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After Black Friday, online poker players have been forced to make the tough choice whether to play unregulated or move to the live arena. The smart players will opt to take their chances in the live arena rather than suffer through another Full Tilt or Lock Poker fiasco.

Online players that try to move into the live game tend to stick out like a sore thumb. For many, it cannot be helped since they are not used to the live poker environment. If you are a live player, you probably have spotted the tell tale signs of an online player. For the rest of you, here are some tells that your opponent may be an online player.

Writer’s Note: While this may not seem as relevant since Black Friday was over 5 years ago, there are still many players in the U.S. gambling unregulated. Also, this article is highly applicable to ROW players.

They Constantly Complain About the Pace of the Game

Anyone that has played both live and online poker knows that the live game is much slower due to the human element. In addition, with a few rare exceptions, players cannot play more than one table at a time in live poker.

For players that are used to constantly multi-tabling online, this can make the live game extremely boring and some will let you know their frustrations. Of course, that frustration goes hand in hand with the next point.

Appear to Have Less Emotional Maturity Than Average Players

One common complaint that you hear about some online poker players is that they lack the social skills that one needs in live poker. A number of these players will exhibit a lack of emotional maturity at the poker table.

In the last section, we mentioned that some players will regularly complain about the pace of the game. They are also likely to exhibit other signs such as whining about certain beats more than normal. You’ll often see some of these players complaining about the play of other players more often than usual.

To break it down simply, if the poker player has the emotional maturity of a teenager (regardless of physical age), they may be an online player.

Frequently Has to be Told to Post the Blinds

Online players do not have to post blinds and antes and for some that takes some getting used to. The computer does all that automatically for a player in an online game.

Most players, even new ones tend to notice this pretty quickly but some online poker players transitioning to live may need extra reminders, especially if they are easily distracted or not paying proper attention to the game.

No Coordination With Chips

A player that’s transitioning from online to live poker usually will not adept with handling their chips. They fumble them, stack them oddly, and just don’t seem to know how to handle them.

Yes, new players in general will have the same problem but they will also exhibit a lot of the normal tells of a poker player. A player that seems to have solid handle on how to play the game but doesn’t have a clue about how to manipulate their chips probably is an online player.


Does Not Know Basic Live Poker Rules / Etiquette

An online player has no need for general table rules, etiquette, etc since they are behind a computer screen and can do just about whatever. They will usually have to be instructed in how to do certain things, or that certain actions are not allowed at the table.

One must remember that online poker largely is a very anti-social game. Unless you’re doing something that is against the site’s Terms of Service, most anything goes. In addition, so many people turn off chat that all they are doing is clicking buttons.

When these players come into the live game, they aren’t going to be familiar with many of the rules we take for granted. And poker etiquette? What etiquette?

You will usually be able to figure out if the person is an online player pretty quickly. If they are making an attempt to correct their behavior when they make a mistake in rules or etiquette, then give them the time to adjust. Otherwise, they are probably just trying to be a douche.

Too Worried About Being Slow Rolled

I know this sounds odd, but many online players get really upset when they think someone has slow rolled them. I once had a 70 year old man take longer than normal to show pocket kings to me and this young kid wanted to complain that he slow rolled me.

Some people are slow. They are not trying to be malicious, especially if they are older. People are not trying to show you up every time they take too long to show a hand. Again, this is another part of that emotional maturity I spoke about earlier. It is also just a matter of the player not having the experience playing against flesh and blood players that aren’t their friends.

Talking About Players Nobody’s Ever Heard Of

Most everyone knows or at least has heard of many of the top live poker players in the game. However, those that play live poker exclusively will know very few of the top online poker players.

When you have someone at your table talking about certain “superstars” that you simply have never heard nor seen on TV, they are probably talking about online poker players. Sometimes you will be able to figure this out because they mention screen names, but other times you’re going to have to outright ask them where that person plays or how they rose to fame in order to get the proper details.

These are just a few things that will give off clues that a player may be an online player transitioning to live poker. Just because they are an online player does not mean they don’t know how to play.

On the contrary, they may have more hands played lifetime than you. Judge their ability to play the game based on what you see at the table, but keep in mind that they aren’t a total newbie, but rather they’re new to live poker.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.