Online Poker Vs. Live Poker – Key Differences Explained

There are pros and cons to both forms of poker but, for the most part, choosing one over the other comes down to a player’s individual preferences. Transitioning between the two can however be difficult, so it is always worth bearing the following in mind when making the switch.

High-speed vs. time to think

One of the biggest differences between online and live poker is the speed at which games are played. With no human dealer, online dealing is immediate and error-free, with no time lost due to shuffling. Chip counting is likewise unnecessary as all relevant information is reported on-screen and updated in real-time. While this can represent an advantage for impatient players and beginners looking to learn quickly, it also means that you have considerably less time to make strategic decisions or to compose yourself after making a bad play.


Visibility vs. anonymity

Another difference between the two forms is the facelessness of the online world compared to the intense scrutiny of bricks-and-mortar casinos. Whether this is seen as an advantage or a disadvantage rather depends on who you talk to. Seasoned live players are extraordinarily skilled in reading human behavior and body language, deftly observing opponents’ tells and using this information to wipe the floor with their nervous opponents. In the online world, when playing on poker sites like, inexperienced players can play safe in the knowledge that they will not be betrayed by their physical reactions – a comforting thought for many.

Professionals vs. a mixed bag

Held in casinos, live tables are often played by a mixed bag including experienced players and complete amateurs. This means that the chances of coming up against a table of experts are pretty slim. Online games, on the other hand, tend to be populated by a considerable number of professionals and experts in multi-tabling. The standard is thus much higher and so, despite the advantage of facelessness, amateurs should be prepared to face some top-notch competition.

Social interaction vs. home alone

Once again, this can be both an advantage and a disadvantage depending on personal experience and preference. In the online world, players bet from behind a computer screen and are engaged in a distraction free poker game as they do not take part in social interaction. In a live casino, this is altogether different – something that can be either distracting or inspiring, depending on what you’re used to.

Multi-tabling vs. traditionalism

One of the benefits of online poker is the opportunity to play as many as 30 tables simultaneously. While multi-tabling can increase your profits significantly, the ability to prioritize becomes critical. Of course multi-tabling in a live situation is impossible, which might compromise your earning potential but will allow you to concentrate fully on a single table.

About the Author: Andrew Ferguson

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