Online Poker vs Live Poker in 2021

When discussing online poker vs live poker, it looks like it’s pretty much the same to the average joe. However, while they both offer the same (or similar) services, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. What are their differences? Are you wondering which one might be better suited for you? While the determining factor will come down to which is more convenient for the player, there are other factors that should definitely be considered along with the convenience component.

Senses and atmosphere are also to be considered. Live poker is a night (or day) out. Players have to get ready, drive or cab to the casino, sign up, show ID, wait, and even then, tables can be full or they may not have the game you’re looking to play. There is a more social aspect to physically going out to the casino to play and to gamble, but this can be more of a distraction to some.

Online poker allows the player to control the environment they’re playing in. You can disable any music or sounds that are coming through the site or the app. This gives players the ability to focus solely on the game. With online poker, the sensory and atmosphere is totally in their hands – whatever works best for them. Online poker vs live poker will also have difference costs. To play live, players must factor in food/drinks, gas/transportation, parking, and tipping – this does not include buying chips. With online poker, you can play for real money without the extra cost, keeping some money in the wallet.

online poker vs live poker

The following are some other components to consider when deciding whether to play online or live:

Online Poker Live Poker
Potentially more variants Slower action
Higher variance/swings More post-flop play
More aggressive styles Physical tells and table image
Tougher competition Narrower hand ranges
More pre-flop play Short-term variance
Fast-paced More multiway pots
Multi-tabling is possible Loose-passive players

To break it down simply, it will come down to players preferences on speed, levels, tells, multi-tabling, aggression, variance and multiway pots.

Online Poker vs Live Poker: Why Switch?

The COVID-19 outbreak brought live poker to a screeching halt in 2020 and even now in 2021 it has caused a surge of activity online. Online poker will continue to be the go-to option for many. Based on that alone, it’s worth making the switch. Playing live you may face plexiglass at the table and other inconveniences. How can you get live reads with masks added onto the usual scarves, glasses and hoodies? Live poker has changed and we don’t know when it will get back to normal. So, online play definitely wins here. During the pandemic, traffic spiked across all major poker sites, as well as a massive increase in Google searches.

As a result of all of this, poker operators have really ramped up their innovations, such as moving live poker events online, and prize pools larger than ever seen online.

Online Poker vs Live Poker: Making Adjustments

Switching from online poker to live poker, or vice versa, can be quite the change if the player has played one, but never the other. Below you’ll find necessary adjustments to be aware of when making the transition regarding online poker vs. online poker.

Online Adjustments Live Adjustments
Be prepared to make quicker decisions and make use of tracking software to study opponents, assess hand ranges, bet sizing and previous action. Have the discipline to fold more hands as you get used to the slower pace of play. Use the extra time to study your opponents for patterns that you can take advantage of.
It will take some time to master multi-tabling because players have to split their attention between the games. This will make you a stronger player. If you can pick up on physical reads such as breathing, eye movements, hand movements, etc., you can build your own profile on that player the longer you play with them.
The biggest online tell is timing – a quick check-raise is usually a sign of strength, tanking before a call is likely weak. Make loose-passive plays part of your strategy at the live tables.
Play strong hands and raise when you do. Tight-aggressive play style will exploit the weaker players. You can have a bigger win rate in love games vs the high dollar per hour online.

Frequently Asked Questions


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