Avoid Making These Live Poker Mistakes

Moving from an online poker to live poker setting can seem a little dauting, but it will not be if you actively avoid these common mistakes.

Live poker is returning all over the United States with COVID-19-related restrictions relaxing on a seemingly daily basis. Live poker is incredible fun because it has human interaction at its core. There is something special about looking your opponent in the eye and trying to figure out if they are bluffing or if they have the nuts.

Most people who read these pages come from an online poker background and are not well-versed in the nuances of live poker. This lack of experience leads to making mistakes they would not ordinarily make. Indeed, everyone makes mistakes in all walks of life, but the following tips will help you not make them in a live poker setting.

Don’t Act Out of Turn When Playing Live Poker

Acting out of turn is impossible to do when playing online poker but oh so easy when playing live poker. This mistake is not only frowned upon but often results in you receiving a penalty because it potentially alters the course of a hand.

Avoid acting out of turn by not looking at your hole cards until the action is on you. Use the few moments of downtime to observe your opponents. Look at how they act when they look at their cards. Study how they move their chips if they bet and gather some information. Then and only then take a peek at your cards and decide what to do.

Waiting until the action is on you prevents you from giving off tells. Sometimes, live poker players look at the cards and act differently if they have a playable or non-playable hand.

Don’t Forget Your Blinds and Antes in a Live Poker Setting

Online poker software takes care of posting the blinds and antes but this is obviously not the case in a live poker setting. Live tournaments and cash games play very slow compared to their online counterparts, so any delay in posting blinds and antes is detrimental to the game.

Keep an eye on the action and prepare to post the blinds if you are seated there. In addition, most live events use a button or big blind ante these days, which makes posting antes easier. Just get them ready beforehand and keep the game flowing.

Try Not To Continually Ask For The Size of the Pot

It is important to follow the betting action when playing live poker. This is so you keep up with the size of bets and the pot, allowing you to calculate your pots odds etc. Keeping up with the bets and pot size in the early stages of an MTT is easy because the blinds and antes are small. However, those blinds and antes are often large near the bubble and deeper. Mentally removing the zeros from the bets and pot makes the mental math easier. For example, someone raises to 2,500,000, think of it as raising 2.5.

The dealer will not tell you the size of the pot in case he or she is incorrect. However, they will spread the pot out, which allows you to count it. This slows the game down, too.

Stack Your Chips in 20s; Keep Big Denominations to the Front

You will, hopefully, accumulate many chips as the tournament or cash game progresses. This gives you a welcomed problem of how to stack your chips. Stacking them in piles of 20 is the industry standard. Twenty is how many chips a typical casino chip rack holds; it is not a coincidence.

Stacking your chips in 20s makes it easier for everyone, including you, to know how many chips you have. A stack of 20x 100 chips is 2,000. Likewise, a stack of 500 chips is 10,000, and so on. Having chips stacked in 20s makes it easier to bet, too.

Finally, always keep your largest chip denominations in view. Do not hide them behind your stacks of 20s. Keeping the big chips in view allows your opponents to know exactly how many chips you have. Hiding larger chips behind could make them think you have fewer chips in play, which can and will alter their bet sizing.

Brad Johnson

You name the game, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Brad has either played it or placed a wager on it! Brad calls himself a natural gambler, and someone who gains as much enjoyment from writing about the crazy game of poker as he does playing it.


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