Difference Between Online and Live Poker Tournaments

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A lot of people will assert that live poker tournaments and online MTTs are completely different entities.  Online MTTs require more solid fundamentals, such as the the ability to calculate pots odds, equity and understand betting patters; whereas live tournaments require less maths, but more composure, competence, personality reading, and poise. The rest of this article will cover the subtle differences between live tournaments and online tournaments, and conclude which is better for certain types of players.

Difference Between Live and Online Tournaments:

Online Poker Requires More Solid Fundamentals

In online MTTs, the most important factor for success is to make mathematically calculated decisions based on as many optimal calls as possible. The sheer volume of play in online games adds to this, because in the long term any divergence from optimal play will lose you expected value. While this is also true for live tournaments, much more stress is placed on your ability to read people.  Hand equity calculations don’t need to be as exact as online poker because physical tells narrow down hand ranges.

Live Tournaments Are Fishier Than Online Poker

This is true regardless of the buy-in. If you put any two tournaments of the same value buy-in (one being online the other being offline of course) in juxtaposition, the live tournament will naturally have weaker players.  This is also true for cash games – many player testament the $1/$3 ring tables at Caesars Palace are far easier than those at PokeStars. 

Unfortunately, fishier tournaments also means more variance.  You can avoid going broke early in live tournaments however by playing tighter than normal.  Fold weak hands, and don’t get involved in weak-ish draws.

Live Tournaments Are Far More More Passive

A lot of poker players comment that live poker is more about squeezing the most chips out of each player gradually, as opposed to the titanic chip wars than go on in online tournaments.  Being a good live tournament player has several nuances that differ from online MTTs.  Live players will happily call down top pairs and set traps; and this is also partially because players are weaker in tournaments so there’s greater value in doing so.  You’ll get called more often in a tournament for worse odds.

Bluffing in Online and Live Tournaments
Bluffs are much less effective in live poker tournaments.  Because of the passive and weaker strategy of live players, you’re bluffs often won’t carry the same expected value as they would in online MTTs.  When you’re prepared to bluff in a live tournament, you need to know your opponent is capable of folding a marginal hand. 


Value Bets Have Greater Value in Live Poker Tournaments

 In contrast with the previous point, passive play in live tournaments gives you excellent terms for value betting.  When you get a big hand in a live tournament, slow playing it from the flop will reap much higher rewards than online MTTs; and you should concentrate on extracting the most value possible in big or quality drawing hands.  You also need to make sure however you’re not being called down by a passive player with a better hand.

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One Response to “Difference Between Online and Live Poker Tournaments”

  1. Nolan says:

    Online poker tournaments are the most interesting and tempting thing about poker game. You can take part in several online poker tournaments just by enrolling yourself to a reliable poker site. The aim of the casino site for offering such tournaments is to attract more and more players to the casino. But these poker tournaments come with some strict terms and conditions. So, while participating in these ongoing tournaments, you need to check these conditions associated with online poker tournaments.