The introduction of online poker has boosted the popularity of the game as you don’t need to visit the casino to play poker. You can easily play the game from the comfort of your hand. For some time now, there’s been an argument about whether live poker is easier than online poker and vice versa. And we’ll be talking about this in detail in this article.
Live poker is considered to be easier than online poker. The ability to multi-table and play many more hands per hour plus all the available tracking tools gives online players a lot more inputs to help them become better players which makes the whole playing field harder to beat.
Online poker players play more hands and thus gain experience faster.
You just have to play both versions of poker to understand why it is so. And we’ll be talking about the reasons why online poker is harder than live poker later in this article.
Whether online or live, poker is still poker. The basics and fundamentals of both versions of poker are the same. However, there are a number of significant differences between online and live poker. It is due to these differences that the overall experience you get from playing live poker isn’t the same as that of online poker. Some of these differences even have significant effects on certain aspects of the game.
We’ll be doing a comparison of online and live poker by focusing on the aspects where they differ. By knowing the key differences between the two, you’ll be able to come to your own conclusion about which version of poker is easier or harder. Keep reading.
Looking to switch from live to online poker? Read these tips from a pro.
Is Online Poker Hard?
The differences between live and online poker mean players used to playing at the casino will most likely find online poker a bit challenging at first. Yes, it’s the same poker with the same rules. However, the gameplay and feel of the two are so different that live poker players have to overcome some hurdles when they switch to online poker.
So for a given level of expertise, online poker will always be more difficult than live poker.
Online poker has the time-bank feature in which players have only a certain amount of time to react. This feature can be overwhelming to players playing live poker for the first time. There is also a need for you to familiarize yourself with the layout of the online poker website you are using as well as the deposit and withdrawal options. All these means players playing online poker for the first time will need some time to adjust to the game.
The fact that you can’t see your opponents’ tells also makes online poker harder than live poker. But then. Your opponents also cannot see your own tells and we may even say online poker is easier than live poker in this regard. It’s about your perspective, really.
Nevertheless, there are some very effective ways to tell if someone is bluffing online. I have a whole article about it, which will make you recognize the spots and make profitable bluff catcher calls.
After saying all this, we believe it is more accurate to say online poker is very different from live poker than simply saying online poker is more difficult than live poker.
You can check out our article on the best poker training sites for more information about the two forms of poker and how to get better at them. Plenty of strategy videos on how to beat both live and online. With many of them free. Or if you want to focus just on live poker, then this detailed review of arguably the best poker training site for live poker players will be of great help to you.
Differences Between Online Poker And Live Poker
We’ll be taking a look at the differences between online and live poker. This will inform you about which one has the most advantages to offer.
Speed Of Play
This is one of the biggest and most obvious differences between online and liver poker.
The pace of online poker is so fast that many online players find it tedious to play live poker.
The main reason why online poker is so much faster than live poker is automation. Many of the things done at a live poker table are carried out automatically in online poker.
For example, the shuffling of the deck after each round is done automatically in online poker. A dealer will have to do this manually in live poker. At the same time, cards are dealt almost instantaneously in online poker, and the counting of chips is also automated.
It is because of the reasons above that online poker is very fast. The maximum number of hands you can expect to take place when playing live is 30. And even that is on the highest side. Add an inexperienced dealer and slow players and you can quickly get to 20 hands per hour.
This number quickly doubles to 60 when you move to live poker. You can now see why playing live can be very frustrating for players used to online poker. Their frustration will only increase if they are not getting good hands.
Convenience And Comfort
This one is very obvious. Going to the casino can prove to be stressful particularly if there are none close to where you live. It could also be that you are simply too tired to go to the casino after an eventful…or uneventful day. But you still want to play poker. Does that mean no poker for you? No, not if online poker has anything to say about it.
With a tablet, pc, or smartphone and an internet connection, you can play poker from the comfort of your home. You can play poker anytime anywhere. And this freedom of playing at your convenience is one of the reasons why online poker is so popular today. Nothing beats playing poker from the comfort of your favorite couch or your bed. Certainly not the not-so-comfortable chairs found in live poker rooms. Oh, we must also mention you don’t have to get dressed to play online poker. You know you have to at least look presentable when going to the casino.
We talked about this a little under convenience and comfort but we’ll go into more details here. Most casinos only open during certain hours of the day. There are some casinos however that open 24 hours a day. Yeah, that’s great. But you see, there isn’t much guarantee that you’ll always find a table to join. There are peak days for casinos where all the tables will be filled up. You have to arrive on time or risk not being able to play poker.
You don’t want that now, do you? And the waiting list could be so long that you just have to go back home. These are issues you’ll never encounter in live poker. Online poker sites are always open throughout the day.
It’s very rare to enter an online poker room and not find a table to join.
As fast and convenient as online poker, you are missing out on the social aspects of poker. Poker is a social game and the interaction at the tables when playing live is one of the fun aspects of the game.
Socializing at the tables is one of the integral parts of live poker. There are a number of poker sites with chat functions on their tables but this cannot really be compared to mingling with others at the tables. You have to admit that laughing and joking with other players is a whole new level of fun and enjoyment.
All the interesting stories I heard from people in a live poker room. That is actually one of the main reasons I keep playing live poker on some occasions, even though I am primarily an online poker player.
You can still meet poker players if you play online. It will mostly be done on forums and discord channels to interact and exchange ideas with them. Check out our articles on the best poker forums and best poker discord channels to find the ones that match your needs.
There are so many variants of poker that are available at poker sites. The options available in casinos, even the biggest ones, are very limited. Games like Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Seven Card Stud, Five Card Draw, and Mixed Game Formats. You can play these variants of poker games in either cash or tournaments formats, Also, you have the option of choosing whether a full ring, short-handed or heads-up.
Some of the most profitable poker games you can’t even find in the majority of casinos as it is not so popular yet, and your only option is to play it online.
Option to Multi-Table
Multi-tabling, as the name implies, simply means playing at multiple tables simultaneously. This is virtually impossible to do when playing live in a casino but can be achieved when playing poker online. Although, this isn’t an issue for people that are just new to poker or just playing poker for fun. They instead want to concentrate on just a single game.
But for me playing multiple tables is a necessity. I used to play 24 cash tables, and even more when I was playing multi-table sit&go’s. Nowadays I rather focus on the quality of play than quantity, but I still go for up to 6 tables.
Read And Tells
It’s very important to know how to read your opponents if you want to have an extra edge in poker, This doesn’t mean you have to literally read their mind or acquire mind-reading skills. You just need to figure out what they are trying to do.
You just have to closely observe them and see their body gestures and other clues that might give you an idea of what they plan to do next. Online you don’t have the chance to observe body moves, but one way to achieve this is to study the style of play of your opponents and you’ll be able to predict their moves better.
This is another aspect where live and online poker differs significantly. In online poker, all your hands are automatically recorded and are available for you to review and analyze upon request.
This is as important to experienced players, as it is to poker beginners. By analyzing their hands, they are one step closer to becoming the poker player they aspire to be. Just find the ‘hand history’ feature on your poker site and you can begin your analysis.
The majority of poker players are using HUD and hand tracking software to maximize their profits. Many players would not be winners without the help of such software, so getting the best one is essential to make more money. Here you can read more about which are the best HUDs for online poker.
Obviously, hands are not recorded in live poker. You’ll need to have photographic memory if you want to analyze your hands in live poker as you’ll have to remember all the cards you’ve been dealt and how you play.
Bonuses & Rewards
Poker sites are generally very generous with bonuses and rewards. Live poker rooms don’t really do much in this regard. The intense competition between poker sites is the main reason behind some of the mouth-watering bonuses they offer players. Though, there are also some poker sites that don’t offer any reward. But online poker beats live poker when it comes to bonuses and rewards.
Reasons Why Live Poker Is Easier Than Online Poker
We’ve already established that live poker is easier than online. Now, we’ll be looking at the reasons why this is so. You should already have some ideas of the differences between live and online poker we discussed above.
Money Is More Valuable to Online Players
The majority of people playing online poker are young. Older poker players are generally not as tech-savvy as the younger ones and thus will prefer to play poker live in the casino. The social aspect of the game is another reason why they prefer to play live poker.
Also, people that are new to poker prefer to first practice all they’ve learned online before thinking about going to the casino. So they generally have a small bankroll. Most of them can’t even scrape together the $300-$500 required to participate in a live poker game.
Live Player Cliques Are Less Likely to Challenge Each Other
You’ll be surprised to know the number of ‘cliques’ in the poker world. These cliques are usually made up of players that are on a similar level in regards to the skill and experience of the game. People belonging to these cliques rarely compete against one another.
The Online Poker Lifestyle Attracts the Best Players
Online poker is available 24/7 meaning you can play games at your own leisure. This means a lot of good and hardworking players are switching over to online poker.
Transitioning from live poker to online poker
Since you know the differences between live and online poker, you can now see you need to get used to some things in online poker. If you’ve never played online poker before, we’ll be giving you some tips below that will bring about a smooth transition to the world of online poker.
Start with Small Stakes
We are sure you’ve learned this lesson already from your gambling experience so far. And this couldn’t apply more to online poker. While you may be used to playing $1/2NL Hold’em in the casino, you have to take a step back in online poker. Depositing $100 in your account and using the same stakes you use in live poker will come back to haunt you.
You have to lower your stakes when playing online poker. This is mainly because the games are very fast and you are likely to play more hands. So it’s smart to lower your stakes in order to make sure you don’t blow your bankroll too fast.
Get Familiar with the Online Features
You have to familiarize yourself with the unique features of online poker. Browse through the poker site you are using and try to get familiarized with the interface.
One of the things players transitioning to online poker have to adjust to is those situations where you have a certain amount of time to make a move. In contrast, you have more time to make moves in live poker.
You can also bet decimals of money, say $3.42 in online poker. And this means you can do exact mathematical calculations when playing online unlike live poker where you have to round up your bets to the lowest denomination chip in play.
Begin by Playing a Single Table
As we mentioned above, you can join multiple tables in online poker. But if you are new to this form of poker, you’ll do well to stick to only one table for now. Take your time to become comfortable playing on one table before then moving to two tables and then more, if you so desire.
Prepare for a Long Tournament Grind
If you think cash game sessions sometimes take too long, you have to play a couple of multi-table tournaments online. There are a lot of players competing in these tournaments, hundreds, and sometimes thousands.
Then there is only a short break between levels. And this means you need to be really focused and determined if you want to participate in multi-table tournaments online.
Create a Positive Environment And Be Professional
If you are a tournament player, you need to create a positive environment around you when playing as things can get pretty tough. Have a box of snacks, cold drinks, and perhaps a good playlist to keep you going through the frustrating long tournaments.
You need a lot of discipline if you are going to play online poker. There are lots of distractions if you are playing at home. This is not the case in the casino as you can’t use any electronic devices at the tables. But at home, you have your phones and could be tempted to start chatting/texting. There is also the TV and you could be carried away watching your favorite show. Discipline therefore is needed.