Live poker and online poker play very differently. While they do share some similar concepts (blinds move, players are dealt cards, betting occurs) there is a lot of difference when it comes to dynamics and default assumptions. It’s important to understand these differences to adjust your strategy and become a profitable player in either format.
One of the biggest differences is the speed of the game. Live games play much slower than online poker because the dealer needs to shuffle, deal, count chips and so on. This means you can expect to only see about 30-40 hands per hour compared to the 100+ hands online. This can be frustrating for people who come from an online background, but it is a fact of life and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it.
Another factor is that live poker is more results oriented than online. The reason is that it’s harder to log the same amount of hands and so variance tends to have a bigger impact on your short-term results. For example, if a great player plays $5/$10 live for a month it’s completely plausible that they would have a losing month. In contrast, if an online player has a bad month they can simply switch to a different game or take a break.
Live poker also has more player tells and unique situations that are not found online. This is especially true at the higher stakes levels where experienced live players know how to read other players. For instance, they might know to expect aggressive players to bet into you with weak hands or that you’re not likely to fold AK preflop.
The final major difference is the social aspect of live poker. Many live players join groups and play with the same group of friends to help with their game and have fun. This is a great way to improve as it’s an excellent opportunity to bounce ideas off of other people and talk about past hands. However, it can also be a trap because there’s a lot of bad advice and misinformation floating around these groups and people are often too afraid to challenge it.
Ultimately, making it in poker is a hard thing to do no matter where you play. But if you are willing to adapt your strategy for each setting, it’s possible to be a successful poker player both online and live. Just be sure to take advantage of the unique opportunities that each has to offer. Good luck!