My poker thirst has recently been sated outside the world of online poker.  I’m lucky enough to live with a poker player of some merit; and, after repeatedly badgering him to take me under his wing a bit more we’ve been playing a lot of live poker.

Along with the arrival of another poker playing friend we’re been sitting up until the early hours playing hand after hand of Texas Hold ‘em No Limit.  The frustration at the way they know every hand I play, and guess what I do before I know myself what I’m going to do is absolute.  I try mixing up how I play, so perhaps playing a bit looser, and they wipe me out.  Brilliant for learning but so intimidating. 

massive plus to getting some live play experience is the tells that have been pointed out.  Apparently all players, when playing live for the first time, will instinctively look at their cards when they flop nothing.  Holding pairs or hitting on the flop is indicated by simply watching the flop, eyes not diverting.  Easy solution seems to be to never take my eyes off the flop, so far it’s better.  But they still read me like a book. 

So, every evening we’re on the terrace, ashtray overflowing as the table talk mostly goes over my head.  Seemingly, calling your opponent a fish is standard, knocking their country of origin is par for the course.  Happily no one has mentioned mothers yet.  This seems to be a line not crossed.

Another benefit to the live play is the generous offer to let me deal every hand, getting used to the cards and practising the shuffling.  I’m happy to oblige so long as once I bust out I get to look in on a hand during play.  Very revealing and also turns me into another tool used to needle the opponent.

week into our little friendly home game a grudge match is drawn up, my housemate and his friend are going to play 9 Heads Up tournaments of 9 varieties of poker.  I am to deal, thus getting to watch a range of the different poker games played live.  It also means I have become embroiled in a far too serious European battle.  The stakes?  The looser will be getting a tattoo of the winners choice. 

Interesting to watch and I’m learning a lot, I enjoy the format of Heads Up play and have supplemented the live poker with online videos of the NBC Heads Up championship.

So the journey continues, I’m confident I’m not a complete ‘fish’ but I do need a lot of experience, although I did manage to pull off a couple of good bluffs and even won a couple of matches, time to return to the online world and try out what I’ve learned live.