Crush Live Poker

Posted on
Many online players will dabble in live play at some point in their poker career. The truth is that if you can hold your own in an online environment, you can potentially become a huge winner in live games. Playing live poker is a little like playing online poker 10 years ago, the competition is soft and there is a lot of money to be made, even in higher limit games. If you are planning to hit a live game sometime soon, the following pointers should get you off to a good start.

33.4k Followers, 7,468 Following, 792 Posts - See Instagram photos and videos from CrushLivePoker (@crushlivepoker). Here are five essential live poker tips that will help you crush the game – and the competition – in your first live game. Live Poker Game Tip #1: Do Not Be a Limper A limper, in poker, is a player who chooses to call rather than raise when he is the first to enter the pot or even when he joins the action by calling when there is a limp.

1. Body Language

Crush Live Poker. 11,699 likes 10 talking about this. CrushLivePoker is the only training site exclusively made to help you beat live poker cash games, concentrating on weekly podcasts, live. We deep dive into the fundamentals for tight, aggressive pre-flop poker and enable you to make good decisions during your game.0:10 - Intro to Preflop Funda.

Image Credit - Yanning Van De Wouwer
There is a richness in a live poker game that doesn’t exist in an online game. In an online environment it’s the players with the strongest theoretical knowledge and the best grasp of mathematics that usually come out on top. These skills are doubtless still valuable in a live environment, but there are winning players who are theoretically very weak. Why is this the case? They understand human psychology and can make strong plays based on various tells that are given off unintentionally.
Crush live poker training reviews
There is a wide range of material that can be found online regarding this topic. All kinds of actions should be observed intently. It could be the way an opponent handles his chips, the direction of his gaze, the frequency with which he checks his cards. Perhaps he seems overly casual, or extremely uncomfortable. Perhaps he is talkative at certain times, or silent. Maybe he takes a long time to make certain decisions while acting very quickly in others.
Reading these is an art and takes experience and practice. Remember that an action that indicates one thing about a certain opponent, might indicate something complete different for another. There is no universal meaning to various actions. We are essentially interested in how an opponent acts by default and in which situations he deviates from this.
The idea is that we might find ourselves in a situation where our opponent makes a big bet on the river. In an online environment we know we’d click the fold button every time. Our opponent freezes, scarcely breathing, making firm eye-contact with us. We know that this player is generally casual, friendly, not prone to starting.
The solid eye contact is often used as a subconscious intimidation tactic, while the reduced movement and breathing is a natural human response to telling a lie or being nervous.
We have a read on him and make the call because we know he is bluffing. Theoretically our call is terrible, but we win, because we understand the way our opponents behave.

2. Masking

Hidden behind the privacy of our computer screen at home, we don’t need to worry about our opponents picking up visual tells. Now, for the first time, we will need to worry about whether we are giving away any information for free. There is a chance that the average online player is a walking bucket of tells when he first sits down in a live game.
The key here is consistency. We don’t want to act one way with our strong hands and another way with our weak hands. We want to think about the timing we use for our decisions. We also might decide to cover our eyes or mouth (with sunglasses or a hoody) to prevent our opponent from getting body language reads.
Masking can be surprisingly hard to do, since there are some factors we may not even consider. For example, perhaps we like to shuffle our chips a lot. When we are bluffing we might subconsciously stop shuffling, or the tempo with which we shuffle increases or decreases.

Perhaps we have a tendency to use a card protector when our hand is strong. Maybe we have a tendency to vocalize our actions when we are strong (“check” “raise”), but let our chips do the talking when we are weak. (Tap table for check, simply place chips in the middle when betting).

3. Reverse Tells

As we develop proficiency in understanding body language, we can attempt to use it to our advantage. Perhaps we know a certain player will read a specific type of action as weak. Maybe he thinks that if we push our chips forward forcefully it means we are bluffing.
We can consider using this as an advanced tactic to get lighter calls. It’s important to stress that this kind of play requires strong reads. We wouldn’t want to be attempting something like this against a player who is simply not paying any attention and just looking at his own two cards. We can end up levelling ourselves pretty hard this way. Our default approach should be to keep our actions balanced and stay masked.

4. Local Rules

We get somewhat accustomed to the rules of games online. That might not be exactly how the games run at your local casino. We want to check things such as the blind-structure and any additional rules such as straddling/antes and card showing.
Online the BB is usually double the SB. In a live environment this could be completely different, in some casinos the BB is exactly the same as the SB, leaving the SB the option to simply check to the BB.
Antes may also be in play (usually this means we should raise more aggressively), and some additional rules such as straddling might also be optional. A straddle is when UTG pays an additional payment blind, but then gets to act last preflop. The easiest way to think about this is that there is a Small-Blind, a Big-Blind, and an Even-Bigger-Blind.
In most casinos it is only necessary to show our cards if we took the last aggressive action before showdown. Assuming we were the caller, it is acceptable for us to simply muck our holdings without the table seeing. This is a little different to online where anyone who reaches showdown must volunteer their hole card info.
In many cases, even players who can be asked to show will muck, and this is often acceptable to the table. In some cases we have the right to ask to see our opponents mucked cards, but it should be done tastefully and in good etiquette.

5. Chip Counting/Handling

Remember that while stacks are calculated automatically online, they must be counted manually live. It’s useful to develop the skill of looking at players chip stack and making a rough estimate of how much they are playing. It’s OK to directly ask the player how many chips he has, but remember that he is not obligated to tell you, so if he is reluctant it can be bad etiquette to force the issue.
However, if we ask the dealer he can be obligated to count every single chip in that player stack if we so desire. We should naturally make sure we don’t give away any tells with this kind of question. If we only ask for a count when we are strong, that could be a pretty big give-away. It might be safer to simply develop good estimation skills ourselves.
The way we stack our own chips is important because other players will want to look at these and have a rough idea of what we are playing. It’s considered good etiquette to keep the larger denominations of chips clearly visible at the front of our stack. Having sloppy chips stacks where many higher value chips are concealed is considered bad practice, and even angle-shooting in extreme cases.
Seeing as all players should keep their chips stacked neatly, it is also bad practice to “splash” the pot. Just because you have the nuts does not mean that you need to viciously jam your stack into the middle causing chips to roll everywhere. This may be cool in Hollywood, but it’s not going to be viewed that way at your local casino.
It’s important to keep your betting actions unequivocal. This means no string-raises. Any betting amount should be placed into the pot in one smooth action. The exception is that we have already announced the exact amount we raise to in which case there is a little bit of lee-way.
LiveIn many casinos, if we say “raise” we are committed to raising, regardless of whether we want to or not. If we make a bet and place it into the middle in 2 motions without announcing a raise first, there is a chance that only the initial amount we placed in the middle will count as our bet. Anything on top of this might be considered “string-betting” and disallowed by the dealer.

6. Preflop Strategy

The fundamental difference when we sit down in most live games is that players will be considerably looser than we are used to preflop. Open-limping will also be a hugely common sight. There are 2 main adjustments that the average poker player makes when transitioning from online.
  1. Open-Raise Larger. If we try and open for the minimum, or raise to 3bb, the likelihood is that we will simply get a whole bunch of callers. This can be ok for certain types of holdings, but really not great for reverse-implied-odds hands such as pocket-Aces. It’s often acceptable to open-raise for 5bb or larger, especially if we know we will get callers.
  1. Overlimping is OK. Imagine we are on the BTN with 56s. We face 5 limpers. We could naturally try and raise and either take it down preflop or get a heads-up pot. This works in theory, but rarely in practice. We will usually just end up getting a bunch of callers. The nature of live games is that since players are only seeing 30 hands or so per hour, they don’t like to fold preflop. They want to see a flop so they can hit big. Most decent players realise this is a bad approach, but it’s still necessary to make adjustments to our strategy as a result. If we have reasonable position at the table and we have the opportunity to overlimp (especially when stacks are deep), we should feel pretty good about taking the opportunity.

7. Deep Stacks

Deep stacks are often inevitable when playing live. Firstly many live games allow deep buyins, even as much as 300bb. Also, since this is not online Zoom poker, we can’t just quit the table every time we are up 50bb. If we get deep, and we want to continue playing at the same table, we will have to play deep.
Deep stacks are a good thing for us, since it allows our opponents to make bigger mistakes. However, it’s important to understand that the deeper the stacks get, the tighter our committing range should be. Sometimes mistakes in deep pots are the difference between a winning and losing player. By the time the stacks are 300bb deep, there is a chance we should only be getting the money in with the stone cold nuts. Bottom set might be fine 100bb deep, but could be a costly error 300bb deep.

8. Pay attention

The above should be enough to get us started in a live environment. But also remember that hands are dealt a lot slower live, which is just something we will have to deal with. It can feel mind-numbing at first if we are used to playing 1000+ hands per hour online. However, we should really strive to immerse ourselves in the richness of the live environment and understand that it is essentially a different game to online poker. We really want to resist the temptation to be glued to our phone or ipad in-between hands, rather than drinking in every piece of information possible.

Other Top Recommended Content

If you enjoyed reading this article, check out our other top recommended articles!
  • Poker Balance to Improve Exploitation
  • Deep Stack Poker
Or take a look at some PokerVIP coaching videos..
  • PokerStars $100nl 6 Max Live Play
  • Man v Machine: Poker Snowie Episode 1

Table Of Contents

We get questions like this one all the time at Upswing Poker:

'My local $1/$2 game is crazy. People call raises with all sorts of garbage hands and they never seem to fold a pair postflop, but I can’t seem to win!

'How should I adjust my strategy in this game?'

It seems like many players struggle with winning in what most would consider “soft” games.

To be fair, such games can be frustrating when you catch a cold run of cards. Who likes watching players with weak hands drag big pots while the stack in front of you dwindles away?

Today we’ll go over valuable strategic adjustments you can use to take advantage of splashy live games. Here’s what’s covered:

  • What Makes a Game Splashy?
  • How to Adjust Your Preflop Strategy
  • C-Bet Strategy Adjustments

Let’s get started.

What Makes a Game Splashy?

There are three major signs that a game is splashy:

1. The biggest sign is that a lot of pots are multiway

Through the use of modern poker software, poker players have learned that pots should rarely be fought for by multiple players. Frequent multiway pots usually mean that there is at least one player (usually more) who is playing too many hands preflop.

2. Large open-raise sizes are also indicative of a splashy game

Preflop solvers have found out that the optimal preflop open-raise fluctuates between 2 and 3 big blinds (bb), generally hovering around 2.5 big blinds. In a splashy game, it is not uncommon to see an average open-raise size upwards of 5bb.

In theory, large raise sizes can be fine as long as they’re accompanied by tighter ranges, as the players are risking more chips to win the same amount (the blinds). That is not the case in splashy games, however. What you will usually find is that the players are raising with the same or even wider ranges than you’re used to playing against.

When your opponents greatly increase their raise size but don’t tighten their range, that’s super exploitable!

3. The last major sign is a willingness by players to commit a lot of chips with marginal hands

This can appear in many forms, including:

  • Going all-in or calling huge raises preflop with very weak hands.
  • Calling multiple bets postflop with weak pairs or draws.
  • Raising with nonsensical hands.

Now, let’s get into some specific adjustments for these games.

Note: Want to know exactly which hands you should play in every common preflop situation? Get instant access to extensive preflop charts and lessons (for cash games and tournaments) when you join the Upswing Lab training course. Learn more now!

How to Adjust Your Preflop Strategy

This section covers adjusting as the:

  • Preflop Raiser
  • Big Blind Defender
  • Preflop Caller In Position

Adjusting as the Preflop Raiser

As always, you should start by playing a solid preflop strategy, then adjust after gauging just how splashy the game is.

Crush Live

If you notice that most of the pots are going multiway, you should increase your raise size while keeping your ranges unchanged. If you normally raise to 3bb, jack it up to 4bb. Pots still going multiway? Add another blind.

As a general rule, you should keep adding one big blind to your raise size until you find that you are mostly playing heads-up pots.

That’s the easy adjustment that everyone should make. There is also an optional, more advanced move, but it can backfire if you don’t have deep knowledge of your opponents and/or the necessary postflop skills to pull it off…

This riskier approach is to also widen your raising range to include more good-but-marginal hands. The reason for this adjustment is pretty simple: your splashy opponent plays too many hands preflop and doesn’t have the knowledge or discipline to fold at the right times postflop.

Raising with a slightly wider range allows you to play postflop with the splashy opponent more often, thus you become the benefactor of their mistakes more often. Again, be very careful with this adjustment, because it’s high variance and can easily backfire if you don’t know how to navigate with wider ranges postflop.

Adjusting Your Big Blind Defense

The first thing to consider is that you should not start defending a wide array of hands. This is a trap that many other players fall into, including most of your splashy opponents.

Regardless of the number of callers in front of you, you will be getting a very bad price to call because of the large raise size. This is one factor that should make you want to play tighter.

Furthermore, calling from the big blind (with most hands) actually becomes worse as more players join the pot for a couple of main reasons:

Crush Live Poker Black Friday

  • Your equity decreases. It’s tougher to beat three hands than two or one.
  • Your hands will realize less equity. You will see free/cheap turns less often when there are multiple players who can bet or raise behind you.

So even though your pot odds improve with more players in the pot, it is not enough to make up for the two points above.

With that in mind, let’s talk about the hands you should defend with.

The best hands to defend with are hands that dominate the other players’ ranges and/or hands that can potentially make the nuts. Examples of this include:

  • Suited Ax hands
  • Suited connectors
  • Pocket pairs.

Pro tip: If you are well-versed in 3-bet pots, I suggest widening your squeeze range to include hands such as AJo, ATs+, KTs+, QTs+, JTs and 99+.

Adjusting as the Preflop Caller In Position

When facing a raise in position, you should 3-bet with a linear range consisting of your best playable hands. For example, if you’re in the cutoff facing a middle position raiser, you should 3-bet with 99+, ATs+, KJs+, and QJs.

The hands you should call in position are those that perform well in multiway pots. I’m talking about suited connectors, suited aces, and 22-88.

Further reading: The Starting Hands That Make the Most Money in Multiway Pots

How to Adjust Your C-Betting Strategy

Given that most of the pots will be multiway, the focus of this section will be on c-betting in multiway pots.

The most important thing to remember about c-betting in multiway pots is that the “burden of defense” is shared between multiple players. In other words, a bluff needs to go through multiple opponents in order to profit.

Let’s go over a bit of simple math to make this clearer.

Fruit poker classic. Say you bet $50 into a $100 pot. In order for that bet to break even on its own (not including your hand’s equity), it needs to get through 33% of the time ($50 / ($100 + $50) = 0.33).

This means that the other players need to call cumulatively 67% of the time in order to stop you from profiting with your bluffs. Given that, on average, a preflop range will flop a made hand or a draw around 63% of the time, and that you are up against at least two players, it becomes very hard for a bluff to profit.

When you add the fact that the general tendency of weak players is to call too much, then trying to bluff multiple players becomes a very dicey proposition.

Betting with marginal value hands becomes dicier too. This is because the more players there are, the more likely it is one of them will have a two-pair or better. So, you may want to mix in some more checks on the flop with value hands as well.

Wrapping Up

You have to remember that the meta-strategy that you will be using in these games is very value-oriented and very tight postflop due to many pots being multiway.

Crush Live Poker Youtube

With these things in mind, you will absolutely crush these games in the long-run, as long as you buckle your seat belt and prepare for some short term variance.

If you like this article or have any questions or feedback. feel free to leave a comment down below and I will do my best to answer.

Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!

Crush Live Poker Cyber Monday

Note: Ready to put your cash game skills to the test for free? Take this quiz and try to get 10 out of 10 correct (you’ll get a reward just for trying). Test your skills now!

Crush Live Poker Podcast

Sponsor-generated content by Upswing Poker