Online Plays That Don’t Work Live

These days, most people who are new to live poker have
already gained some level of experience through online play. As
a result of this, it’s incredibly common for players to think
that their skills online are going to translate to brick and
mortar poker. While this is largely true as a whole, there are
plenty of situations where this type of thinking just isn’t
applicable. You are going to be playing against such a wildly
different set of people in a live environment that you aren’t
going to be able to make the same moves with the same rate of
success. Any given play in poker is most dependent upon the
players who you are using it against, and when those players
change, so too does the effectiveness of a play.

One thing that’s important to note is that while these plays
might not usually be in your best interest, it doesn’t
necessarily mean that they can’t still have a use. For example,
you might float online a lot more than you do in live play, but
this doesn’t mean that your live floats are bad by default. It
all comes down to being able to pick your spots very carefully.
Your mistakes tend to be magnified in live play because they are
going to take longer to correct.

If you are playing 10+ tables
online and lose a buy in, there’s a decent chance that your
loss will be erased in the next minute or two. If, however, you
lose a buy in or two in live play, it could take several
sessions before you make up for it. Don’t change your game
entirely when you play poker in a brick and mortar casino, but
look for modifications that can improve your bottom line.

Note that these tips are most applicable from $1/$2 up to
(most) $5/$10 games. Beyond this limit, strategies become more
complex and advanced to the point where these moves could very
well be a required element of your repertoire.

Super Aggressive Play

Super aggressive play could arguably be considered the most
significant creation of the online poker sites era. Before online
poker really started to get big, and even in its prime years, a
lot of players adapted a much tighter and straight forward
approach to the game. This was mainly due to the fact that this
type of strategy had worked quite well for many years. As the
game evolved, however, aggression started to take over. While it’s absolutely needed if you hope to win online, it can tear you
apart in live games. One thing that you need for aggression to
work is a set of opponents that are capable of folding. In live
games, this often times just won’t be the case.

Open raising and never limping is a very standard skill set
online. In live play, though, you should be looking to limp into
a lot more pots. The goal of constant pre-flop raises is to
force folds both pre and post-flop. Since you are unlikely
to get a high percentage of folds, raising becomes a less
valuable move.


Floating isn’t the worst move to make in live play. In fact,
there are plenty of situations where it could work quite well.
The problem with floating in live poker, as is the case with
most of these plays, is that it requires players who are willing
to fold. A successful float in live play is most often the
product of solid timing. If you are attempting this play against
someone who clearly has a clue as to what they are doing, you can
safely give it a shot. If you are up against someone who is
hardly thinking, however, you might as well throw your money
down the drain. Not only should you be picking the right spot
considering the action and the board, but you should also ensure
that you are floating against the exact right type of player.

Double and Triple Barrels

The problem with double and triple barrels in live poker,
again, is related to players’ general unwillingness to fold any
hand at any cost. Yes, you may very well be in the most ideal
spot where you can fire another barrel on the turn when a scare
card shows, but this isn’t to say that your opponent necessarily
cares. A double or triple barrel can appear so primed for
success from the outset all the while failing miserably once in

This particular move is exceptionally risky because of the
compounded amount of money that’s involved. First you have made
a continuation bet on the flop that failed, which then led you
to a double barrel on the turn. At this point you are now going
to bet a fair amount more than you bet on the flop. Add these
two bets together and you need to bet even more on the river. As
you can imagine, it doesn’t take a whole lot for a triple barrel
attempt to conclude with the words “all in.” Before you try this
move in a live setting, think about how it will feel when you
get called down. Of course, you need to take shots from time to
time, but with each call from your opponent, the less likely it
is that they are going to fold on the next street.

Light 3-Bets and Light 4-Bets

Everyone knows that live poker players love action. Everyone
also knows that the action starts pre-flop, so it’s no
coincidence that this is the time where your opponents are least
prone to laying down a hand. You should be using this to your
advantage when you have opportunities to capitalize on big
starting hands. Likewise, you should be shying away from spots
where there’s a good chance that you are lighting money on
fire. Light 3-bets and light 4-bets have a low enough rate of
success online, so you can only imagine how frequently they fail
in live play.

If you absolutely must place a light 3-bet, be sure that you
are at least doing it with the right hands. Don’t bet light with
a totally useless hand like 73 off suit or J2 suited, etc.
Instead, use hands like A4 suited or K5 suited, etc. These are
the type of hands that will allow you to potentially flop hard
while also remaining deceptive. You can hit a big pair, have a
small pair with top kicker, a tricky two pair or trips, and so
on and so forth. And plus, when you miss (which will be most
times), you won’t have much trouble letting go. It certainly
isn’t advisable to be making light 3-bets or light 4-bets in
most live games, but try to execute them to the best of your
ability should you feel the urge to make a move.