Live Poker vs. Online Poker
Online and live poker might be the same game at heart but there are several key differences that make them completely different experiences for the player. Each form of poker has its own strengths but so far, online poker appears to be winning the popularity contest.
Live poker is still doing just fine, though. Major events like the World Series of Poker still draw thousands of players to locations all around the world every year. Live cash games can be found in every state and every city, even if the legality of some of those games is questionable.
Key differences between Live Poker and Online Poker:
1. Online poker is more convenient
When you play online from the computer, you don’t have to get dressed and fight traffic all the way to the casino. And that’s the best case scenario. If you don’t live near a casino, you’re just out of luck when it comes to poker. With online poker, all you need is a computer and a connection to the internet. If you’re reading this article, I’m guessing you have both.
2. Live poker has a greater social aspect
No matter how advanced online poker gets, it’s never going to be able to give you that same experience you get when playing with other real people in real life. The table conversation is different, you get to meet people and potentially make new friends when playing at live poker games.
Online poker has the chat box but that doesn’t quite compare to having real people playing at your table. Half the time the chat box just ends up being used by frustrated players as a place to vent.
3. Online poker can be played at ALL stakes
In live poker, you’re going to be limited to whatever stakes and games the casino or host wants to spread. Online poker sites are all automated so you’ll find games at all levels, ranging from penny games all the way up to games with $100,000 buyins.
Live poker rooms can’t afford to spread as many tables as online rooms because space is limited in a brick and mortar setting. In addition to that, the poker room has to hire dealers and floor staff to keep the games running. It’s just not possible for live poker rooms to spread as many different games as online poker rooms.
4. Live poker can be felt and touched
When you play in a live poker game, you can feel the chips with your own hands and see the cards with your own eyes. Even though online poker is as safe as live poker, the ability to see and touch everything with your own senses makes it feel a little more legit.
5. Online poker rooms offer deposit bonuses
One of the greatest advantages to playing online is the wide range of deposit bonuses you can get for signing up at poker sites. The online poker industry is extremely competitive and poker sites are willing to give cash bonuses to players just for picking them. At PokerStars, for example, you can get up to $50 free to get started.
6. Multi-tabling is possible online
If you’re a strategic player and actually wait for strong hands, it can get a little old playing one table at a time. When you play online, you can play as many tables at a time as you wish. Some of the internet’s biggest professional players make a living by playing 8 or more tables at a time. It takes a lot of practice to get to that level but once you’re able to manage multiple tables at a time, you’ll see major increases in your hourly win rate.
7. Online poker tools help you track statistics
Poker tools such as Holdem Manager and Poker Tracker can be used online to help you keep track of statistics such as how many hands you play, what your win rate is, which hands are your most profitable and much more. You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn about your game by analyzing some of the more important statistics.
If you play tournaments, there are certain tools that can be used to track both your own play and the play of your opponents. For example, Tournament Indicator is a popular tool that helps calculate your “M-zone” and suggests the best times to go all-in based on your hand, chip count, position and more. You can find out more at this Tournament Indicator review.
8. Online poker rooms charge less rake
Online poker rooms don’t have to pay upkeep on expensive buildings, they don’t have to hire tons of dealers, floor managers, cooks, waitresses and so on. Additionally, online poker sits can handle thousands of players at a time and open up an unlimited number of tables without having to find actual dealers to run the games.
That all adds up to make it much cheaper for online poker sites to stay in business. As a result, they can afford to charge much less rake than live poker rooms.