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Online Poker vs Online Sports Betting in 2011

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Sports Betting vs Online Poker

Online gambling has taken off in the last decade or so.  Most of the biggest poker and sports betting sites including PokerStars, Sportsbook.com, UB.com and William Hill only launched their online services in 2000 – 2002.

But, from the player’s point of view in terms of usability, features, profits and fun, which is better – online poker or online sports betting?

Online Poker vs Sports Betting Bonuses

To begin with the debate, lets compare the new player bonuses between sportsbooks and online poker rooms.

As you’re probably already aware, poker bonuses are generally much larger than sports betting bonuses for new players since they can be worth on average between $600 and $1100 (UB.com being the biggest poker bonus that I’ve come across).  Compared to sports betting bonuses, which are generally only worth 10% of this, the online poker players get the better bargain.

Which is Easier, Online Poker or Sports Betting?

The main difference between sports betting and online poker is that in the former you’re betting money against the house with fixed odds, where as in poker you’re competing against other players which means the competition is always increasing.

Depending on which poker room you play at, the competition can differ massively.  For example, Bodog is widely regarded as the fishiest poker room.  Now that Bodog Poker has banned the use of live tracking software it has made the room even friendlier to fish.  Overall however, while online poker is becoming increasingly more difficult, sports betting has largely remained the same.

If anything, the increasing number of sportsbooks on the internet has led to better odds and player rewards, meaning that betting online might actually be getting easier!

Mobile Sports Betting vs Mobile Poker

Mobile sports betting is years ahead of mobile poker in terms of playability, choice of mobile sites and volume.

Personally, I don’t believe that mobile poker will ever become very popular since poker is too complicated a game to play on a small screen.  There are too many limitations with regards to multi-tabling, seeing things clearly, making different raise amounts, using a poker HUD etc on the mobile.  Also, Apple’s stance of iPhone Apps has meant that poker sites can’t develop apps that use flash or java technology – hence why Full Tilt Poker’s “Rush Mobile” service isn’t available on the iPhone.

Mobile sports betting on the other hand is growing rapidly with mobile turnover increasing by around 50% per year.  Most sports betting sites offer mobile betting including Betfair, William Hill, Bet365, Sportsbook.com, Bookmaker and BetUS.

Earning Potential – Online Poker vs Sports Betting

I think that profit and earnings potential for pro poker players is where online poker wins the battle of professional gambling.

Pro poker players can easily make over $100,000 per year in addition to winnings from live tournaments and packages.  Even newish poker players can make $10,000 – $20,000 per year in the low stakes games within a few months.

Professional sports handicapping however are a lot more difficult, with huge variance.  Even professional NFL handicappers can only expect a win percentage of 55% at most.


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