The first thing I want to look at is the amount of online players this year. Literally 100s of players either qualified online or paid for their buy-in with their online winnings. Many pros have commented that it's amazing just how many good poker players are coming from the online world.
One thing most successful online players have in common is how they got into poker. It always goes like this: they started playing poker as something to do in their spare time, but eventually it became more profitable to them than their job or school. A number of the bracelet winners this year have admitted to primarily being online players.
So what's the difference between online and live play?
The most obvious thing that comes to everybody's minds is the ability to "read" a player. You don't learn anything about figuring out what a player's facial expressions mean when you are playing online, and quite a few probably have game debilitating tells. It's worth mentioning, however, that the value of reading opponents has been brought into question over the last few years.
Many professional players are logic fiends, math whizzes and professors of poker theory. They don't rely so much on that innate skill that some people call "feel" or "instinct." One positive aspect of most online players is that they have less verbal tells because they are used to playing in silence and solitude.
Jordan Rich, one of this year's Main Event chip leaders, said the number one difference between live and online play is the duration of a tournament. He said that live play requires much more patience. It is estimated that players see on average 30 hands per hour when they are playing in live games while online players can sometimes see 80 hands per hour.
Don't discount the value of online play. James Worth, the "KrazyKanuck," has written numerous articles that talk about the advantages of playing on the web. He's managed, like many others, to transform that powerful online game into a terrific live game. Guys like Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer have both come from online backgrounds and have proven they can win.
When I asked James Gorham the difference between online and live play he had this to say:
"It's basically the same thing. The biggest thing you have to adapt to the amount of patience that is involved."
Patience, notwithstanding, many players at this year's WSOP said that by sticking to the same game plan they had when playing online they were able to achieve success.
So how can you make the successful transition from online to live play? Well for starters you can check out the PokerListings.com strategy section as they have a number of tips on that exact subject. The next step is playing in smaller buy-in tournaments. After that, it's up to you how far your game will take you.