How does one play live poker tournaments?

Today, most beginners are starting their poker journey online, and later decide to participate in a live poker tournament. With numerous differences to consider between online poker and live poker, we have prepared a brief guide to help you understand what matters most when playing poker in a real casino.

Here you can find a comprehensive overview of all regular poker tournaments in Ireland.

The advantages and disadvantages of live tournaments compared to online tournaments.


You can gain an advantage by having a clearer read on your opponents, as you can observe their tells, which are their behavior, gestures, and facial expressions. By carefully studying these cues, you can gather valuable information about their intentions and decision-making process. This will help you make more informed choices and react accordingly during the game. Additionally, paying attention to their body language can give you insights into their level of confidence or nervousness, allowing you to adjust your own strategy accordingly. So, keep a keen eye on your opponents and use their tells to your advantage.

They have the ability to emit signals, thus creating pressure on the opponents.

The game is slower, giving you more time to ponder, contemplate, and calculate.


Your opponents can easily see through you when you betray yourself through obvious behaviors. Be mindful of your actions and avoid giving away your strategies. Keeping your intentions hidden will give you an advantage in any challenging situation. It's crucial to cultivate a sense of unpredictability and maintain a poker face to keep your competitors guessing. By mastering the art of deception and remaining elusive, you can stay one step ahead and achieve success against your adversaries. Remember, it is the element of surprise that can often lead to victory.

You may find yourself under pressure and feeling anxious as you observe everyone at the table.

You are not allowed to utilize any assistance programs and odds calculators.

Chip Management

In the realm of online poker, a computer algorithm takes charge of meticulously organizing the chips and presenting them with delightful graphics and numerical representations. Unlike in live poker, there's no one to sort and count your chips, or inform you about the state of your budget. It is crucial, therefore, to keep your chips neatly separated into stacks and maintain a clear overview, enabling you to make the right plays.

With a knack for staying organized, you'll effortlessly and swiftly make calls, bets, and raises, thus avoiding any unnecessary delays in the game. By maintaining order, you ensure a smooth flow and expedite your decision-making process, allowing you to keep the momentum going without any unnecessary interruptions.

Game speed

Playing poker online is a much faster experience than playing in person, as tasks such as shuffling cards, organizing and counting chips, and other procedures are automated by the computer. However, when playing live poker, a human takes on these responsibilities, resulting in a slightly longer duration for each hand. Additionally, there are more distractions at the live table, which typically leads to a game taking up much more time compared to an online poker room.

During live poker, a single hand can take up to 10 minutes or even longer. However, when playing the online version, you can expect to play approximately four times as many hands within the same timeframe.

Setting differences

Making chip placements is a critical aspect where numerous novice live players tend to make mistakes. In the online realm, "placing" simply involves clicking a button, whereas in live games, one must meticulously calculate their raise amount and ensure that all chips are placed over the betting line.

In addition, it is crucial to ensure that placing the chips is done smoothly in a fluid motion. Casinos usually prohibit what is known as a "string bet," which involves reaching back to the stack for separate bets.

Watch the action

In live poker, there is no audible alert that indicates it's your turn to play. Surely, you wouldn't want to be the player who slows down the game because you failed to realize it's your turn, right? That's why it's crucial to stay attentive and act promptly when it's your time to make a move.

The same principle applies to the compelled bets in the game: it is advisable to play them without the dealer's prompting, so as to avoid needlessly slowing down the game, given that blinds and antes are one's own responsibility.

Protect cards

It is your sole responsibility to keep an eye on your cards. So be cautious that the dealer doesn't accidentally collect your own hand along with the dead cards. A chip or a card protector can assist in clearly indicating to the dealer that you are still in the game. Remember to exercise vigilance in safeguarding your cards from any mishaps.

It is crucial to keep in mind that during live poker, players are seated right next to you. Therefore, it is essential that you never provide any insight into your own cards or freely distribute information. Always be mindful of protecting your hand and avoid giving away any unnecessary details.


We won't delve into the intricacies of poker tells at this juncture, but it's worth considering that you have other resources at your disposal to gauge the strength and weakness of your opponent when you're facing them head-on. Keep in mind that there are additional pieces of information that you can utilize to make informed decisions about your opponent's capabilities while sitting in close proximity to them.

Mastering this skill can take years, but there are plenty of excellent books available on the subject, such as Mike Caro's "Book of Poker Tells." These resources and others provide valuable insight into the matter, revealing what to look out for when it comes to tells.

The best way to acquire the intricacies of live poker is by immersing oneself directly in the game. Engaging in live poker provides a wholly distinct experience compared to online platforms, and it is only through hands-on live poker experience and a fervent desire to learn that one can become skilled in live play.

Strategies for live poker tournaments

When participating in live tournaments, it is essential to consider the buy-in amount, blind structure, and tournament formats. Due to the slower pace of live poker compared to online poker, the variance increases, necessitating a more conservative approach to bankroll management. To confidently handle the ups and downs, it is recommended to have a bankroll that is 100 times the buy-in when playing in live tournaments. This ensures that you can smoothly navigate through any swings that may arise.

A fantastic recommendation for live MTTs would be Gus Hansen's book, "Every Hand Revealed." It offers valuable insights and strategies that will greatly enhance your gameplay. With his unique perspective and extensive experience, Hansen takes you on a captivating journey through his thought process in each hand, offering valuable lessons along the way. This book is a treasure trove of knowledge for poker enthusiasts, providing a deep understanding of the complexities involved in tournament play. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced player, "Every Hand Revealed" is a must-read that will undoubtedly elevate your poker skills and give you a competitive edge in live MTTs.

Every Hand Exposed provides a unique glimpse into Gus Hansen's journey, starting from his initial hand in the tournament to his title win at the Aussie Millions 2007. This captivating piece offers a fresh perspective on a live tournament and stands as one of the most enthralling works ever penned about poker. While it may not be considered a pivotal milestone in poker theory, like David Sklansky's "Tournament Poker," Every Hand Exposed offers invaluable insights for live tournaments. With this book in hand, players can glean an abundance of knowledge and wisdom.

During major tournaments such as the WSOP, the blind structure tends to progress at a leisurely pace. Participants commence with substantial chip stacks and enjoy ample intervals between each blind increment. This affords players the luxury of employing patient strategies without the need for high-risk maneuvers like engaging in significant coinflips. Details regarding the tournament format are usually discernible from the tournament name itself. The nomenclature typically denotes whether it is a full ring or 6-max game, whether rebuys are permitted, or if players can opt for an add-on during the course of play.

The approach to gameplay in online MTTs shares many similarities with smaller MTTs. However, when it comes to expensive and multi-day tournaments, the early phase tends to be prolonged due to deeper stacks, allowing players to avoid getting pressured by blinds too quickly.

On, you will discover an array of additional tactics and tutorials to assist you in honing your skills and evolving into a more proficient player.

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