Live Poker vs. Online Poker: What Sets These Two Variations Apart?

Poker has been around since the early 19th century, and it’s been a hit with players for ages. Recently, it’s gotten even more popular thanks to online poker platforms. However, while the basic principles of the game haven’t changed, you’ll notice a world of difference when comparing a live, real-time poker at your average casino, and the online version with easily accessible no deposit bonus codes. From the speed of play to the social dynamics at the table, these two variations of poker offer their own challenges and opportunities.

So, whether you’re a newcomer to the felt or quite the veteran, it’s essential to keep in mind what sets live poker apart from its online counterpart. That’s why we’re here with five key differences that can help you draw a clearer distinction between the two versions, possibly helping you make an informed decision when deciding between the two options.

#1. Live Games Are Much Slower 

One of the most noticeable differences between live poker and online poker is the pace of play. While online poker moves at the speed of mouse clicks and microchips, live games move at a much slower pace.

A typical online nine-handed poker table can churn through roughly 60-75 hands per hour, and with six-handed tables this number can even skyrocket to hundreds per hour. On the other hand, at a live poker table, you’ll be lucky to see 30-40 hands per hour, and this number can drop even lower in less efficient games. Factors such as shuffling, dealing, and player interactions all play a part, contributing to the sluggish pace.

For online players used to the rapid rhythm of digital poker, adjusting to the live game’s slow tempo can be quite annoying. So, if you tend to play the online version of the game, this is a key factor to take into account.

#2. Live Poker Costs More

While online players may grumble about the rake (the portion of each pot that goes to the house) live games can be even costlier in this regard. Especially at lower stakes, a significant portion of your winnings can be siphoned off by the house. Some live games even have an uncapped rake, where a fixed percentage is taken from every pot, regardless of its size. These games are generally best avoided unless you’re confident that you can outshine your competition.

Furthermore, unlike online poker, where players often receive rakeback bonuses, live poker rooms rarely offer such incentives, with players bearing the brunt of the expenses through higher rake. That being said, it’s good to keep in mind that casinos have fixed costs and limited tables, making it harder for them to provide substantial rakeback.

 #3.  Live Games Are Less Aggressive Before The Flop

The dynamics of pre-flop play tend to be more passive and loose compared to online poker. This can be due various reasons. Firstly, the slower pace of live games may encourage players to enter more pots out of boredom. Secondly, live poker players, on average, may be less skilled and more inclined to play weak hands. This is why you can get more multi-way pots in live games, an element you’ll want to factor into your pre-flop strategy.

#4. You Can Take More Liberties With Bet Sizes In Live Games

When it comes to online poker, precise bet sizing is crucial, as players often analyze bets for clues about the strength of their opponents’ hands. However, in live games, players don’t care as much about bet sizes, allowing you to take more liberties with your bets. You can sometimes extract more value from your strong hands or bluff more effectively when you take advantage of this aspect of live play.

#5. Live Poker Allows You To Read Your Opponents Like A Book

This has got to be one of the most valuable aspects of live poker. Unlike online play, where avatars conceal players’ emotions and reactions, live poker lays bare the physical tells, expressions, and body language of your opponents. Despite the famous poker face notion, there are various cues that you can observe during live poker. Whether it’s a subtle twitch, a fleeting glance, a change in posture, more chatter or less of it from your fellow players, all these hints can provide you with priceless insights into their hands and intentions.

To sum up, live poker and online poker have their own unique quirks and perks. Getting used to the slower pace and the extra expenses in live poker means you’ll need some extra patience and budgeting skills. On the other hand, the thrill of reading your opponents and using their habits against them adds that extra layer of complexity and fun to the live games. Ultimately, whether you’re all about speedy clicks of online play or enjoy the real-live banter at a live table, poker remains a game that demands skill, strategy, and adaptation, no matter where you play it.

Author’s Bio:

Editor-in-Chief Simon Li’s richness of experience in the online gambling is unparalleled. This, coupled with his creative writing skills and sharp eye for detail makes him an expert in his field. Whenever he has time to spare, you’ll either find him practicing some sport or planning his next travel destination.


  • Carl Fisher

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