Around the world, more than 100 million people now play online poker. With more people now playing poker online than people playing tennis or golf, there’s no doubt that the online version has become incredibly popular. Yet, with so much choice of where to play, it’s now difficult to know whether it’s best to play online or in-person.
This question is particularly important for those interested in a career in poker and while both ways of playing have a lot of similarities, but also some key differences that really distinguish them. From strategy to top tips and the way of conducting yourself, all of these factors come into play when considering which variant to play.
Let’s take a look at some of the key differences in playing online vs. in person poker.
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The ability to play at multiple tables
When it comes to in person poker, you can only be physically present in one place at a time. However, with online poker, players have the ability to play at multiple poker tables at once. Play at multiple poker tables has been made easier by technology which allows players to minimize their screens to shop all tables they are playing in one window. This is convenient and saves a lot of time, but you need to have a head of a swivel to be successful.
If you’re a beginner player that’s looking to get into playing at multiple poker tables, it’s best to take it slow. Start with just two or maybe three poker tables and see how you go. Playing at multiple tables demands the ability to anticipate the moves of other players and identify where your attention is needed most.
Once you master this skill, it’s highly efficient and will save a lot of your time, as well as increasing your likelihood of winning a prize.
Many people who started out playing poker actually can’t stand to play live games. This is because live games operate at half the speed of online games, with an average of 30 hands per hour, compared to 60 online. For those that learnt to play online, live poker can be incredibly tedious and can encourage players to delve outside their usual strategy and take more risks out of boredom. For this reason, online players don’t tend to do as well in live poker games.
Similarly, those that are used to live poker and who try to make the move to playing online, can often find it difficult to adapt. The nature of online poker means it’s not as easy or sometimes not possible to read other players’ body language. This factor, combined with the high speed of the game, means that online poker can be a real challenge.
More game variety
In traditional casinos, there’s usually only capacity for one or two different types of poker table, which can be limiting for players trying to expand their skills. However, in online casinos, these physical capacity limits don’t exist, and providers are able to offer a much wider variety of games.
Some of the different types of poker game include:
- Texas Hold’em
- Omaha Hi Lo
- 7 Card Stud
Another benefit of online poker, which is of particular benefit to those that are learning, as well as professional players, is the ability to track and analyze your game performance. Online poker means you can use poker tracking software that is capable of analyzing your performance to give you an insight into where your strengths and weaknesses are.
This can be particularly useful in knowing where you need to devote extra practice. In addition, online poker tracking software enables you to filter particular outcomes so that you can practice on your problem areas. If you decide to hire a poker coach, it can also be useful to have an analysis of your performance to pass along so that the coach can identify exactly where to help you.
Reading your opponent
One of the areas where in person poker wins is being able to read your opponent’s body language. Poker is a game that relies hugely on the queues other players are giving off. Without being able to see your opponent’s cracking poker face, it can be difficult to know what your next move will be.
Some online poker games have evolved to show the person on camera in a poker game, yet many games still only have an icon to represent the player. This is one of the challenges of playing online and will most likely be one that players have to adapt to.
Type of players
There is a key difference in the demographics of people that play in person poker, compared to people that play online. Many online players are a lot younger than in person players, in which one reason for this could be that younger people are natively more tech savvy than in person poker players.
Another observation by regular poker players is that online poker players can be a little more aggressive in their strategy than in person poker. This may be because online poker demands a different kind of strategy to in person games as the pace is much faster.
As there are usually more people participating in online poker games than in person ones, there are more people paying into the pool that becomes the jackpot. However, with more skilled players in an online game, it may be more difficult to get your hands on the prize money.
Overall, there are a number of key differences between online and in person poker. While both have advantages and disadvantages, it seems that online poker is leading the way when it comes to more progressive play. What’s more, with online poker, you can play with people from all over the world, at any time of the day which will open players up to far more practice scenarios.
Therefore, the vote on this occasion must go to online poker.