people at your table if you are not involved in a hand. You never know what you may pick up this way: they are tired, a regular player, a novice just killing time, etc. What you do depends a lot on your individual disposition, but keeping your mind on the game between hands is something all players who go from online to live need to work on.

Another aspect that many players forget about until they get to a live table is chip stacks. Online everyone’s exact chip count is right there on screen for you to see at all times. This is very useful information to have when you are figuring out how much to bet, raise, re-raise, etc. In a live game, you have no reference. There is a chip stack sitting across the table from you and it is up to you to be able to ball-park how many chips are in it.

Many players who are new to live games are utterly befuddled by this fact. It seems pretty elementary, but if you have no experience in looking at your opponents chips and being able to make a rough guess, you can be quite lost when it comes to calculating your bets.

The easy fix to this is to practice with chips at home before you go to the casino to play. Have a partner sit across from you with various sizes of chip stacks while you practice estimating them. You will find that this ability will improve, just like any other, with practice. You will be glad you did once you find yourself in a live game. It is surprising how many experienced online players forget this easy point.

Remember these two subtle differences when going from an online game to a live one, and if you make an effort to address them before hand, your will find making the switch to be much easier.

To purchase my 224 page ebook The No BS Guide to Winning Online No Limit Texas Holdem or live one-on-one coaching sessions with Chris Wilcox,  click this http://www.chriswilcoxpoker.com/category/kickstarter-2/p
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