Live poker strategy guide

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Since online poker hit the betting scene nearly 20 years ago, its popularity has been growing exponentially. Now it is the turn of the more technologically advanced and realistic live poker to take its place. Ultimate Texas Hold’em and Casino Hold’em are the main variations of live poker, featuring much of the atmosphere you would find in a real-life casino.

If you feel adventurous there are other variants Mr Green can offer too like Live Caribbean Stud and Live Three Card Poker. However, in this guide we will be focusing on strategic tips for the two most population versions, Casino Hold’em and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. Although on the face of it they are both quite alike, the difference is that the betting procedure in Ultimate Texas Hold continues until the end. Play these two great versions of live poker at Mr Green Live Casino.

Poker Mechaniken

The basics of live poker

Once you get the hang of live poker you will find it a thrilling experience that enhances the online casino game to its next level of realism. As in standard Live Texas Hold’em, the aim is to get the top scoring hand of five cards between what you are dealt and those in the centre of the table shared by you and the dealer.

Start off with ‘ante’ bet, which is like a blind in Texas Hold’em, made before any cards are distributed by the dealer. There is the possibility of placing a side bet at this point too, which we will explain later in this guide.

After the ante, it is time to get your first cards, two to be precise. They are followed by ‘the flop’, which is comprised of three cards that will help you put together your five card hand and are shared with everyone else on the table. At that point, you will need to make your first real decision. Do the three cards in the middle of the table help you get a high-scoring combination along with the two more ‘community cards’ to come, or do you want to quit? If you choose you feel you are going knowing nowhere you can ‘fold’ but be aware this will make you forfeit your ante bet. To continue betting, you must ‘call’ and this will bring two more community cards into play.

Bear in mind that calling will cost you twice as much as you paid out for the ante, after which the ‘turn’ and ‘river’ are dealt out. After this has happened you will now know your top combination and everyone playing shows what they have. The one with the highest combination will take the pot.

Combination Description
Royal Flush Straight flush of ten, jack, king, queen, Ace
Straight Flush Straight, with all the cards from the same suit
Four of a Kind Four cards of the same rank
Full House Three equally-ranked cards and a pair

Five cards from the same suit in any order
Straight Five consecutive cards from different suits
Three of a Kind Three equally ranked cards
Two pairs Two sets of two cards of the same rank
One pair Two equally ranked cards
High card A high-value card not part of a combination

Side bets explained

There are a number of different side bets which are popular in live poker but the Pair Plus bet is the most frequent. It is paid out on your hand being at least a pair in value, but depending on which type it is you might need two aces to win it. Before you take a side bet though, check out our advice on the subject later on in this guide.

The Trips Bonus side bet, only available on Ultimate Texas Hold’em, can be won whether your hand comes out tops or not. So if any of the combinations below come out you will get the side bet, making it a big hit with punters on Ultimate Texas Hold’em. Keeping in mind the house takes 1.9% of the win, the trips bonus bet payouts are listed below:

Hand Payout
Royal Flush 50-1
Straight Flush 40-1
Four of a Kind 30-1
Three of a Kind 8-1
Full House 8-1

Straight 5-1

Ultimate Texas Hold’em also offers another side bet called the progressive jackpot.

It can be riveting when you know that the prize money will increase proportionally each time you win. There is the small progressive and the big progressive jackpot.

Small progressive

For a small progressive you must use one of the cards dealt out to you in a combination like a straight flush or four of a kind. The biggest win you can get is with a Royal Flush, which will mean you receive the full jackpot for this side bet.

Big progressive

The difference with the small progressive is that for a big progressive side bet you cannot use any of the cards dealt to you, known as ‘hole cards’. The flop provides all the cards from which a qualifying hand is taken, so the chances of getting winning are considerably less. Consequently, the payout is normally greater, hence the side bet’s name.

Reducing live poker odds

An important part of poker strategy is knowing the odds of winning, which in the live version of the game are just a bit more than 2%. While of course, there’s still quite a big chance of missing out on a jackpot, at least you can be familiar what you are have to work with when you are on the table.

One of the side bets that is not recommended is the Plus Bet, although in the end, it boils down to personal choice. The reason for this is that the Pair Plus Bet has almost three times the house edge than the for the main bet in live poker. It can vary from 6.26% to 6.40% depending on the table you sit at.

When you play live casino poker, basic strategy indicates that you play aggressively, as you would on a heads-up Texas Hold’em. This variant has a number of different hands in play at the same time. In effect, it is recommended you raise in as much as 80% of your hands when playing live casino poker.

Make sure you raise when you are dealt these hole cards:

  • If you get an Ace as part of the hand
  • Unsuited King with a five or bigger rank
  • Unsuited Queen with an eight or bigger rank
  • Suited King plus any other card
  • Suited Queen plus a six or bigger rank
  • Suited Jack plus an eight or bigger rank
  • Any pair from three upwards

Live Poker

Basic live poker tips

While most of the live poker strategy you put into action will be alike to that implemented in Texas Hold’em, you must remember one thing. Bluffing or guessing what other players have is no longer applicable as it’s only you versus the dealer. Instead, we have come up with other tactics which will help sharpen your game.

Understanding the game
A good first step to take before you learn live casino poker strategy is to brush up on your knowledge of the original poker. This will hold you in good stead to get to grips with what sort of strategies are involved in live poker, that is relatively stress-free. You don’t need to be Marcel Luske, but coming to terms with the basics is a must even if you don’t need to bluff or think about the hands of other players.

Fold when there is no hope
Knowing when to fold is as important as any other skill. While of course you should try to give in as little as possible, there are some situations that require it. Being dealt two poor cards at the beginning of a value of two to seven of different suits is one clear example. Folding now and hoping for better luck in the future is normally good advice.

Play to stay in the game
Wenn der Flop ausgegeben wurde und Sie haben eine Hand, die wenigstens halbwegs gut ist, Once you know you have hole cards you can play with, you then need to get on with the game. Once the flop is dealt out, you really should forget about giving up. As you are only facing up to a dealer you have better odds of taking the pot than in a typical game with other players. If you find yourself with good cards and community cards to match, your chances of success will have grown.

Let the flop guide you on your chances
How do you know when you should proceed? Well, if your two original cards pair up, make a straight or a flush with the flop, you are recommended to keep on playing for the next two rounds.

Expect the dealer to act in a set way
As you and the dealer the only players in Ultimate Texas Hold’em you can just concentrate on your game. He or she will play in a set way each time, using the top combination available to him or her. This means there is no bluffing involved, which narrows the focus of your strategy.

Know your limits
Setting a limit to how much you want to spend is even more important in live casino poker. It might seem to be a simple task to face off against the dealer, but being mindful of how much cash you have in the kitty is vital. Be strategic on how much you are prepared to spend within your bankroll, keeping track of your winnings separately.

Try to get a flush if possible
It is important to aim high, so if you have a flush draw (one card less than a full five-card flush) raising is advised. Even if you end up not getting the flush, it is probable that the dealer won’t do so either.

Don’t shy away from a straight

Again, even if you have poor cards but a straight is possible, take on the dealer in the next round. Even if you don’t get what you want from the straight draw, the dealer could be end up in the same predicament.

Face cards are very playable

You are not recommended to fold if you have any of the face cards in your hand. There are very few moments when to quit with a Jack, less with a Queen and none with a King.

Make the most of slower games

Make sure you know how to pace yourself in live poker, as these games tend to take more time than others you may have experienced. Playing slow will help you enjoy yourself more, while limiting the house edge at the same time.

Practice before betting for real

Getting to know the live poker environment and how to make it work for you is the key to success. Make the most of the free games Mr Green offers to hone your skills and learn how to react in different situations. This will bear fruit once you decide to play for real money.

Make use of our offers

When you start off with Mr Green you will be given the opportunity to make the most of welcome offers. Be sure to take these as they will give you the same sort of advantage as comps in physical casinos and will decrease the house edge. For those already signed up with Mr Green a number of promotions will help you keep the bankroll topped up along the way.

Poker Live

Learn the ‘optimal strategy’

As soon as you venture into the live poker experience you will find that while the strategy you need to use is very much the same as Texas Hold’em. The only difference is that you don’t need to bluff or read an opponent’s moves.

However, there are still considerable concepts in live casino poker that will help you decrease how much the house takes. These are best embodied in optimal strategy, which is a useful when you starting up in the game.

While it is of course up to personal choice and intuition, optimal strategy will help you create a good base for getting going. The following guidelines will help you get the best out of your hand within the optimal strategy for the cards available.

Table: When not to fold

Do not fold Hardly ever fold Rarely Fold
Any pair Queen* Jack (on monotone board even with two overcards)
King high or Ace high Straight draw (one card short of a straight)
Flush draw or open-ended straight draw

*The only time to consider folding a Queen is when the flop is monotone (of one suit)

Aim to only fold one fifth of the hands you are played. These would be situations when you get different hole cards that do not have much going for them in combination with the flop. Consequently, you should be raising the other 80% of the hands you are dealt, as this optimal strategy is deemed to lower the house edge in live poker.

How you put the optimal strategy in relation to the amount of cards you can play in live poker and the possibilities of doing so, is identical to Texas Hold’em.

Common live poker mistakes

In order to be in top form against dealers who have a tried and tested technique it is important to avoid silly mistakes. The list below details which are the most common errors of judgement and helps you avoid them in each scenario. In this way, you will be playing at an optimal level that will help you cope with the house edge.

Diving straight into playing for money

While it might be tempting to use progressive betting strategies which are recommended on the internet, this might not be such a good idea starting out. Just because you change the way you bet it won’t change the house edge. Progressive betting will often bring more problems than solutions, so stay clear of them when you begin your live poker journey.

Being too conservative

Try not to fold too much either as this could be another cause for failure. If after playing, you look back and realise that you folded during a third of your games, this could be a problem. Instead, raise with 80% of your hands and you will be getting closer to optimal play.

Seeing the live croupier as your enemy

Unlike Texas Hold’em, you must start seeing your dealer as someone who will help you on the way. Rather than being someone who is trying to beat you, the dealer will be on hand to give you tips if you just ask. Mr Green croupiers play to strict guideline in a live casino environment and will give a friendly reply to your questions when you ask for advice.

Using side bets often

As we have mentioned before, steer clear of the Pair Plus side bet. Although it does provide you a 100:1 payout and lowers the house edge by four percent, it only works a single time every 40,000 hands. The choice is yours in the end and many beginners feel it gives them more chance of a big win, but this is a common mistake. If at some point, you are tempted to bet big on a royal flush, the slots are a preferable option, as they can give you much more when you do win.

Applying live poker strategy

Now you know what to do, it’s time to put your optimal strategy into action:

These five steps will help you get playing right-away:

Step 1: Set up your account. You need to fill in your details at Mr Green Casino to get the ball rolling for live casino poker. As soon as this is done, you can start to play at any time from any of your devices.

Step 2: Get credit. The moment you want to start playing for real money, there are a number of different options for depositing funds into your account.

Step 3: Bet for the very first time. There are two moments when you need to part with your cash, at the beginning with the ante bet, and when you call after the dealer reveals the flop.

Step 4: Put your optimal strategy into action. You have learnt how some strategic moves help raise your game, so remember to take this on board to increase your chances of success. Remember that you still have the option of practising with the demo version if you still don’t feel ready to bet real money.

Step 5: Receive your profits. After playing for a certain period when you see your winnings piling up you can cash out by making a withdrawal request from your account. Mr Green offers various different ways to claim your winnings, so choose which is most convenient.

Playing live casino poker can be very enjoyable and our handy strategy guide can help you out along the way. While luck is the final factor you can never predict, these helpful tips could make a big difference when you’re starting off. As we have advised, there is always the possibility of using the practice game to get to grips with these handy hints for every aspect of live poker before you get into the real thing.