Transitioning from Live to Online Cash Games with MyPokerCoaching.com
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The same game is at the heart of both live and online poker.
At the end of the day, a No-Limit Hold'em cash game online is played under the same rules (for the most part) as a live cash game.
The way these games play out in real life, however, makes online cash games a very different animal than their live counterparts.
You'll have less time to act, see more hands per hour, and overall play against a much tougher player pool as you move up in stakes.
In this guide to online cash games you find a few tips to keep in mind when you're transitioning from live poker cash games to online play.
Continue reading to discover:
- What to expect from online cash games
- Why you shouldn't multi-table right away
- What stakes to start from
- What poker tools help you play better poker
Prepare for the Speed of the Game
The biggest fundamental difference you'll see in online poker cash games is the dramatically increased speed of the game.
A full ring live poker game sees 25-30 hands dealt per hour, and lots of downtime between playable hands. By comparison, a full ring online cash game will deal about 60-80 hands per hour.
Those numbers apply if you're playing just one table of full ring. But as any seasoned online cash games player know, this is unlikely to be your style of play for very long.
Online poker gives you the ability to multi-table, and almost every online cash games player like to engage in multiple battles at the same time, fitting as many poker tables as the computer screen allows.
When you play games on PokerStars, for example, you can sit at up to four cash game tables at the same time.
And if you think that's too much, keep in mind that other real money poker sites allow for even more tables to be played simultaneously.
But that's not everything - because the amount of players in the game will also affect the game-speed, making the play even faster.
Move to a six-max table and the number of hands per hour will go up even more. Play a fast-fold cash game like fastforward on partypoker, and you'll be see around 200 hands per hour.
At each table.
Online cash games are also played with a time bank, giving all players, including you, a ticking clock on every decision. You can't tank or think for nearly as long in an online game.
The speed of play is vastly faster online, which brings us to our next tip.
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Start With One Regular Speed Table
It's tempting to jump into the online waters and start playing multiple tables or fast-fold games.
If you're transitioning from live cash games, however, it's best to start with just one table and work your way into the increased speed of the game.
Starting too fast with too many tables leads to sub-optimal play. You want to pay attention to hands you're not involved in to pick up on opponents' tendencies.
You also want to have enough time to play your own hands and not time out.
The ability to multi-table while playing poker cash games online comes with time. Establish a good win rate and get comfortable one-tabling, and then begin to slowly add more tables.
Begin at Smaller Stakes
A $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em cash game at a live casino is an entry-level game, as those are the smallest stakes available in live poker.
An online cash game at those same stakes is full of online cash crushers who've worked their way up from the bottom of the ladder and have years of experience specializing in online play.
It's a big mistake to think a $1/$2 or a $2/$5 online cash game will feature the same level of play as the equivalent stakes in a live game.
Jumping into stakes you're not ready for can be a disaster, decimating your bankroll.
This effect is multiplied by the increased speed of the online game. So even if you're beating $1/$2 and $2/$5 live, you'll want to start at $0.10/$0.25 or $0.25/$0.50 online.
The stakes depend also on the poker site of your choice. While some have a softer field, others like PokerStars run games that notoriously tougher to crack.
To put this in perspective, PokerStars Zoom 500NL games are fast-fold games played at $2.50/$5 blinds, and are considered to be some of the toughest online cash games in the world.
The winning regulars at 500NL Zoom will sometimes drop down to 200NL Zoom if they feel the 200NL games are more profitable at a given time.
When you're just starting out online, that 200NL pool is not somewhere you want to be if the 500NL regulars are lying in wait.
Invest in a Good Setup
The world's best online players have setups that allow them to multi-table with ease and play comfortably for hours.
This doesn't mean that you will have to invest in a six-monitor setup and a $2,000 gaming chair to win at online poker.
A two-monitor setup, or laptop with one external monitor, is a great way to start.
It's important to see every hand at all tables, and you won't be able to do that if you're stacking tables on top of each other on one screen.
You'll also want to make sure your desk and chair setup is comfortable enough to allow for long sessions.
Get Familiar with the Tools of the Trade
The elite online cash game players are using all the poker tools at their disposal to keep an edge over the rest of the field.
These tools include tracking programs like PokerTracker and Hold'em Manager.
These programs keep a database of every hand played, and the players that use them have access to in-depth stats on not only themselves, but their opponents as well.
Keep in mind that not all poker sites allow programs like PokerTracker. But on the sites that do, you can bet that the top players are using them.
Off the table, the top online players study with solver software like PIOSolver and Simple Postflop.
You don't have to dive right into the world of solvers when starting out online, but it's important to understand that the better players you're up against are studying with solvers.
These players are putting in as much study time away from the table as they are playing at the table, and to really crush at the higher stakes you'll have to do the same.
If you want to avoid the most common mistakes when transitioning to online games, make sure to grab our FREE Texas Holdem poker cheat sheet and instantly improve your skills.