When I sit down at the table, the first thing I do is observe each player. It's amazing how much you can tell almost immediately. This is a big advantage for me compared to online play. Does he act confident? Does he look drunk? How does he handle his chips? Does he have a clue?
The following happened at the Goldstrike last Saturday early in the Omaha-8 game. On the river, the 10 seat bet, one player folded and only the eight-seat called. The 10-seat turned over the nut low and trip 5s for high. The eight-seat studied and finally mucked his hand.
The dealer waiting to come in was standing behind the eight-seat player. "He folded a straight," he mouthed to the (present) dealer. I'm sure no one else saw this, but I did and it was good information. I now can add to my profile of the eight seat -- he's not the sharpest player in the game, to say the least.
What do you look for when you sit down to play in a live game?