September 2, 2023 Poker Strategy, Featured Articles, Poker News Lars Liedtke

The Best Tips for transitioning from Online to Live Poker

In our latest poker strategy article poker coach John Bradley explains what it takes for successfully transitioning from online to live poker.

The Best Tips for transitioning from Online to Live Poker

Online Poker is incredibly enjoyable, and affords you the ability to play a very large volume of hands in a short space of time.

There is, however, nothing quite like the experience of playing live poker.

The game is the same at it’s very core, however, there are a number of important differences, which should affect how you approach things.

Transitioning from Online to Live Poker Practical Differences

Live poker occurs in a physical location, compared to online poker, which is in a digital environment.

Therefore, in a live setting, nobody will be telling you your stacksize, the potsize etc.

So, you will be required to calculate this yourself.

This will initially take up a large amount of your mental bandwith, and so you will not be able to think about strategy as deeply as you would perhaps do online.

You must also make sure that you aways receive the chips you are owed from a pot, or in change, when larger chips are broken down.

Online, this is done automatically, but live, human beings are in control of this aspect, and so mistakes can occur.

Additionally, you should attempt to vocalise your bets as much as possible, so as to avoid confusion.

If you place one chip into the pot, it counts as a call, no matter the value of the chip placed into the pot.

Therefore, if for example the blinds are 100/200, and you want to raise to 500; placing a 500 chip into the pot, will only count as a raise, if you state ‘Raise to 500’.

If you simply place the chip in the pot, the dealer will determine this to be a call of 200.

You will soon get the hang of these differences and begin to feel comfortable in the live setting.

So, how does the play differ?

Transitioning from Online to Live Poker Playstyle

Most people who transition from online to live poker, are primarily concerned with whether they will be giving off any live tells.

This is not as relevant as people believe, and really it is only relevant at the very highest stakes.

Most of your opponents believe they are better at reading people through tells than they actually are.

You can certainly gain an edge through reading others’ tells, but it is generally a waste of energy to be focused on not giving off tells yourself.

Most people will not even notice, and those who do notice, will misinterpret the tell as often as they will interpret it correctly.

The main difference you will find playing live, is that the strategic quality of play is far, far lower than online.

Playstyles will vary massively between different players. Online, you may define someone as tight if they play 15% of hands and loose if they play 40%.

Live, you may find players who play literally every hand, and some that only play 10% (though not that many, due to the patience required).

This means that observing players becomes a very important task, and making quick judgements becomes very useful.

You can discover a player’s style through the hands he plays, how he plays those hands, how he talks about poker, his general demeanor, the way he interacts with the other players and the dealer etc.

There is so much more information to take in live, and you can use it all to your advantage.


The average live poker game, will play more loose and passive, than an online game:

  • More limping, as players just want to see flops
  • Less preflop folding, due to boredom
  • Less 3betting, less big bluffs etc due to not wanting to look ‘stupid’
  • More light river calls, due to not wanting to ‘be pushed around’

This is an ideal game to be in, and you should maximally exploit, so as to maximise your profits.

This is particularly important, because your volume will be so much lower live, than online.

Therefore, you must make the most of every single hand you are dealt.

Transitioning from Online to Live Poker Conclusion

If you are planning on transitioning from online to live poker, then this article should have given you the most important tips to point you in the right direction.

In the coming weeks, I will be releasing a series of articles, diving deep into each area of live poker.

Through the tips in this article, and with the future articles also, you will soon be able to transition and expand your skillset on the live felt.

Good luck on your poker journey and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask them in the poker coaching section of the VIP-Grinders Discord Channel. 

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