September 30, 2023 Poker Strategy, Poker News Lars Liedtke

Transitioning from online to live poker – How to adjust to table dynamics

In our latest poker strategy article poker coach John “WhatA298” Bradley explains how to adjust to table dynamics in live poker being an online player.

Transitioning from online to live poker – How to adjust to table dynamics

When playing live, at only one table, you will be getting in a meager 30 to 50 hands per hour.

Recent table dynamics are, therefore, far more important than they would be in an online setting.

A chatty table

When you play live, you find that some tables are a hive of chatter, while others are completely silent.

When the table is chatty, players will be more engaged in the action, and more likely to play marginal hands, make lighter calls etc.

You should, therefore, be a little more solid in your approach, and wait for reasonable holdings.

Conversely, when the table is quiet, you can ‘open up’ your game, as you are more likely to receive folds from your opponents.

Recent history

In live games, recent history is far more important than online.

For example, if you 3bet a player online and they fold, they will not think much of it. Live, they will likely feel like you are pushing them around.

In live games, you should therefore attach a lot more weight, in your analysis, to recent history.

If you have just bet three streets and received a fold on the river versus a player, it is probably not advisable to run any big bluffs against them, over the next hour or two.

Conversely, you will be able to value bet thinner than normal against them. Regardless as to whether your first triple barrel was a bluff or not.

Player moods

In live poker, you have access to so much more information, including the moods of the players you are playing with.

Some players will be agitated, some will be happy, some will be down and some may even be ‘dozing off’ at the table.

This information is incredibly important when determining a player’s holding.

As an example, let’s assume you are facing a triple barrel, and have a very close decision with a bluff catcher.

How could each mood sway your decision?

  • Agitated: More likely to be forcing the action. So, you should be more inclined to call.
  • Happy: Less likely to be pushing the action. So, you should be more likely to fold.
  • Down: May be pushing or may be risk averse. You should try to feel out which your opponent is.
  • Dozing Off: Less likely to be pushing the action. So, you should be more likely to fold.

Caught bluffing

In general, when a player gets caught bluffing, they are unlikely to be bluffing wide in the following hands. You can therefore make some exploitative folds in these hands.

If you get caught bluffing, then most players will label you as ‘a bluffer’ in their head. Therefore, you should look to reduce your bluffing frequency following getting caught.

You can instead focus on value betting a little thinner than you would do normally.

Stack Size

In live games, it seems that more stock is placed in how you are doing on that particular day.

Players are often very short sighted, and see big stacked players as better, or more formidable, than short stacked players.

As a big stacked player, you will find you have slightly more fold equity, and will get raised slightly less. This is true whether you are playing in a tournament (where this does make some strategic sense), or in a cash game.

As a shorter stack, you should reduce your bluffing frequencies slightly and value bet slightly thinner, due to getting a little less credit in general.

Table Dynamics Summary

In a live setting, there is a wealth of information available to you. You should seek to make use of every piece that is afforded to you.

Make adjustments to your regular strategy, based on the table dynamics discussed in this article, and you will be crushing your opponents far more than is possible online.

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