Playing poker is with no doubt your favourite thing to do. You play online at home, you even play private tournaments online with your friends instead of hosting a poker night, but what happens when you feel the itch to go to a casino and play there. Can your online poker style affect your live games?
Dear 888 Poker,
I’ve played online with 888 Poker for almost two years now. Recently, a new casino opened up near to where I live, so I checked it out and found that when playing there, I become a much more conservative performer. This is not doing my chip stack much good. Is there a way of resolving my live game conservatism?
Great question. To me, it sounds as though you feel your game is too tight at the casino and that as a result, you’re getting bluffed off of pots.
It can be a feature of online poker that many players play far too loosely. This is attributable to the internet’s inherent anonymity, but you obviously feel more secure at home and that perceived comfort means you invariably take greater chances.
Now, if you could experience some of this comfort while in the casino card room, you would probably become as proficient when playing live as you are online.
You could begin by checking out the room before you sit down to play; this could take 10-15 minutes as you pick a spot near the table limits you fancy playing at and note the flow of play. As you’re doing this, consider how it will feel when you sit down; tell yourself you will remain focused and make consistently good decisions.
You may also want to have a chat with other players as they wait for a game, or speak with the room’s dealers and managers; it’s crucial that you understand their bad beat jackpots, incentive programs and most importantly, the house rules (just as you would online).
When you take your seat at the table, there’s no need to immediately post your blind. Take a few hands out to get into the game and wait for the big blind to arrive with you. This is an important period as it allows you to observe the opposition, appreciate the pace of the table, the dealer, the nature of the raises, etc.
Once settled, should the opportunity present itself, check how confident you are by trying a button raise to steal the blinds. Should you sense weakness, put out a bluff to test your instincts. This preparation means that as you enjoy some successes, so your comfort level will rise and within no time, you’ll feel right at home. Good luck.
The Poker Guru
Tracking your poker hands, whether via a special software or just a simple screenshot/video capture tool, is not a new feature in the world of online poker. Many players track their hands while tracking their competitors hands as well, in order to analyse and play better in the future.
Interested in hearing more? So does Didier from Edinburg
Dear 888 Poker,
A poker buddy has suggested we record ourselves on video in home game tournaments in order to keep an eye open for our mistakes. I’m not sure we’re proficient enough to do this (spot mistakes, not record); are we opening up a can of worms by doing it do you think?
You guys in Edinburgh come up with some innovative thinking. I’m convinced it’s a great idea, provided you know what you’re looking for.
There’s no doubt we all learn from watching poker on TV and as participants in all types of games and sports regularly record their actions, why not poker? However, unless you’re going the whole hog with hole card cameras, perhaps we could make a few suggestions.
For example, try aiming the camera on your seat area and as you review the recording, keep an eye open to see whether you’re staying focused on how the hand pans out, even after you have folded. Watch too to see if you’re revealing any particularly obvious tells.
In some instances, you might find you’re showing your intention to play, or indeed fold, well before the action arrives at your seat. This is often the bane of the amateur who cannot prevent himself from looking at his hole cards, especially if he has a decent hand, and then sitting at the table like a child on Christmas Eve in anticipation of great things. Opponents picking up on this will invariably fold. Let me know how you get on.
The Poker Guru