Top Five (5) Productive Things to Do While Not in a Hand - Live Poker Tips with isnortbooze

Here are some things you can do to keep yourself entertained while increasing your expected value while playing live poker.

If you are like me, you mainly play poker online. It is very easy to keep your brain occupied while playing online poker. First, you can play many tables at once. You also hopefully have access to a great internet connection or television so you can keep from getting bored by listening to music or watching videos or TV. Sure, you should be focusing on the table and what the other players do while you are not in the hand, but the availability of HUDs has made that far less important. But summertime and especially the WSOP brings a lot of online regs to the physical casinos and live poker is a different beast altogether. First, you are stuck playing one table at a time. And many casinos don't even allow phones at the tables or at least will not allow them when you are in a hand. Here are some things you can do to keep yourself entertained while increasing your expected value while playing live poker.

1. Talk to people

Talking to your opponents gets them to like you. If you are a friendly, interesting guy, people want you to stick around. This will generally make a recreational player less tough against you, and may even earn some respect on your bluffs because people will think you are too nice to bluff. It is especially important to try and maintain a bond with the player on your immediate left, because he will have the most opportunities to play back at you throughout the day. You can also find out a little bit about the players by speaking to them, such as their experience level and if they are tilted or upset about something. Make sure not to give away too much information about yourself, though

2. Take notes on people

When you play online, you (hopefully) are making diligent notes on what the other players do in certain situations. Many people skip this habit live. If you are forgetful, most casinos will allow you to bring a notebook to the table and make physical notes on people as long as you aren't in a hand at the time. Keep track of the ranges they play, hands they have semi-bluffed with and their bet sizing both when they have a good hand and when they are bluffing. Also keep notes about the type of player they are, such as LAG, TAG or passive. These notes will also help you when you review your session at the end of the day.

3. Keep track of opponent's stack sizes and practice keeping track of the pot size

One of the biggest challenges going from online to live play is that you don't have a screen in front of you telling you everyone's chip sizes. Knowing these sizes is key for when you do play a hand, and sitting out gives you the perfect opportunity to keep count what people are currently holding. Another substantial change from online is that you don't have someone telling you the exact size of the pot so you have to keep track of it on your own when you are in a hand. Practice doing this while you are sitting out and you will find that it comes easier when you actually need to know the info.

4. Immediate hand reviews

While you are playing online, it goes so fast that you don't really have time to think through different hands until after your session. Live poker moves much slower and you can evaluate your hands immediately after they are played. Could you have gotten more value? Should you have folded on an earlier street? There are many things to consider about the way you play a hand and it is nice to have the hand fresh in your mind, especially when you will be facing the same opponents in the near future.

5. Watch the play and try and guess opponents hand ranges

This one kind of speaks for itself, but still many recreational live players will only try and put their opponents on a hand when they are in the hand. If you are keeping track of the action, trying to put your opponents on ranges can give you information about them for later hands you are in against them and can also improve your hand reading abilities in general.

Boredom can absolutely kill you in poker, and when you make the switch from online to live poker it is VERY easy to get bored. Sure, you can listen to music or watch movies on your phone if they are allowed at the table. Those will kill your boredom, but they likely will not improve your game at the same time. Gathering information about the table dynamics will help you know who to tangle with and knowing your opponent is just as important as the cards you play. If you get too bored while at the tables, it is very likely you will start playing hands you shouldn't or trying to force action and that is a huge cause of diminishing chip stacks. Follow these tips and hopefully your mind will stay occupied with positive thoughts of poker and that should help lead you to victory!

250 Thank You Freeroll Tickets
I am giving away three 250 Guaranteed Freeroll tickets to people who comment below. What do you do to keep your mind occupied at the tables? Entries must be received by Wednesday at 10AM EST to qualify.

Good luck!


 Filed under: Poker, Tipsy Talk, Tipsy Tips


twirlspin: Tough one - but ...
Mon, 07/03/2017 - 21:23

I focus on keeping my breathing regular and my face from showing expression. Then each hand whether I am in it or not I try to read the players and see (if there is a show down) how close I am to putting them on the cards I have determined they have. I also try to label each player as the game progresses. Since I am no good at this, it takes up a lot of my time. And makes an otherwise boring time go by a bit faster

BigThangz: i do many thangz
Mon, 07/03/2017 - 21:30

I do many thangz while I play poker, usually LIVE BEtting , trading coins, watching a movie and or playing a video game. Really when I'm playing poker its like 3rd thang on my list I care about. If I just play poker solo it really bores me and I tend to bust faster.....

valjean: IME
Mon, 07/03/2017 - 22:35

I naturally am a very quiet person and enjoy the mental masturbation of many of these points Booze makes and a little table talk does wonders to pass time and get a feel of the table. Just please for the love of god do not start talking to someone that does not want to be in a conversation. There is always that guy who insists on pulling some Kassouf BS.

I saw one older woman who would read romance novels while she played 2/5. She crushed it, book readers +ev. Kappa

seanrc: :)
Mon, 07/03/2017 - 22:59

Nice article Snort, While playing on the felts here at betcoin, I often find my self watching a movie on Kodi, Or increasing my BR with a GPT site, Usually make entry back plus in the time it takes to see if i will fall ITM. Stay Suited and keep those articles coming thanks isnortbooze!

TomatoPotato: other tables
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 00:42

I like to try and find my current table oponents on other tables and see how they are doing (i.e chip size, betting strategy, etc). I also like to see who's active on chat, are they to themselves? Do they over react if they win or lose.

Herpetic Sore: Agree hard to not get bored playing live
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 02:46

1) I try to only look at my cards once -- memorizing hole cards is not important online, so it is hard to do !
2) I scope the room for good looking women
3) I itch my open sores

Thanks for the articles !

enoo: 5 is what I should be doing
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 03:05

5 is what I should be doing but in reality I am 6 - Watching Sports.

In all seriousness though. Think about what hands both players can have and make a note of when your expectations are not met. When a strong player shows up with a hand you didn't think they should have, think about the merits of playing it the way they did and try to learn something from it. When a weak player shows an unexpected hand, make a note of it for exploitative purposes. Seriously, the number one complaint I hear from mediocre players is that they can't hand read against ad players because they're so unpredictable. Well they're not unpredictable you just need to pay attention. And that goes for online as well as live.

enoo: can't hand read against *BAD*
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 03:06

can't hand read against *BAD* players

ItsBelth: Play more poker on my phone.
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 04:53

Play more poker on my phone. Gotta get that volume in.

winawyna: I play most I'm
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 07:39

I play most I'm into the watching videos and listening to music stuff do I don't get impatient and make bad plays

jramy: Personally when i'm playing I
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 14:44

Personally when i'm playing I try to concentrate on the table, when i'm getting stressed I tend to play some chill music and look at the table marking players as it tends to help me. If i'm in a tournament where their is a long late registration period which I very much hate I just gamble on some blackjack in the meantime. Other times I try to half pay attention and half eat while i'm playing especially when i'm itm since I love to pay attention during this stage and get the most money I can.

SickMetaGame: Heh...
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 15:54

I must completely disagree with the notion of listening to music or watching TV while playing online.

Listening to song lyrics or following a movie plot will reduce your ability to stay in the game, read your opponents hands and actions and acquire every note on them that will give you extra information towards the way OPs play. Even with the availability of HUD, it only gives you overall tendencies but it cannot tell you which of your opponents is steaming right this session, which you would know if you keep close attention to the table.

Everything in this life is energy and it vibrates at different frequencies, most of the vibrations are so rapid that we cannot record it with the naked eye. Your thoughts are dynamic energy and they have their own frequencies. Would you listen to two radio broadcasts at the same time? No, you wouldn't, so why would you want to recreate the same atmosphere while playing poker? Music coming in as being one of the broadcasts and all of the information that you receive on the table is another, a matter of fact because of how complex poker really is, each different aspect of the game that you need to think about while in the hand equals as an extra broadcast in itself.

If you check YouTube videos to see how different tones, music, and even words affect water then the concept of why you should be focusing only on the cards becomes more clear. Remember at the end of the day poker is more or less of a high skill game, so doing anything that reduces your edge isn't going to benefit you.

Now cooling yourself off with some good and relaxing music is different, personally I don't even want to be super calm at the tables, when I feel too relaxed I will make more mistakes than when I am in competitive focus. Music has the effect of shifting us into party cheer modes.

Best way to keep your mind occupied while playing live is by thinking about pot odds, even when you aren't in the hand. Having conversations with other people at the tables while trying to fish out how they approach problems in their everyday lives. What I believe is that majority of people will apply the same type of approaches to their poker hands as they do with problems daily, probably just the nature of us.

When I have a feeling that someone is asking me anything with the same narrative then I would always respond with a question instead.

No matter what anyone says, having any external vibrations while you are doing something specific will reduce your ability to do it at your very best.


BigThangz: you would think
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 17:36

you think if u put that much effort and time into something u wouldn't suck so much at it

isnortbooze: I agree that it takes away
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 19:11

I agree that it takes away from most people'concentration if they become more focused on the music or program. With my brain, any white noise, such as a fan or air conditioning or refrigerator noise will distract me and I can't focus on anything else. If I have something running in the background, I don't pay attention to it but it drowns out the white nose which is encapsulating my thoughts. Everyone has such different brain chemistry that we just have to find what works for ourselves. Thanks for the comment though, it is very well thought out and makes a lot of sense.

Tribet: I read SMG's post and like
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 17:18

I read SMG's post and like most playing online we tend to do other things. He states that our concentration should be on the table and not the distraction. While reading what he said it all sounded pretty logical and correct. But, then I remembered there have been numerous studies showing that listening to music stimulates brain function. Don't remember the medical jargin. But it has been shown that music stimulates parts of the brain used in concentration, higher thought and creativity. Have spent most of my life in an operating room. Have listened to everything from classical to gangster rap. It's not so much what you listen to as long as there is a connection with it. I think hearing is our one sense that can(and does) run in the back round, with a positive outcome.
Watching tv, reading, video games, and such are evil they will pull you from your game every time. You hear the beep and by the time you look up theres 5 seconds on the clock.
IDK its just my toughts

SickMetaGame: I suppose...
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 17:22

It really depends on the player, it does stimulate our brain and a lot of it comes from how waves affect water and our bodies mainly being that. My full idea didn't come across as clearly as it presented itself in my head but from my own experience when I get too relaxed or stimulated on the music I don't always do the most optimal decision.


Underworld: I play just online poker.
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 19:48

I play couple tables almost always when I play poker, with just one table its hard to keep myself entertained cause there is always someone who is waiting last seconds to make a move. In tournaments time banks are getting activated all the time, so while I play tournaments on other screen I play some micro cash game.

abdou: Good parameters
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 20:01

Each Maglth is true but focus on the table for 3 difficult hours my friend

Blindme: Really depend for me how deep
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 20:36

Really depend for me how deep I am in a tourney and what the payout tends to be. If its a decent payout I tend to look up every player at the table on google and sharkscope etc. to get a gauge. Sometimes you find a player has been backed into the game or has ran off with peoples money. Other times you can see them asking how to play a set hand on 2p2 and you can get a idea of how deep their thinking maybe.
From there I branch off into under 4 tables left and keep them all open to watch and note and usually google as well. So by the time its 14 left I got a clear understanding of the players left if I manage to go deep.
You sometimes catch a player saying they need to get to sleep and wishing the table well before it merges and their over play makes more sense.
I find getting to into my hud can distract me at times from the dynamics of the table, so I limit it to certain post flop stats that I find to help.
Sometimes I search music or porn but keep that to a limit if I am past the bubble.

Find talking to work sometimes but not all the time. Lot of regs play multiple tables and opening other tournies if they are not searchable can help explain why they are not talking or taking to long to act.
I tend to do over investigating off the table to find dirty nuggets and you would be shocked how often you find something. I find the talk can often distract me as well and regs sometimes will attack more often knowing you are involved in a chat. Least this is what I find.

I hydrate, do pullups and thats about it.

BustAllDay: I do plenty of things
Tue, 07/04/2017 - 23:01

When I'm playing online in a tournament, I like to listen to music, take notes on other players, and watch youtube videos. Occasionally I will viciously masturbate, but that really takes away from my poker playing ability. Low stake buy-ins only for that. It sucks ass when I get interrupted with a hand to play

oriole: For me it's impossible to
Wed, 07/05/2017 - 10:12

For me it's impossible to play tournaments online without music. I tend to play more pots than I should if I don't listen to anything. If it's shorthanded or heads-up then I turn off the music and play more aggressively. If I'm playing live then I don't need the music, because there's much more information to analyze. It's easier to pick up tells and patterns if you can see your opponent in person.

ITEAnonymous: Mess Table
Wed, 07/05/2017 - 11:42

I always play online game until I tried playing Live games in my place. 1st time playing live I'm very serious but the players around the tables is so noisy and showing cards to other player (I think lots of friends in the table). So it's annoy me and losing focus and read in the opponent, so now I didnt try to play live games again.

minmin88: I means
Wed, 07/05/2017 - 11:56

In the topic shows all things Players should needs to plays. Beside that To keep your mind at the table, you need to know how to arrange things around, not to let the outside affect your mood.
When you start to calm down, do not rush, as time goes by faster. You should not be too hasty, never put chips into a hand that you think hand is the biggest hand, because poker also contains a lot of surprises, AA has lost KK or 22 for example. Must remember a sentence "win not arrogant defeat not frustrated"
Occasionally, you should rinse your coffee with coffee.

Good luck for all

isnortbooze: Congrats SickMetaGame, TomatoPotato and valjean!
Wed, 07/05/2017 - 13:59

You guys win the tickets from this one!
Good luck,

Oldstuff: What do you do to keep your mind occupied at the tables?
Fri, 07/07/2017 - 06:17

I think about Antonio peeing into a cup.

cjmoles: Well, I trade in
Sat, 07/08/2017 - 20:52

Well, I trade in cryptocurrency, post on steemit, and publish content on the lbry blockchain....all very productive.

bwstacker1: Things I do are
Sun, 07/09/2017 - 18:46

I myself trade cryptos read post on Bitcointalk. I have to keep eye on my miner all the time. I have 400 terahashs.I only play in great hands. I survive longer this way.

pokertron: To drink coffe while not
Thu, 07/13/2017 - 21:30

To drink coffe while not playing is good for me.-

Olson: Dab Breaks
Mon, 07/31/2017 - 02:43

Also prevents tilting:P LMAO

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