A rose by any other name is a rose, but not so much when it comes to the game of poker. When it comes to poker, many might believe that online poker and live poker at a casino are the same, but they are incorrect. Of course, certain things remain the same such as the basic structure, the rules of the game, the objective, and the basic strategy. What is different are some very key things that are fundamental to the experience of playing the game. Each has a set of advantages and differences that every poker player should know. In this article, we will talk about these key differences, and how to deal with them.
Reading Opponents (Betting Patterns)
If you have ever watched poker on television, then you have seen how important reading your opponents is to success. In movies, they often highlight huge bluffs, and they even cover this on TV coverage of tournaments. Many poker players claim that you can read players better live at a casino vs playing online. Online players often respond to this by countering this claim with as much as you can read other players’ life, they can also read you. Another set of online players claim that reading betting patterns, keeping track of tendencies, and truly understanding a player’s style is much easier online. For players who rely more on feel and body language, then playing live might give them a few advantages. For players who take a more scientific approach, online poker has a set of tools that makes keeping track of opponents playing habits, betting habits and even their card ranges a lot easier than you can in a live game at a casino.
Number of Hands per Hour (Speed of Play)
One clear advantage that online poker has over live poker at a casino is that you can play far more hands in less time online. During the poker boom, when Internet poker was first becoming popular many young players became so skilled at the game because of the number of hands that they could play online. It is possible to play several thousands of hands of poker in a short amount of time. One year of playing online poker is similar to play 5 years of poker at a casino. Watch most of your big poker tournaments on TV and you will see that most of the young professionals became pros in a short amount of time via playing online poker. Whereas live poker is very slow at a casino, sometimes only playing 10-30 hands per hour, waiting on cards to be collected and shuffled, the online game does this quickly and automatically. Multi-tabling Poker Games Another huge advantage of online poker is the ability to play more than one poker game at one time. This is called multi-tabling, and it is something that serious poker players do to earn more money in the same amount of time. The more hands a good player sees, the more likely they are going to earn more money vs simply playing at one online poker table. Most serious players can easily play at 4 tables at one time, some of the better players can handle 6-8 tables, and there has been a hand full of players who have played 20 plus SitnGo’s at the same time. We only suggest that for people who really know what they are doing!
Skill Level of Opponents
Depending on where you live, the buy-in, and the games that you play, either online or live poker can have weaker players. Most serious players suggest that until you get into the higher buy-in games live that most live players will be a hobbyist who does not know what they are doing. Online poker players are typically better, but you will run across many poor players who simply donate to the game with their poor play. One tip, the more popular and online poker room, the more likely you will run into players who aren’t that skilled. As a player who seeks to earn money, you should seek to play weaker players as much as possible.
Which game can consistently produce the most money-making opportunity? The answer to this is a busy online poker room because of all the reasons we mentioned above. With online poker, the game is much faster, you play far more hands per hour (hundreds), you can face weak opponents and play hand after hand with them, you can play multiple tables at the same time to increase your win rate. For any decent player, online poker will always be a more profitable game, but this relies on finding the right opponents. Remember online players are better than the average casino hobbyist, but there is plenty of ‘fish’ as we call them to eat in the online poker world. Here’s a question, if weak players are called ‘fish,’ then what are really good online players called? The answer is sharks. Be the shark!
Availability of Games
This is a huge one and we have to put online poker ahead of live poker here. Online poker rooms are open 24/7, they have tons of games, you can play against people from all over the globe, at any time you can find a poker game going on. Live poker at a casino, leaves you at the mercy of who shows up, and which games they are willing to play. In many live casinos, you will be out of luck finding players to go against at many poker games. Variance (Short-Term Luck) Some say luck, the knowledgeable say variance. Variance is the fact that good players will lose in the short run, and bad players will win in the short-term. Good players will come out a winner long-term, and bad players will lose long-term. It is often variance that makes the game so much fun and keeps people coming back again. Why do good players lose the short-term? They lose short-term because although poker is a SKILL game, the luck of the draw is also a huge factor.
You can get several bad hands and bad beats in a row, and that will not reflect your skill, but the luck of the draw. Bad players can get a string of lucky breaks, even mathematically weak big breaks that reward their bad play. This is what variance is all about. The bigger question is does online poker or live casino poker has the advantage. Online poker has the advantage. Why? Online poker allows you to play more hands in less time and even allows you to play multiple tables at the same time. The more hands a good player plays, the sooner he or she gets to their real win rate, and away from the temporary whims of variance, and the bad beats it can deliver.
Which Is Better? Finally, which is better? Based on the criteria that we have gone over, online poker has far more advantages for serious players than live poker at a casino. Ultimately, most people play a bit of both. They might play at a casino while on vacation, or they might take a special trip just to play a few hands over the weekend. For people who want the best chance to consistently win, an online player has much more to offer.