I am having somewhat of a problem, I read books, I study hands, and I do everything a growing player should do, and I can see my progress when playing poker online. I am confident and I would like to think of myself as a strong player, of course I need a lot of improvement, but beside my point. When I play live, I try to incorporate what Im learning and the knowledge I have acquired but I seem to be having problems..I feel like Im playing a different game [holdem]. Live players are 90% looser than they are online, at least in my experience, and blinds eat me alive when I try to adjust to the table by playing a little tighter than normal. (not nit tight, just tight)

For the most part all the variables are the same, same bankroll, same buy-ins, etc.

What is happening? What am I missing thats causing me to be a losing live player from a winning online?

EDIT: I would also like to add that by loose, I mean, lets say i make a 3-4xbb bet preflop to isolate, at a 9man table, 6 will call. if i or anyone for that matter make it 5-6x you might lose a couple more, but thats still 4-5 other players seeing a flop. this is 1-2nl

  • How many bb's do are you buying in for? What are the stack depths of your opponents? What do you consider a basic strategy (fundamentals) when adjusting to very loose opponents?
    – Toby Booth
    Mar 14, 2012 at 19:00
  • i usually buy in for the table max, so around 100, somtimes i may buy-in around 75bb. They are usually split, i'll have two or three with 300bb or more, and then the rest around 100. i tend to try and stick with big pairs, and medium up suited connectors Mar 15, 2012 at 5:33
  • You are probably not value betting correctly. Mar 15, 2012 at 15:05
  • its possible, ill have to watch for that closer on my next session Mar 15, 2012 at 22:30
  • 1
    Also remember that there are less hands per minute in live tables due to manually shuffling and dealing. Therefore you play less hands at each blind level.
    – Kenshin
    Dec 8, 2012 at 2:11

5 Answers 5


Try playing some of the $4 buyin and/or $10 buyin online games. Those stakes often play much more similar to live $1/$2 than the $100 and $200 buyin games.

The issue is that a lot of recreational/gambler players go to the lowest stakes offered. In live casinos, that is typically $1/$2. Online, much lower stakes are offered. As such, the average opponent you face at the comparatively higher stakes of $1/$2 online will be much more skilled than the average opponent you face at the same stakes in a live casino. Many things you do to correctly play against moderately skilled opponents will fail against rank amateurs.

  • i hadnt thought of it this way, it makes a lot of sense Mar 16, 2012 at 17:47

Sounds like you are having a normal experience. When I play 1-2nl in the Casino I've run into everyone from the tight, "I only play AQ or better", to the drunk "I'm all in on every hand!" and everyone in between. Your play has to adjust to the table each time you sit down.

Could you determine if any of the players had a read on you? Were your perceived as a loose player? Both would cause more players than you want to hang around.

  • Nothing sparked me as having a loose image at the table, I wasnt showing bluffs, or winning showdowns with anything that could be perceived as loose playing, but previous sessions (at another casino) i could have (ive slept since then, dont have it in my memory anymore) Mar 15, 2012 at 5:30
  • This is live 1-2 NL. Nobody has "a read" on anyone. Nov 13, 2014 at 15:25

The other answers here are generally valid, but I'd like to add another point that hasn't been mentioned.

Though there are definitely adjustments to make in live play, you might not necessarily be doing too much wrong.

Remember that playing live you're going from 100+ hands/hr (depending on how many tables you play online) to 20-30 hands an hour. This means that variance can bite harder than online. If you have pokertracker or similar, I'm sure you'll notice downswings of 1000 hands or more. In a live setting, 1000 hands could easily take 50 hrs.

Add to the fact that you've not fully adjusted so you're probably not on your A-game; you may be giving off physical tells; you're not used to keeping track of the bet and pot sizes yourself, you can easily take off a few BB/100 from your online expectation.

If you're a winning player online, I predict it's a matter of time before you adapt to live play and start making profit.


Just another thing to consider, I'm not sure how relevant this is as I don't know how often you are playing live/online but when playing online you normally see many more hands per hour (the game is faster and you may be multi-tabling) which averages out your experience much more- you may just be having a bit of a poor run in the live games or have come up against an unusual amount of loose players.

Of course if you have been playing a lot of live games then this is obviously irrelevant.


I have noticed players whom are green to brick and mortar poker tend not to be vary good at understanding tells, at both ends of the spectrum. They are not practiced with tells so they do not understand what to look for and what it means and they do not understand what other players are seeing in them. Tells are complicated, they are difficult to read without experience and they are difficult to hide without experience. It might be said the successful online poker players have a different skill set then live players. I would suggest to the OP that you work on your observation of other players and how they perceive you, the rest of your game is fine.

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