The differences between online poker and live poker

Playing poker in casinos or online adheres to the same poker rules. Both involve betting, bluffing, and occasional bad beats. Despite these similarities, significant differences exist. Comparatively, online poker resembles a video game, while live poker leans towards a sport. Previously, a stark divide existed between online and live players, with each group dismissing the other. Live players often belittled online poker as not “real,” while online players struggled adapting to live play etiquette.

Now, most professionals comfortably navigate both formats. So, what sets live and online poker apart? Let’s delve deeper…

Bet sizes

While one might assume similar bet sizes for both ‘live’ and online poker, a notable contrast exists. Online cash games often have preflop raises set at 2x, 2.5x, or 3x the Big Blind with a single click, becoming a standard choice for many. Conversely, live games frequently see bets of 5xBB, 6xBB or more. However, this difference diminishes in tournaments, where conventional approaches are consistent across both formats.

Multi-way vs heads-up pots

Live poker players often play looser and make more calls than online players. This results in more multi-way pots in live games, while online play typically leads to more heads-up situations post-preflop. Online players might find the frequency of multi-player pots in live games surprising.

Variance…More hands – not more luck

Both online and live poker have bad beats. Yet, the faster pace of online play results in more hands and consequently more bad beats, causing a higher variance in outcomes compared to live games. While the actual frequency is consistent with the number of hands played, online can feel rougher due to this variance.

The pace of the game

A key difference between live and online poker is the game’s pace. Online poker, with automated shuffling, dealing, and faster decision times, progresses much quicker. Expect twice as many hands per hour online, especially at short-handed tables. Plus, online players can multitask with multiple tables, explaining their impatience during slower live games.

Tells about players

Online poker means you can’t see opponents, missing out on physical and verbal tells. Though some poker rooms offer Chat, it’s less informative than live interactions. Experienced live players often find it easier to profile opponents, especially novices who inadvertently reveal more about their gameplay.

The value of money

Online poker’s convenience can backfire. Players on tilt might impulsively jump to new tables or games, worsening losses. In casinos, such rapid shifts aren’t feasible. Also, playing multiple tables online can diminish money’s perceived value, promoting a video game-like mindset.

Rakeback and other promotions

While poker remains consistent across platforms, serious differences emerge. Online setups offer player-friendly deals like Rakeback, bonuses, and promotions, unavailable in casinos.

The convenience factor

Convenience is a major reason many players stick to online poker. Playing online allows flexibility, from bed to park, even in unconventional situations like the shower. Contrastingly, casinos have dress codes, crowds, noise, and commute hassles. While some love casino ambiance, others prefer the comfort of home.

last updated 06.10.2023