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Differences Between Online & Live Poker

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Which is Better?  Online Poker vs Live Poker

For over a century poker has traditionally been played face to face in pubs, casinos and homes across the world. However with the emergence of online poker and increasing number of poker sites we’re becoming spoilt for choice when it comes to the game.  In this article I’m going to discuss the key advantages and differences between online poker and live poker, and provide a short summary for those with little patience!

Online Poker has a Bigger Variety of Games

The majority of  poker sites provide tons of ring games and varieties of poker can’t be played live, such as in casinos or poker bars. For example events like bounty tournaments and heads up games are impossible to come by live. Online poker also caters towards a massive variegated range of table stakes and or high roller games that you’d otherwise need to travel to Vegas, Rio or Macau to play for.  You can also play multiple tables simultaneously online – Tom “Durrrr” Dwan for instance regularly 4-tables Omaha $100/$200 ring games.  Thus, in conclusion online poker provides a greater range of games 24/7.

Online Poker Has Lots of Exciting Promotions!

Every poker sites runs daily, weekly and monthly promotions which are very exciting to players. First deposit bonuses, weekly tournament leaderboards and Live Event Satellites are a perfect example of these.  Others include beat jackpots, specific tournament offers and free loyalty points.

Live Poker Provides a Better, More Exciting Experience

Playing face to face with other players in live games not only makes the experience more enjoyable but it also adds more strategy and factors into play.  For example, in live poker games not only are you under more pressure personally but there is a larger requirement to keep a poker face and conceal your visual “tells”.  Hellmuth identifies shaky hands and the consistency of betting patters of one of these.  Different players adapt to live play differently – for example Phil Hellmuth and Phil Ivey conceal their faces with sunglasses and hats when they play at major events such as the WSOP and EPT. However another difference or even problem that regular online poker players suffer in live poker is having to manually put their chips in the pot. In online poker shoving your chips and making bets is is done by the click of a button, however in live poker you have to physically put your chips in the pot – and this is much more intimidating and difficult to do.  As such it is argued live games feature less action and players are much more reserved.

Live Poker is Full of More Fish and is Far More Profitable

You might not think it – given that you’d assume only the most experienced players go to live events, however it’s a well-known fact that live poker games contain more fish than online.  This makes games more profitable – for example your average $1/$2 table at Caesars Palace will be easier than its equivalent level on PokerStars.  So, before you knock live poker for being inconvenient, remember that there’s far more money to be made.  You also can’t use live poker calculator tools or software to view your opponent’s hand history or experience.

Difference Between Live and Online Tournaments

There’s some key differences in how you should maximise value and and play correct MTT strategy in live/online tournments.  However because I’ve already written an article on the subject I suggest you read it there: differences between live and online tournaments.

Conclusion on Live vs Online Poker

Overall, I consider the growth and burgeoning rate of online poker to make it more superior than live games.  The sheer table selection, availability of games 24/7, and ability to use poker software and take advantage of superb offers and promotions makes online poker more “entertaining”.  The important point in this debate however, is that without live poker and popular events such as the WSOP online poker wouldn’t be as popular as it is.  Many claim that “american dream” story of Chris Moneymaker’s lottery-eque 2003 WSOP Main Event Victory – where he qualified through a cheap $40 satellite on PokerStars, made the success of poker today what it is.  In general then, I think we can safely say at minimum, both live and online poker has their advantages and disadvantages, and they both mutually beneficial for the game. In my opinion you should take up the opportunity to play both if you’re serious about poker!

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