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What are live game specific skills you can practice to get better while playing? What are live game specific skills you can practice to get better while playing?

10-30-2021 , 12:32 PM
My question isn't so much about the theoretical / strategical part of poker, but more about specific skills required to win in a live setting.

An easy example would be keeping track of the pot and the stack size of everyone at the table.
Which is actually quite hard and a lot of info to keep track of constantly. At least for me.

What are some of these skills specific to live games?
How important is each of these skills and which ones are the most important?

A few I can think of and how important I think they are in my games:
- hiding tells (10/10)
- reading tells (2/10) (more important vs very bad players)
- tracking pot size (6/10) (you can just count the pot but it wastes important time and might give off tells)
- tracking opponents stack size (7/10) (again you can look at any time, but it might give away info)
- remembering player tendencies (8/10) (you can't tag or easily take notes live)


Note that I am looking for skills specific to live games, so anything that is also important in an online game does not qualify, some examples: value betting, bluffing, bet sizing, ...

I assume most (all?) of these skills are going to be things that online sites just tell you by default, so there's no need to track them, like stack size and pot size.
I wonder if there are any I'm overlooking.
11-01-2021 , 11:59 AM
I'm not a tells guy at all, so I'd give both hiding/reading tells like nil importance, but that's me.

I find tracking pot size is pretty easy. The more important you think sizing is important, then the more this skill should be considered pretty imperative. Tracking opponents stack size can be a little more difficult, but probably overall fairly important to ballpark fairly decently.

I take notes on most opponents (99% of whom are week in / week out or more regs) on my poker tracking app while at the table. Pretty important to how/when/who to deviate from the pool norm against.

Biggest one you're missing that trumps all, imo, is the skill of patience / discipline / will power / tilt control. Thankfully I have no on-line background whatsoever otherwise I'm sure I'd go crazy at the pace of the live game, and my guess is that is the number one obstacle people coming from on-line have to overcome.

GcluelessLLSNLnoobG
11-01-2021 , 12:15 PM
My limited advice is to start small. Pay hawk-like attention* to the guy to your right and the two to your left. Like gg, I play with a limited amount of players so within a few weeks/months, I have pretty good tendency reads on the regs.

*edit: like... even when you are UTG, figure out what the BB does. And the two to your left will reveal a lot about their game / position to you. DO NOT FALL ASLEEP in any chair.
11-01-2021 , 12:59 PM
How they handle the chips - drop chips as they prepare to raise or call
Neat vs messy stacks
Inexperienced at a casino/cardroom - if they keep asking who the action is on etc..

Tells aren't of much use if players can't read their own hand

Last edited by davepoker; 11-01-2021 at 01:00 PM. Reason: more info
11-01-2021 , 01:36 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yeodan What are live game specific skills you can practice to get better while playing?
My question isn't so much about the theoretical / strategical part of poker, but more about specific skills required to win in a live setting.

An easy example would be keeping track of the pot and the stack size of everyone at the table.
Which is actually quite hard and a lot of info to keep track of constantly. At least for me.

What are some of these skills specific to live games?
How important is each of these skills and which ones are the most important?

A few I can think of and how important I think they are in my games:
- hiding tells (10/10)
- reading tells (2/10) (more important vs very bad players)
- tracking pot size (6/10) (you can just count the pot but it wastes important time and might give off tells)
- tracking opponents stack size (7/10) (again you can look at any time, but it might give away info)
- remembering player tendencies (8/10) (you can't tag or easily take notes live)


Note that I am looking for skills specific to live games, so anything that is also important in an online game does not qualify, some examples: value betting, bluffing, bet sizing, ...

I assume most (all?) of these skills are going to be things that online sites just tell you by default, so there's no need to track them, like stack size and pot size.
I wonder if there are any I'm overlooking.

Hiding tells is way too high. Firstly - weíre in a pandemic, just wear a mask if youíre worried about hiding tells. Shaking hands - that stops when youíre comfortable with the money (for most people)

Reading tells - blah. I might win a pot or 2 every session from bet sizing tells or something, but itís not really super important

Tracking pot size is very important. A good trick is just count by 5s if youíre playing 1/2 or 1/3. If the pot is 27, just say 30, etc.

Tracking opponents stack size - while itís important, itís less important than tracking the pot size. I donít care what every person in the table has if they arenít in the pot. Knowing your opponents stack sizes can be figured out very quickly.

Player tendencies are very important.


Not all of the below are specifically skills, per say, but defiantly should be known

Knowing who is on your left is very important. Not just immediate left, but the remaining players every hand. If youíre in the HJ and you know the next 2 players are nits, you basically have 3 buttons

Knowing the blinds. Same example as above, youíre in HJ, 2 nits in CO/BTN and then a whale in the SB, Iím raising value hands pre bigger than normal. If I know the whale will call a 10x open -> 10x is the open. It doesnít matter if it looks ridiculous, most people will have no ****ing clue what youíre doing anyway.

If youíre really new, I usually suggest to people to verbalize all their actions until they are comfortable, especially bets and raises. There arenít many worse feelings than when you are trying to bet/raise a strong hand, somehow itís messed up because you did something you didnít know, like a string bet, and youíre opponents get a cheap next card and it brings in some obvious draw that beats you

Donít stack your $5 chips in $50 stacks, you look like a noob (unless of course, you only have $50 on the table). New players are more likely to be scared money and people will target you.

Know the rules of your casino that may vary from other casinos. Does the betting line on the felt play or is forward motion binding? Who shows first at showdown if the river goes check/check? Is someone allowed to ask to see your mucked hand? Are you allowed to run it multiple times? Be aware of how promotions work, ie what plays and what doesnít.

Understand how to quarter a pot

Tabling your hand at showdown is never a bad thing to do. If you muck the winning hand, you donít get the pot 100% of the time. If youíre unsure if you win/lose but table your hand, it will get worked out. If you get to showdown and there has been a lot of checking, just table your hand. Donít show or say just one card, it slows the game down.

If youíre not satisfied at any time about something, ask for a floor to give you a ruling. If youíre pretty sure the floors ruling isnít correct, ask for a supervisor

Players at the table arenít there to watch you think about folding preflop, act swiftly if youíre not up against a big decision.

Players didnít drive all the way to the casino to fold pre. At smaller stakes youíre going to play a lot of hands multi-way, in either limped or raised pots. Understand what you should be doing in massive bloated pots. Winning/losing just a couple of these can make or break a session.

Learn strategy to play against donk bettors. It happens much more often than online.

By in large, LLSNL players donít bluff a lot. If someone is betting a lot and you donít know theyíre tendencies, better to assume they probably have a hand than to hero call. In other words, strength tends to equal strength.

Learn to value bet much more thinly than online. Youíd be amazed by what you get called by on the river.

Protect your cards if your in the seat by the dealer. Protect them from players accidentally throwing their cards into yours (you fold if that happens). Most importantly - if everyone folds to your bet, never give your cards to the dealer until the pot has been pushed to you. I typically just hold them by the betting line, then I get the pot and the dealer get the cards and a tip on the cards

Watch out for angles. There are many ways people can angle you, keep a vigilant eye out for them

Be careful leaving a casino, specifically if itís known you have a lot of $$$ on you. Keep an eye out for people following you. Have an idea of what to do prior to this happening so you donít panic

Tip youíre dealer (in USA#1). Theyíre working in a service industry that they get less than minimum wage.

Itís not the dealers fault you suck at poker. Itís not the dealers fault some player sucked out on you.

Last edited by johnny_on_the_spot; 11-01-2021 at 01:49 PM.
11-01-2021 , 02:29 PM
Be nice to the whales/recs

Tip, but don't over tip

Make change for people or let them borrow chips while they wait for the brush, especially the whales/recs

Get to know and be friendly with the floor

Figure out if you need a seat change and request the button

Color up you chips, no one needs $1k in $5 chips

Do you part to keep the game fun/jovial

And don't forget, be nice to the whales/recs
11-01-2021 , 03:11 PM
Don't discuss strategy at the table.

Don't make any negative comments at the table, especially about other players' play (this also falls into the "don't discuss strategy" section).

Do tip the dealer on pots over a certain size. At 1/2, should be fine to tip $1 for pots over a certain threshold (like in pots over $50 or $75 is fine, but whatever you decide).

Be friendly to whales/ recs when they draw out on you. When you lose, complement the opponent. Always say "nh", and you can tell them "you can't fold that" if it's close enough to the truth. We want players making marginal to bad calls against us, even when it causes us to lose the pot.

If you're worried about giving off tells, wear a mask, like johnny_on_the_spot suggests. I'm not overly worried about COVID at this time, but I still mask up 100% in poker rooms because, besides the marginal health benefits, I feel more comfortable running big bluffs when I have a mask on.

Pay attention to bet sizing tells in 1/2. They're among the most reliable tells in the very low stakes. At 1/2 and higher also pay attention to timing tells. E.g., if V takes a very quick action (like snap check) on a nut changing river, it's usually the case that card didn't give them the nuts. I don't read much into demeanor and physical tells like hand tremors, since these can usually be signs of strength or weakness --- except for two instances. First, if a player checks OOP on river and then stares you down, it usually them checking with a marginal 1-pair hand and hoping you give them a showdown. You can value bet more thinly in this scenario (you don't necessarily want to bluff more frequently, because they might call you down anyway -- gotta know your player to run a bluff here). Second, if player takes an aggressive action, like bet or raise, and they're staring away from the table (like, at the TV), this is usually a sign of immense strength. These two examples fall under the Mike Caro "weak is strong, and strong is weak" tells.

Last edited by ChaosInEquilibrium; 11-01-2021 at 03:19 PM.
11-01-2021 , 03:28 PM
I personally call horseshit on hiding your tells 10/10. New to live players are living tell boxes. I played 30 hrs this weekend and am unable to count the number of live tells I saw and took advantage of. I informed my good pal SPC that I had 2 on her one of which I utilized against her and she has been a live pro for over a decade.
11-01-2021 , 03:37 PM
gunna be a cold November, squid
11-01-2021 , 04:14 PM
Tells in LLSNL...lol.

Strength = TPTK, 2 pair, set, flush draw, flush, straight, FH.

Weakness = TPTK, 2 pair, set, flush draw, small flush, small straight, bottom FH.

Me -> opponents

Me
11-01-2021 , 04:21 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by King Spew What are live game specific skills you can practice to get better while playing?
gunna be a cold November, squid

lol - we try and not play at same table. When we do we play as hard as we can v each other - no tears...good times. We discuss all hands at length. Had a fun 1 with the (not gunna say) tell and she is generally really good but in this instance she was a bit on autopilot and I got her goot and she will not be doing that one again for a long time. We are both a bit rusty as we have not fucused on pokerz at all over the last 18 months as we have been involved in other projects, but are now ramping back up.
11-01-2021 , 04:32 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanqueray What are live game specific skills you can practice to get better while playing?
Tells in LLSNL...lol.
I will give u a free one from this past weekend. I am playing in a game that is very deep very loose and lots and lots o straddlin. Its straddled to 5bb's. Im in MP with the rocketto's. There have been 2 limpers I glance to my left and see a playa preloading chips gettin ready to raise so I become the 3rd limper - he obliges and bumps it to 95 (with not ossum holdings) we get a few callerz and Im able to back raise (which confused the hell outta just about every1 cuz they suk) and get an absolute shitton of chips in pre and am able to stack 2 players handily.

lots and lots o live tellz if u know what u r looking 4
11-02-2021 , 07:57 AM
Hiding tells is a 10/10 for me because of how easy it is to just have a simple routine.
A lot of people are looking for tells that are easy to pick up.

Most of the players I play with don't show too many tells, that's why I have reading tells at only 2/10.

It's very easy to get a few solid tells on players who make no effort to hide them.
And there's always gonna be at least one or two players at your table who are looking for tells to exploit.

If you make no effort to hide your tells, you could very well be talking, laughing and joking every time you have a hand and be sitting there quiet and nervous every time you bluff.
Even the dumbest gambler at your table is going to pick up on that.
Hiding this kind of stuff is, imo, one of the most important live skills.

I'm not saying you need to be a statue and count to exactly 10 every time before you take an action.
Just have a basic routine and stick with it.
If you don't talk when you bluff, don't talk when you value bet, ...
Hold your hands in the same spot, look at the same spot, ...


Not sure how this thread became "advice for beginning live players" but thanks I guess? lol
11-02-2021 , 02:11 PM
I try to improve my game by paying attention to the players. I watch for information from nine players: betting patterns, cards exposed for seconds, nine to twenty players over hours, thirty times per hour, I lose track how many per hour. I can pay attention to the players for five minutes strait but my mind wanders off not keeping track of all the bets and the players. I enjoy watching and talking to the nine to twenty players and play better when I know my opponents. Exercise, meditation, and a good diet before games helps my attention.
11-03-2021 , 12:06 AM
If they are suddenly thirsty... hmmmmmmm wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeee
11-03-2021 , 09:47 PM
Here is a habit to get into. I got this from Tommy Angelo:

As the dealer is gathering up the cards from the previous hand, sit up straight, take breath in and out, and look at the stack of the player to your left, quickly estimate it size. Then look at the next player and stack, and the next. With very little practice, you can review all the stacks in before all the cards are dealt.

Do it right, and you can pick up tells on the players as they receive their cards while you are looking about the table.

I think of it as "addressing the hand," like addressing the ball in golf, before each swing.

(Of course, you should never look at your own cards until it is your turn to act.)
11-03-2021 , 09:48 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanaplan What are live game specific skills you can practice to get better while playing?
If they are suddenly thirsty... hmmmmmmm wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeee
Quality contribution.
11-04-2021 , 02:42 AM
Oh but it is
11-18-2021 , 12:02 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanBostick What are live game specific skills you can practice to get better while playing?
(Of course, you should never look at your own cards until it is your turn to act.)
Not hatin', but if everyone at the table did this you'd average 15 hands per hour.

Gdon'tdothis,imoG
11-18-2021 , 02:27 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by gobbledygeek What are live game specific skills you can practice to get better while playing?
Not hatin', but if everyone at the table did this you'd average 15 hands per hour.

Gdon'tdothis,imoG
+1, I swear there's a handful of regs where I play that stare at the center of the felt until all players have acted before them pre flop, wait a couple seconds then they slowly look at their cards, stare back at the center of the felt, count to some pre-determined number and then act. It feels like torture anytime more than 1 of them is at the table.

Best part is, literally no one is looking at them except the ones that are annoyed at them for slowing down the game.
11-18-2021 , 03:35 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by gobbledygeek What are live game specific skills you can practice to get better while playing?
Not hatin', but if everyone at the table did this you'd average 15 hands per hour.

Gdon'tdothis,imoG
Don't we already average 15 hands per hour on the average table?
Would drop to like 10 if ppl started doing this.
11-18-2021 , 03:39 PM
Can vary obviously, but I think 30 hands per hour is kinda a good ballpark guess for your typical table.

Point is, this is LLSNL, not the Main Event Final Table. It is a benefit to everyone (including us) to encourage keeping the game zipping along as fast as possible, and this doesn't do that, imo.

GcluelessLLSNLnoobG
11-19-2021 , 02:13 AM
Well, just about everything in this forum is about a game of cards, played with people. Yes, that is very important and is definitely the foundation of a winning game.

To take it further, a very old quote that was attributed to Doyle Brunson, I think, describes the rest.

Poker is a game of people, played with cards.

People have an ebb and flow to their behavior, some much more than others. The less experienced players can't help it. Use the time playing a TAG style to get a read on how the table is playing and everyone's mood. Watch for signs that mood is changing. I don't know how to describe that, but I also think that if everyone focused on it, everyone would see it just based on life experience.

Also, bear in mind that the worst (non-drunk) player in the game is aware that you don't call all that much and will avoid you - up to a point. Sooner, or later, they are going to want to look you up. Learn to predict it.

How? As you watch hands play, predict what one, or two people are doing and gauge your confidence in your prediction. Then see what happens. If you're right, learn from that. If you're wrong, learn from that too.
11-19-2021 , 02:54 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanBostick What are live game specific skills you can practice to get better while playing?

(Of course, you should never look at your own cards until it is your turn to act.)
Ya, agree with the others that this is really unnecessary and I donít even understand the logic behind it in general.
11-19-2021 , 05:43 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by gobbledygeek What are live game specific skills you can practice to get better while playing?
Not hatin', but if everyone at the table did this you'd average 15 hands per hour.

Gdon'tdothis,imoG

I guess I'll have to be the one that is "that guy". I prefer seat 3 so that I can naturally look down the table preflop as the cards are being dealt. Sometimes it's very obvious when a player is going to fold on his turn. Sometimes it's just as obvious that a player likes his hand. I look at my cards when it's my turn. It takes a moment when it's a clear fold. The times that I am deciding if this is a hand I want to play adds what, 2 seconds? Again on the flop, turn, and river, I'm watching the other players in the hand before I look at the board.

      
m