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Poker Strategy | Beginner's Poker

Offline vs. Online poker

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If you've been playing online poker for a while now, you have probably toyed with the idea of playing an “offline” game in a casino. But what should you expect on your first visit? Will it be intimidating? How does it differ from the online action you've gotten so used to?

What should you expect?
You should expect the pace of things to be a LOT slower than online. There is no 15 second clock for players to decide on their next move. The dealer has to manually shuffle the cards and deal them out and there are much longer breaks than 5 minutes. The game rules are pretty much the same as online as far as betting and taking turns goes. There are a few things you should take note of though:
Always act in turn. So pay attention to the action and fold, check, bet or raise when it is your turn to act, not before. There is no auto action button in real life!

Don't string bet. What is a string bet you say? This is the act of placing chips into the bet then returning to your stack for more. This confuses other players as to how much you have bet and is open to abuse. Either place your chips into the pot in one movement or announce the amount you want to bet (or raise) clearly so the dealer is aware and can inform the rest of the table.

Dress codes. Check before you leave for the casino if you need to ditch the training shoes and ripped jeans for something a little smarter.

Smaller tournaments are often self-dealt events. This could mean you will finish up dealing the cards. If you've never dealt before you may find this difficult to do for the first time in front of a full table of players. Check before you buy-in that dealers are available for the poker tournament unless you are happy to deal yourself.

Will it be intimidating?
This all depends on when and where you are playing. If you jump straight into a $1,000 main event, you could easily be out of your depth. Try some smaller buy-in events, many casinos have newbie nights, yes you are a newbie, even if you have been playing online for three years, in the casino environment that is.

Your opponents will be nervous to some degree so don't worry about nerves too much, it is only natural, afterall there is prize money at stake! Try not to be concerned about the physical actions of others, some players will thump their fists on the table or shout and swear. Don't let this put you off your game, stay 100% focused.

How does it differ from online poker?
It many ways it is totally different, in others, exactly the same.
Expect to meet more characters, gain more friends and hopefully less enemies (players tend to blow off steam less face-to-face than online). The feel of the cards, chips, and if you win, cash is something you cannot experience online. If you're looking for fame in the world of poker then you'll need to show your face to the world, fame is unlikely to find you on the internet.

The type of player you will encounter is generally the same as online. There are wild maniacs out there and there are rocks. As with online, each one is likely to have their own unique style and part of the fun is working out how they are playing.

You may find you prefer off line casino poker compared to online poker, or perhaps decide it's not for you and return to your online home. Do try to play offline at least once in your poker career, many (including myself) find the whole experience utterly addictive.

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