Live play is one of the best ways to test your skills as a poker player. Before the online craze of poker, before the internet itself, cowboys and rich business men played cards for money. We have heard the stories of great gamblers like Doc Holliday and we might have imagined playing with his luster and affability, but life is not like the movies and sometimes live play and be very unnerving. Whether you play at an establishment surrounded by strangers or in your buddies basement for your weekly game there are certain advantages you have that can give you a better chance to win.
It starts even before you come to the table. The mind-set of some of the players I have seen can be described as fatal in a card game. Those who are quiet and fumble their money or their cards. Give yourself a task or exercise before you hit the table to help focus you on your goal. Your goal is to make money, to do the best with the cards you have. If you enter a table full of confidence, that can register to the other players. This little seed implanted in their heads can be the difference between a call and a fold. It might be easier when playing with strangers, but what happens when your buddies, who have known you your whole life, are staring at you from across the table? Well at this point you have to do what they do, you must observe yourself, see yourself from there eyes. If you want your buddy to call your big raise and you know he has an ego then push him a bit. Throw in a comment making it easier for him to call. Never underestimate how much a gambler wants to call your bet. Most players consider folding as losing. Have an awareness of whatever poker bonus table you are playing at. Cards are so much luck that any advantage one can have is monumental. If you notice the cards are hitting and pocket aces or kings are getting busted, then you might want to wait for the flop the next time you look down and see rockets. Certain people are keener on reading others. Notice what your senses pick up, how often those instincts are right. Your judgment in a game can be your saving grace. Knowing when to bluff is one of the most crucial parts of a live game. Anyone would hate to push on poor cards and get called or worse yet raised. Make sure that your bluff leaves you with a small chance for a win, a backdoor flush or straight. A bluff is only a move you can make, like in chess or checkers. The definition of a bluff is to act confident with nothing backing you up. Make sure that there is not nothing, there must always be something.
Awareness at a table can be a great ally. Sometimes the cards just don’t come your way, but the winner isn’t always the player with the best cards. If you can keep a keen awareness of the players in the pot, what hands are potential based on the board, and an awareness of yourself, then your chances of being a successful live poker player will dramatically improve. We must become actors at a poker table, losing our identities and our faces, masking them with our poker counterparts.