The Key Differences Between Live and Online Poker
Live poker and online poker are the same game, right? A flush still beats a straight and players still need to bluff and concentrate on their opponent’s tells. Or is it a different beast altogether? Does playing poker online require a different skill set to live poker? Are online players better than live players or vice versa?
This debate has raged on since the onset of online poker in the 1990’s. While it isn’t quite so fierce these days, as many players have made the jump to both games, some players insist that the games are incredibly different and have likened it to comparing chess and checkers.
There are a number of distinguished differences between the two, although the fundamentals remain largely the same on both. However, it isn’t just the game itself that varies －the overall experience and environment between the two is probably the most notable contrast. Some of these environmental differences can have a notable impact on the skills required for each game.
What are the different skills needed for online poker and live poker?
We’re going to take a look at the most noticeable areas where the two differ. We’ll also go into how some of these differences can impact the skills that are developed by players on both sides. First, let’s take a comprehensive look at the different skills needed by both sets of players in order to excel in their game of choice.
Skills for Live Poker
- Live poker players must have the ability to concentrate on one single game of poker at a time. When playing poker online you have the option to open and play on multiple tables. Because you don’t have this option at a live table, the ability to concentrate and stave off boredom at one table is essential.
- Having meticulous math and a good memory is crucial for being successful at live poker, as there is no computer tracking software to rely on.
- Learning to read people is probably one of the most important aspects of being able to excel at live poker. The game is won and lost on your ability to spot tells and physical cues and live poker players have to have an increased sense of emotional intelligence to succeed.
- You need to know how to find the most profitable spot around the table. This means that you need to have a good understanding of the game and seat selection and how they could impact you. Mastering the seat change button is absolutely key to going far in live poker matches.
- As a live poker player, you must be skilled at a number of different formats of the game. Although the variety of different games found on online poker sites is vastly more, there are a few different formats of the live game that are used to keep it interesting.
Skills for Poker Games Online
- Multi-tasking is king if you want to excel at online poker. You have to be able to play multiple tables, look up your different opponents, and be skilled in more than one game of poker in order to make cash. The range of stakes is lower in online games (which we’ll go into more detail further down), and therefore you need to be able to play a higher volume of games to make money.
- Online poker players need to be able to make rapid decisions without having to think about them too much. They have to train their brains to see the opportunities as they happen, especially if they are playing multiple tables at the same time.
- Online players don’t need to have quite the same ability to read people as live players do, but they have to be able to collect and analyze data on their opponents before they begin, and during the game. They aren’t able to rely on physical tells, and so they have to be able to strategically analyze their opponents through their online behaviors.
- Cognitive maturity is essential to be able to manage online poker without losing your mind and money. Players are on multiple tables and games at the same time and they have to be able to keep their emotions in check when they get a bad run, as it’s easier to chase a game and lose money when you are playing multiple hands than in live poker.
What are the biggest differences between live and online poker?
Now that you know the different skills that online and live poker players must have in order to excel in their games, we are going to take a comprehensive look at what makes these games so vastly different that it results in players developing a largely different and complex set of skills.
The speed of play
One of the biggest and easily the most noticeable differences between online poker and live poker is simply the speed of play. When you play real poker online, the speed of play is much quicker than live poker. That’s because in live poker the deck is shuffled manually after each hand is dealt and the chip counts are done by an actual person. With online poker, however, this is done instantaneously through the computer and it cuts off a whole chunk of time. When you are playing live poker the average amount of hands is around 30 an hour at most, whereas when playing poker online you can expect the number of hands in an hour to be at least double that.
The fast pace of online poker has a massive impact on the game and it’s one of the aspects that online players thrive off. Many online players struggle to make the change over to live poker because they get bored with the ‘sedentary’ pace at which the game flows.
Variety of games
When it comes to the sheer variety in game choice between live and online poker there is absolutely no doubt that online poker comes out trumps. The best online poker sites have a massive choice of games for players such as No-Limit Hold’em, PLO, Seven Card Stud, and more for players to choose from, of which all come in different formats. Whereas live poker usually just involves one game that can be played in multiple different formats.
Then there’s the choice of online poker tournaments and other great options that are seldom seen in live games. Live games simply fall short when it comes to competing with the hundreds of games that are offered by online poker sites.
The use of poker strategy tools
Online poker came about with the evolution of technology and it makes sense that computers run a fair portion of the games. Many online players make use of strategy tools and HUD’s that help them to make the hard decisions. Given the right access to their opponents’ stats, online poker players can utilize them to increase their edge in the game as part of the online poker strategy.
Tells and cues
As mentioned above, online poker players rely on strategy tools in order to ‘read’ their opponents, whereas players of live poker will use their carefully honed intuition to gauge their opponents.
There are two types of ways to read people in live poker and the first is to watch their game and analyze their behavior. The second way is to rely on physical cues and tells in their body language, which gives away their game. Live players have to be much more in tune with their emotional intelligence and people skills than online poker players for this reason alone.
Range of stakes
You’ll find more people playing poker online with friends nowadays than ever before, and that’s because there is a wide range of stakes to fit all kinds of budgets. This means that online players don’t have to break the bank in order to play. You can play games with blinds of as little as $0.01/$0.02, and online poker tournaments for as low as $1. Although there are high-stakes games available for those wishing to play with the high rollers, online poker offers a little something for everyone’s budget.
Live rooms, on the other hand, are much more limited with regards to stakes and you won’t find as much for those players with really small budgets.
This is something that may not affect the overall skills of players from either online or live poker, however, it does affect the amount you can play. Most online poker players choose to play from the comfort of their own homes, and can even do so during a lunch break. This means that they have a distinctly longer number of hours in a day in which they can play, practice, and win.
Live players don’t have the option to quickly enter a game at the touch of their fingertips and have to physically go out and play. This gives them significantly less time to play than online players and fewer opportunities to make money. Free online poker is just downright more convenient than playing live games.
Play the best free poker online
It’s clear to see that there is a contrast between online and live poker that results in players developing a variety of skills that helps them to excel in their choice of poker. However, there is a lot that binds these two together and it’s encouraging to see that many more people are venturing into both sides of the poker world.
The convenience and speed of online poker still remains one of the biggest draw cards for the industry and it is expected to go from strength to strength over the coming years as new technology evolves alongside it. Sign up with Borgata Casino to play the best online poker and take advantage of our amazing competitions, thousands of game options, rewards, bonuses, and much more.
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