Peep this Jack
First post, what up all. Here's my advice
I've never played live in an actual casino yet but here's what I would do if I were you. First when you go to a table don't just sit down at the first open seat, scope the different tables at the limits you like so that you can pick the best table. You definitely don't want to purposely sit at the toughest table if you have options to sit at an easier game even if the limit is a notch lower than what you are used to. I won't get too much into that unless you reply asking for advice on how to look for the best table.
You wanna think what the pros would think? For the most part they are thinking about gaining information whether they are in the hand or not and here are some ways to do that.
GAINING PREFLOP INFORMATION
Heres some of the first things I do when I get to the online tables that will apply to live games. First I look to see who the most aggressive players are and than I take in consideration who the tight players are. This will come in handy later. SECONDLY, this something highly underrated by alot of people, I look for the players that are most adamant in defending their bb. Sometimes even the aggressive players won't defend their blinds, so see how people react when other players raise into their big blind. If the BB folds to a minimum raise than this would indicate and extremely tight/weak player and this means you can raise this persons blind in an uncalled pot alot more with virtually almost nothing, but don't do it to often because others at the table might start to catch on, and if the bb calls you can bet on the flop but if he calls that bet than you might want to slow down and give that type of person credit for a hand if you didnt hit. You also have to pay attention to who the bb will fold his blinds too, because this a can also give you a piece of information as to who is tight/agressive with certain hands. You also should single out weak post flop players blinds, because even if they call to defend their blinds you can fire a probing size bet and if they are weak post flop player they will fold 8-9/10 if they dont hit top pair. I would strongly advise you not to steal a players blind that will get frisky after the flop, they might reraise you with nothing and if you can't read well you'll end up folding, and even if you can read well if you don't hit you might end up folding anyway. I only raise these type of players blinds when I have good hands for real. Start by doing these few things preflop and you'll pick up a lot of small pots and those small pots will help you to gain confidence and play more comfortably. When you fold to a reraise preflop this will make you look like a smarter player and your aggressive preflop action will help you to get your real hands paid off when you get them. Don't be afraid to reraise another player that you think is trying to steal the blinds with a marginal hand your reading has to be good to do this tho, and I usually don't reraise without position because you can't afford to check the flop out of position. Try some of these tips, whatever ones you are comfortable with and I guarantee your game will get better.
GAINING POSTFLOP INFORMATION AND THE PSYCHOLOGICAL GAMES
IMO, one of the most important pieces of information you can gain post flop is what a player shows down with. It is extremely important to pay attention to all showdowns, and once you see a particular showdown you have to reconstruct the hand from street to street in your head and detect their betting patterns and mentally associate the hand they had at the show down with those particular betting patterns. Also I would look to pick up any visual tells
if possible that you can also associate with a specific hand showed down. Once you've seen a good amount of hands shown down you'll get a good idea of how they play. Based on show downs, you want to see how a person plays with the nuts, with draws, top pair with top kicker, top pair with marginal kickers, and also middle and bottom pair, all of these must be taken into perspective of how he plays them when the player has position and when he doesn't, because most likely he'll play all of those hands differently with different position. Also, from the show down you can also learn what a person raises with preflop in what position, this is important because an under the gun raise usually only comes from a player with a premium hand but sometimes people will raise with anything under the gun and throw you off. For example some people will only call with aq ak under the gun/early position, but they will raise it up in late position if they sense weakness. You have to be weary of these things and who will play like this because it'll save you some money when you have top pair with a weak kicker because if your going to lose money on that hand you want to lose a small pot not a big hand. Once you learn from show downs and put people on hands than you can represent more hands in situations. Sometimes you have to pay for information, if its cheap to see a show down sometimes I'll purposely call a small bet just to see what my opponent was betting into me with, especially when you go to the river and you are getting pot odds to call you might as well at least call if you have no clue what they have to gain some info for future hands. Once you learn your reads you have to go with your gut and start raising more to gain information. You should think when you can make a raise to take the whole pot down and when you can make a raise to take control of the hand, with well timed raises you can take control of drawing players hands with bottom pair and make them lay down with a continuation bet. Once you start raising alot though you have to consider if players are started to get agitated by what you are doing and which players can keep their composure under pressure. If I know I am starting to get in someone's head to a point where I known they might just go all in over top of my raise I'll stop raising that person with marginal hands to make it seem like i'm not just trying to push that player around because once you get under someones skin like that, raising with marginal hands will get you introuble if you can't call a reraise all in bluff. If I am on the button and I know the bb is capable of reraising based on the idea that they are getting agitated due to continuous raising, tilting because of a string of badbeats or is competent enough that I am simply raising trying to take their blinds than I won't raise on the button without a hand, that way when the reraise does come I can call it. If you know its a possibility of getting reraised even if you think your marginal hand is good than I'll just call alot more, because you'll be forced to play a big pot when your not confident in your hand just because of someone else's current mindset, and thats not to exclude the fact that they may actually have a hand. The point of raising without the nuts is to take down the pot then and there or to gain information to determine whether your hand is good or not, You can also raise with position on the turn just to scare your opponent to check on the river so that you can check behind him in hopes that your hand is good on a showdown. If you think your gonna get reraised by raising than you don't raise without a strong hand. My advice to raising is make all of your raises similar, I'll raise up bottom pair the same amount I would with the absolute nuts alot of times, it makes your raises look alot more un predictable. Though its much more to talk about the last thing I want to say right now is sometimes you shouldplay some psychological games with a specific player that interferes with the way you play. Players that interfere with your playing style will definitley impede your process of winning pots so you should play some pots with the intent to solely let that person know that you don't like how they are currently playing whether you will lose or win the pot. This may sound stupid, but sometimes I feel that it is necessary, though you might lose a little money in a session by doing this you'll definitely get a player that impedes the process of you gaining income off of your back. This particularly applies to a player that will call with almost anything just because he has position on everyone else and there are few callers to the pot, just because he/she knows they can pick up a small pot with a bet to a checked pot OR the type of player that will bet on any checked pot more than usual trying to stab at it to take it down (i'll call this the check bettor). First, I raise alot more when this player limps when he is in position and I act after him so that I can take control of the pot then and there preflop. When I have a hand and they are in position I nearly always check raise their flop bets, this will help to slow down the player's flop bets because they'll fear getting checkraised constantly. On a checked flop with me and just the position player/check bettor in the flop I'll check raise the turn more often especially with over cards and especially with position because he'll be virtually forced to check without a hand of position when I am still left to act, you can often bet here or even check here with nothing but over cards and still win the pot (because remember he's just trying to steal the pot because no one is betting). Lastly I'll raise up hands that I think I can take down with nothing when it is me, the check bettor/position player and a passive player. Sometimes the passive player will have the best hand and will win the pot and my read will be wrong, but the check bettor/position player will be taught a lesson if he goes along for the ride because not only will you lose money but if he calls it'll send him a message that if you play a lot of pots with me be willing to lose some of your stack when I have nothing. It really sinks in when you raise the turn with you the aggressive player and the passive player in the hand and all call and than the passive player leads out on the river and you fold right behind the aggressive player. He'll think to himself "this player is an idiot and if I keep getting in pots with him I'll lose more money with marginal hands". By this point you'll at least have slowed down the position player/check bettor when he is in pots with you because you will have somewhat of a crazy image at the table.
Hope some of that helped, if anything is specifically confusing quote it and reply back, and remember like someone else said, You have to play your style, not all things will apply, but some of these tools can help. If your looking for something more specific I suggest you create a hand for hand analysis so it can be broken down in the way that you want.