You may be an old hand at online poker tournaments, but it could be that you’ve never played a live one. Poker is only legal in certain states in America and if you haven’t spent time in one of those states or a country outside the U.S., the Internet may have provided your only opportunity for tournament poker.

Perhaps you were fortunate enough to win an online satellite to a main event, or maybe you’re going on a vacation to a poker friendly state and plan to try your hand at a tournament. If you’re moving from online to live tournaments, here are a few things you can expect.

Endurance Test

Some tournaments can last a whole day, or even multiple days if you make the final table. This is true of online tournaments as well, but playing all day in your underwear with your refrigerator and bathroom ten feet away is a lot different from playing in a casino full of people far from home. Prepare yourself.

Social Interaction

You may like to chat online during poker tournaments, but if you aren’t, you can always turn chat off. It’s much harder to tune people out when they are sitting right next to you at the table. If someone is talking or needling too much, you are within your rights to ask a floorman to give the player a warning to settle down. You are also welcome in most tournaments to bring sunglasses and/or headphones to shut out other players, but if you do this, make sure you can still understand the action at the table.


This is the distinction that tends to concern most players moving from online to live play. Players give off glaring physical tells much less often than is portrayed on television and in movies, so you probably don’t have too much to worry about. Still, if you’re used to screaming, laughing and dancing in front of your computer screen during your online games, you may want to practice your poker face.

Chip Handling

When you play in a live poker tournament, you’re going to have to handle real chips. You’re going to have to be able to pick them up, put them in the pot when calling or raising, and stack them. If you’ve never handled chips before, and you’re concerned about looking like an amateur, go ahead and buy yourself a good set of poker chips. Take some time to handle them and get the feel of them before you play your live tournament, so you’ll be prepared.

Information Tracking

In an online poker tournament, it’s easy to get the information you need. The number of players, average chip stack, pot size and so on are all printed right there on the screen. In a live tournament, monitors will give you some information, such as the total number of chips in


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