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Poker Guide: Moving Your Poker Game Online

By Charles S
Published in Poker School
July 12, 2020
5 min read

8 Tips to Transition from Live to Online Poker

With the current state of the world, more and more live poker games have either been cancelled or transitioned online; the most recent being the famed World Series of Poker. This has led to an increase in live poker players making the switch.

While they say nothing beats the feeling of playing poker live, the world of online poker has come a long way and taken steps to becoming as immersive as possible. In the end however, no one can deny that live and online poker are different and will take some time adjusting from one to the other. Read on for 8 Tips to Transition from Live to Online Poker.

1) Start on One Site

It’s best to start playing on one platform so you can get familiar with online poker, especially if you’re brand new to the scene.

There are dozens of available online poker platforms, but we recommend playing on a regulated site. You want your site to have a license so your gameplay and transactions are safe and secure.

If you’re unsure which to choose, take time to do a little bit of research!

Choose a platform that meets your needs: for example, if there are tournaments that fit your schedule or bankroll. It’s also important to choose a site with software you find aesthetically-pleasing and comfortable-to-use, as you are hopefully planning to run deep and therefore spend many, many hours playing on.

2) Manage Your Bankroll

Bankroll management is important to your success in poker, whether you’re playing live or online. However, be mindful not to treat the two scenarios identically: a $100 tournament online is not necessarily the same as a $100 live tournament.


Because software is automated on most online poker platforms making pace of play quicker, and there are likely multiple tournaments running around the clock. In comparison, many live poker rooms have just one or two daily events that can last a couple of hours.

It becomes easier to put in more volume in an online session, so make sure to not get carried away and stay within the limits of your bankroll.

3) Get Ready for Fast Poker

Everything moves faster in online poker.

In live poker, the deck is shuffled manually after each hand is dealt and chip counts are done by an actual person. With online poker however, this is automated, which means cards are shuffled in less than a second, and the pot is shipped immediately with no mistakes.

Players also move faster online. Whereas in live poker players have to physically look down at their cards before acting, online they can simply click a button and hands play out in a matter of minutes.

You’ll see an average of 30 hands per hour in live poker games, whereas you can easily expect double that for a similar online session. In fact, we’re not exaggerating when we say you can literally play more hands in a single day online than you could in an entire month of live play.

4) Start Small

If you’re new to the online poker scene, start small. This means low stakes and low volume.

The beauty of online poker is that there are so many stakes to choose from. There’s the concept of micro-stakes poker where (as the name suggests) you can play with smaller stakes. Take for example, the Elemental Daily Series where buy-ins start from $0.30.

It might feel natural to start with your usual $1/$2 buy-ins right away, but remember that the action is WAY faster online and you play many more hands. If you’re not careful, you’ll burn through your bankroll very quickly.

Similarly, you might feel you’re missing out on potential value if you’re not playing multiple tables at once. But playing too many tables can actually do more harm than good, especially if you’re not used to playing online.

The increased speed of play; time banks running out quicker; players behaving differently from what you’re used to: all these add up to a different environment online. Playing multiple tables when you’re not yet comfortable with these dynamics will only hinder your ability to focus and make the right decisions.

Of course, once you’ve had a feel of it and are churning out a decent profit, it’s worth slowly increasing your bankroll and expanding to playing more tables simultaneously.

5) Make Use of Online Resources

One of the biggest advantages online poker has over live poker is information.

Online poker players have a vast amount of resources available to them; just a quick Google search for “online poker resources” turns up millions of hits. Apart from poker strategy websites and articles, there is also tracking software that allow for serious players to improve their game.

While third-party apps may not be allowed on most reputable sites, many online poker platforms now have their own in-app tools. Make use of features like SmartHUD (which gives you real-time statistical information on the hands you’ve played with each opponent) or PokerCraft (where players can keep track of their poker journey, review hands and plug leaks in their game).

Don’t forget that there are also many more promotions available online. Most websites have deposit bonuses and freerolls for new players, or loyalty programmes that offer players a percentage of their rake back, so be sure to make full use of those.

6) Watch How Other Online Players Do It

If you want to be a pro, it’s worthwhile taking the time to learn from one.

The online poker community is vast. There are hundreds of poker streamers, influencers, vloggers and more who post content and freely share their knowledge online.

Start by watching some popular Twitch streams and subscribe to players streaming from poker sites you use. Watching others who play professionally expands your knowledge of the game, and you may even learn concepts to apply to your game moving forward.

Streams are also useful for learning about tournament styles that don’t exist in live poker (for example: progressive knockouts), so you can better acclimatize yourself to them.

7) Create an Optimal Environment

Playing online and from the comforts of your home frees you from the constraints of sitting in a casino, but make sure to not get TOO relaxed.

Yes you’re comfortable, but it doesn’t mean that you should have a hundred things going on in the background: whether it’s the TV, being on the phone, or engaging with friends on social media. These distractions will only take your focus off the game.

The online grind can get pretty tough, so prepare beforehand with some snacks, drinks and a good playlist so you have everything you need to sustain those lengthy sessions.

8) Practice, Practice, Practice

You know what they say about practice: the more you do something, the better you get at it. Poker is no different. The more hands you play, the quicker you’re going to improve. And ultimately, it’s important to trust your game.

Chances are that if you’re reading this, you have some sort of poker knowledge. And at the end of the day (despite all their differences), live and online poker are still the same game.

You already know how to play, so just make these small adjustments and get ready to dominate at the tables. Good luck!

Related: Guide to Microstakes Tournaments

Related: Understanding Tournament Overlays

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Charles S


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