Why Do Stars of Live Poker Fail to Beat NL100 Online


Poker players belong to two categories: online players and live players - and there is a huge difference between them. The difference is so huge, world class players who win thousands of dollars in live poker fail to beat even NL100 online.

Why? We’ll tell you why right here right now

Antonio Esfandiari is a TOP-5 poker player on the planet. In 2012, Antonio win $18,3 million dollars in the tournament The Big One for One Drop. Before this cash-in Esfandiari  has already been one of the strongest players of the planet. In one of his interviews. he admitted that he plays online poorly and doesn’t even beat NL100. Such a self-demeaning supposition looks real after the analysis of the couple of hands of Iranian pro offline. Here is one of the hands where Antonio presents Daniel Negreanu $40,000 having top pair top kickers (TPTK). Every disciplined online player knows that should he not throw away TPTK once and for all, his bankroll will come to an end soon enough.

It’s all about the field

To win in poker, one should get the game on a decent level. To win big, one should play against weak opponents. Where one should find them? In live poker clubs! Poker series all over the world, Minsk to Las Vegas. local poker clubs, casinos - those are places where the weakest players live. Are online poker rooms in this list? Nope.

Live fields are weaker than online ones. Live tournament with buy-in of $500 is somewhat like $5-$10 online play. Over half of the table limps to see the flop, “fit-or-fold” poker, horrendous mistakes of the player that make chips go away…. Online players already have a reflex: You see the limp - you write a note “fish”. But this is a common game in live poker. There are plenty of players who don’t see any value in good preflop play. So if you know what squeeze-bet or 3-bet is and see spots you need to bet in, you become a dangerous player in the eyes of the other.

The number of live players is significantly smaller than online. However, there are more players who are ready to say goodbye to their money in live poker. Those are business people and rich people who play poker for fun and recreation with an opportunity to outplay tough players. When people see “WCGRider” nickname online, they try to hide elsewhere in the lobby. As they know this is the nickname of heads-up shark Douglas Polk. However, Doug is a red flag for the bull. Polk becomes the star guy who has to lose someone a hand or two.

But why despite all the advantages, the number of professional players practically stays the same. Live poker has weak field, why don’t qualifying players play here exclusively? Why live poker is still weak?

The Answer: there is no need for regulars to switch for live poker. As they win playing online, they don’t want to leave their cozy nest. And here is why:

1. The speed of live poker is much slower than in online. If there is a 100 hands per hour online, there are 20-25 hands in live poker. The distance matters for a reg. The  role of the variance in live game is a killer for an online reg (especially in regards of the tournaments), so the reg wouldn’t like to  speed up to switch to live poker.

2. No stats. Reg feels like a fish in the water in the environment where every player is marked, where he can see fishes and pros, regulars who grind like mad ones. Add a hand history of several hundred thousand hands to that. As regulars plays using all his “navigation”. There are no color markers and stats in live poker. Attention and memory - that what helps a good player in live poker, not  Holdem Manager 2 or Poker Tracker 4. Plus you have to keep track of the bank and opponents’ stacks himself - you should agree it is too bad for an online player.

3. Entourage. Live poker is a stress. You fight with the feat. It doesn’t matter how many hands one should play online: the player sits at the table and it shivering starts. You tremble, hands are shaking and chip stacks get ruined. An online player sits and thinks: “Why did I come here? I should have stayed at home playing 16 tables at once”. 

In other words, live poker is not for everyone. One is able to play online without wearing pants - opponents will not see you. You have to dress up for live poker, some casinos even have dress code. You have to keep your face straight playing online. While playing online, one may go all-in and pray aloud for the opponent to call or fold. It is not like that in live poker. Poker face and emotions under control - these are the rules offline

4. Travel expenses. Travelling all over the world from series to series are really expensive. Avia tickets, accommodation, food - those are extra spendings for live players Online reg would ask himself twice: “Do I need this? To go somewhere to get some miraculous prize money after spending a fortune for my flight?” And after that, he would stay home.

Those are major points, while some online regulars sit at home, not travel from series to series. There is a huge advantage that negate those disadvantages - and that is… weak field. That is why players from Russia make American visas on a yearly basis, fly over the ocean and desant on 40-degree hot weather to take part in World Series of poker in Las Vegas. Sure, everyone wants to win a bracelet, but the reason to visit US is always in weak field. People overseas are ready to lose big money. 

WSOP Main Event with buy-in of $10,000 has plenty of people out of 7000-8000 of them who like to play cards. You can have a local pizza place owner, a rapper or a person in retirement from England. By the way, in 2017 64-year-old John Hesp from England became a real star. This man used to play 10-pound tournaments in his local casino. He did register in the Main event, took 4th place and won $2,600,000.

Certainly, live poker is much more fun in comparison with online poker. Live poker is all about communication, meeting new people, making connections. People from all the spheres of live play poker: business people, doctors, actors, journalists, state employers - poker is open for all the professions. And that is splendid.

So if you beat middle or even low stakes online, and have a bankroll and a will to meet a new country, think about visiting a live poker club or coming to live poker series. We guarantee this event will remain in your memory for long.



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