Online Poker vs Live Poker - Which is Better for You?

July 6, 2022
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When playing poker, you have two main options. You can choose to play a live game at a casino or poker room, or you can play online. Despite being the same game, there are a few main differences between them. Each offers its own advantages and disadvantages, and you’ll need to decide which one is better for you. As a new player, you might be wondering which one to choose. Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of each so you can decide for yourself.


Online Poker Advantages and Disadvantages

Online poker has quickly become the most popular way to play, offering a level of convenience that’s hard to beat. Because you can log into an online poker site and play anytime you like, it’s easy to see why so many players prefer to play online. You don’t need to wait around for a table, and you can start playing as soon as you’ve signed up and deposited funds. Additionally, many poker sites are now accessible on mobile devices, meaning they can be played from anywhere.

Another major advantage that online poker offers is the use of tracking software and heads-up displays (HUDs). These tools are especially useful for beginners, as they allow you to track your play and see how you did. You can look back at your performances and see how you could have improved, and it also reveals a lot of information about your opponents too. HUDs provide real-time information about your hand, giving you advice and helping you make the right decision. Whether these are cheating or not is hotly debated, and many poker sites ban them, but they can be useful if you find a site that allows them.

While online poker no doubt offers its advantages, it does have some downsides too. Compared to live poker, games are much more challenging. Almost every online poker player is trying to win as much money as possible, which creates a more competitive environment. It’s very challenging for a new player to get started because of how many experienced players there are playing low-stakes games and playing to win.


Live Poker Advantages and Disadvantages

The major advantage of live poker is that when you sit at a table opposite other players, you get to actually see their facial expressions and read their tells. Live poker is far more fun to play for this reason, and it’s possible to learn more about your opponents when you can see them. Of course, this also means they can learn more about you, but provided you know how to hide your tells, you should be OK.

Live games are also far more relaxed in terms of difficulty. There tend to be more recreational players at live tables. That’s not to say that you can go in as a complete beginner and win every time. But you’ll generally have more success than playing comparatively low stakes than playing online. For high stakes live games, the difficulty tends to be equal, as there are more pro players playing in big stakes games and tournaments.

A big disadvantage of live poker is that it’s a lot slower than online play. When you sit down to play at a poker table, you have to wait for the dealer to shuffle the deck, collect and count the chips and deal the cards each round. There’s also the matter of waiting for each player to make their move. Online is much faster, as the dealer is a computer program, and players have a timer in which they’ll have to make their decision. In addition, online players will often multi-table and can play through up to 100 hands per hour. In comparison, live games typically see around 30 hands an hour at most.



Is it Possible to Play Both Live and Online Poker?

You can play both live and online poker. In fact, if you want to learn as much about the game as possible, it’s highly encouraged. While you can play with more hands and gain more experience online, you can have a gentler experience at live games. On top of this, the experience of playing in front of opponents you can see is a big advantage. Learning to read your opponents is a key part of getting good at poker, especially if you’d like to play at big live tournaments in the future.

Most poker players will say that online poker is better simply because of how many hands you can play in an hour and the convenience. However, you shouldn’t overlook live poker, and you can learn a lot from both. Ultimately, the choice of which is best will be up to you, but you should definitely try out both before you make the decision.

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