Playing live cash game poker online is not the same as playing it in person. Live poker is unique because of its slower pace, physical tells and larger games.
As a poker player who has played for over 20 years and played more than a million online hands, I would like to share with you some truths about playing live poker. Continue reading or press play.
There are hundreds of aspects to live cash games. However, I will only list six of the most important ones that all players should be aware. Let’s get started.
Live Poker Is Super Slow
Live poker is extremely slow compared to online. Online, you can expect between 60-75 hand/hour depending on whether you are playing 6max or Full Ring. That’s for each table. If you play multiple tables, it is not unusual to play hundreds per hour.
If you choose to play the fast-fold variation, you will typically be playing 200-250 hand/hour per table.
The average live cash game poker table sees 20-30 hands per hour. Multi-tabling is not available.
How to Deal with Boring Cash Games
Online players in particular may find that live cash games are boring due to the low volume. Poker players who are bored tend to make costly mistakes.
I would advise players to pay attention to their opponents during the “free” time in order to get more out of boring cash games. Pay attention to:
• How many hands are played per orbit?
• How often do c betting flops occur?
• Does it seem that they approach multi-way pots and heads up differently?
This will keep your mind sharp and help you to build your profiles on players faster.
You could play more hands to quell your boredom but you should consider the next truth.
Play Tighter In Live Cash Games
It’s true that 95% of players could do better by playing fewer preflop hands.
It’s true that nobody goes to the cardroom to lose a lot of money, but being too loose before the flop can lead to you being out half your buy-in by the end of the session.
Consider it in this way. If you played an 8-9-handed game online, , your VPIP could be around 17%. Multiply this by the number hands per hour you play in a live poker game and you get 3-5 hands per hour.
This is without even mentioning the stack depths which in live games can be very shallow. Without even mentioning how loose some players can be.
You aren’t necessarily ‘running super card dead’ if you haven’t had a hand to play in the last 30 minutes. You could be playing correctly.
What hands should you play?
Play the best hands in early position, and then be dynamic and aggressive from late and middle position. Some tables allow you to be a bit loose in MP or LP. However, many others will call even large raises.
Download The GTO Poker Ranges app if you want to find the best preflop poker ranges. The GTO Poker Ranges App is a great way to learn how to raise your hands.
If you’re new to poker, the Full-Ring > Exploitative Ranges are a good place to start. Ignore the yellow ranges. Basic red ranges will keep you safe and focused on value. Why would you throw K7s or 64s in the mix if your opponent is playing too loose?
Live Poker Rake is Horrible
Rake is a cost of doing business but it is not a great thing in most live poker room. Rake has increased significantly since I began playing poker (when most rooms had a cap of $4 and no promotion was offered in any room). I have played in rooms where rake is as high as $6 + $2 – ouch!
What is 5+1 Rake?
If you see a live rake of $5+$1, this means that there is also a normal rake as well as a promotion.
A $5+$1 Rake means that the normal rake cap is $5, and there’s also a $1 Promotion Drop.
The promotion is usually dropped once the pot reaches a value of $10.
The “normal” rake is usually 10%, with $1 being taken from every $10 potted until a cap is reached. If the pot is $34 with a $20 bet and your opponent folds and the rake amount is $5 + $1, the room will take $3 as the normal rake and $1 to cover the promotion drop. You get $30 in your account – but not before tipping!
Compare Online & Live Poker Rake
Although it is difficult to compare the online poker rake with that of live poker, I find this comparison useful for understanding how things work.
Compare the rake in common online rooms from the PrimeDope page and you will see that most online rooms charge closer to 5% instead of the 10% live rake. The caps are comparable to each other, particularly if you compare GGPoker.
GGPoker’s $1/$2 game has a limit of $6 at the time this article was written. $2/$5 is capped at $8, which is more than most live rooms.
It’s apples and oranges again because online poker has very different costs. (Building + dealer costs are different from server costs.) But 홀덤온라인 to compare before you give up on live poker entirely, since the rake so high.
Rake Structures to Avoid (If you Can)
You should try to avoid some live rake systems. Two things that I recommend are:
Avoid games where the “flop” is not present.
In most live games, rake is not taken on pots without a flop. If you 3bet preflop, and everyone folds then there is no rake deducted from your pot.
Some rooms (especially those in California) will charge a rake immediately, regardless of whether a flop was seen.
If possible, avoid these games.
Do not play games with uncapped rake.
There are some games that do not cap their rake. These are usually private games. They will then take their rake percentage out of each pot with no caps.
Put this in context. Say you’re playing $2/$5 when you win a $2,000 prize.
• If you have a 10% rake with a $5 cap on it, the house will take $5 out of that pot, and you’ll get $1,995 sent to you. Nice!
• If the rake was 10%, but not capped, then the house would get $200, and you’d only receive $1,800. Not so nice.
In private games and destination games, it’s common to see caps that are uncapped or super high. This is a common occurrence on poker cruises, so be sure to check the rake structure prior to playing.