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Online Poker vs Live Poker: The Ultimate Guide

by Jovan • May 15, 2021
online poker vs live poker

The perpetual debate about the quality of online and land-based casino games also concerns poker lovers. Many players prefer playing with a real-life dealer, while others swear on the powers of online poker. So, which side do you belong to when it comes to online poker vs live poker? Are you an old-schooler who believes that poker is a social affair and nothing beats direct eye contact when playing? Or do you embrace new technologies and feel that it’s time to take the next step and evolve the game?

Either way, wait with deciding til you go through this comprehensive overview. We created the best online poker guide and listed the differences between the playing methods. Therefore, let’s cut to the chase.

Eight Quick Facts About Poker

  • Live poker comes with real-life dealers and sessions from land-based casinos or studios.
  • Online poker rooms offer more variants of the game than live dealer sections.
  • Live poker tables typically have a higher rake than online poker.
  • On average, live dealer poker tables go through 30 hands per hour.
  • Online poker is fast-paced and automated, resulting in hundreds of hands per hour.
  • Live poker rooms provide a chat option for player interaction.
  • Multiway pots are more frequent at live dealer tables than in online poker.
  • Online poker is more accessible and more convenient than live poker.

The Basics of Poker: Live vs Online

Poker comes in thousands of flavours, with the pots ranging from a few pennies at a family table up to millions of pounds at pro tournaments. Likewise, we can play poker on various devices, from laptops to smartphones and tablets. Also, we differentiate between online poker and live dealer poker games.

Later on, we’ll explain the differences between these playing methods and the benefits of each. For now, it’s crucial to understand that the battle between online poker vs live poker doesn’t affect the fundamentals of the game. The rules remain the same no matter how you play, and the same goes for chip values and similar elements.

In most areas, live dealer games and online casino games overlap. Poker is no exception, and although the differences might seem tangible, they remain at the surface level. Before we explain what they are and how they can affect your winnings, let’s revisit the basics and see how you can play live poker at UK online casinos.

How To Play Poker Live

As expected, it all starts with finding a reliable and legitimate casino. In general, every operator licensed by the Great Britain Gambling Commission or the Malta and Gibraltar authorities comes into contention. After that, head over to the live gaming section and look for suitable live poker tables.

Of course, also visit the Cashier and deposit some funds. Then, choose a table and join the dealer and other players. For those wanting to know how to play live poker for the first time, we should mention that the chat feature can help with many problems. You can use it to interact with other players and communicate with the croupier.

In essence, live poker mimics the experience of playing in a brick-and-mortar venue. Highly trained dealers will lead the game, i.e., deal the cards, handle the chips and shuffle the deck. Your only job is to follow the gameplay and click the commands displayed on the screen. When the software prompts you to place a bet, select the amount you wish to wager.

How To Play Poker Online: Guide To the Basics

Unlike live dealer games, online poker is entirely virtual. In other words, the software acts as the dealer, so there’s no friendly banter with the croupier. In most cases, the interface will have you looking at the table from above.

That said, players should always take the time to familiarise themselves with the layout and the commands. Then, consult an online poker strategy guide for more information on how to win at an online poker table.

Online poker games follow the basic poker rules, depending on the type of poker. In any case, you’ll be able to select the stake and then raise, fold, or hold, if needed. Also, many players use tracking tools and other poker software to improve their win ratio. Bonuses and other promotions can also affect the experience of playing online poker on the best UK casino sites.

Transitioning from Online to Live Poker

As a rule of thumb, live poker is less competitive than online poker. For that reason, most online poker players can transfer to live dealer games with no hassle. Of course, most casinos provide both types, with online poker offering a variety of options. From Texas Hold’em and Omaha to Seven-Card Stud and Five-Card Draw, UK online casinos have everything.

So, if you want to switch from live dealer tables to online poker, you can do it with only a few clicks. That said, it’s essential to learn as much as possible about live poker vs online poker differences and similarities.

By doing so, you’ll get a better understanding of how poker players behave in each setting. This knowledge can prove valuable when making in-game decisions. After all, poker is a game of skill. Luck can play a role, but your calls and bluffs should have the final say.

Speaking about the characteristics of each poker playing method, we should now compare their primary aspects.

The Difference Between Online Poker and Live Poker

Poker’s exciting nature should shine through no matter which playing method you choose. Yet, the peculiarities of online and live poker could affect the enjoyment. Therefore, it’s best to know everything about them before visiting an online casino.

Game Availability

As we already said, online poker offers a wide variety of poker types, providing players with more options than live dealer tables. For instance, you only need to learn how to play live Hold’em poker and jump straight into the action. Online poker is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Conversely, live poker tables at some casinos are only available during peak hours. Plus, a free seat might not be accessible at every moment. Likewise, live poker tournaments are not on the menu all year round.

Speed of Play

Having a real-life dealer at the poker table is both a blessing and a curse. Many players enjoy chatting with croupiers, but the dealer will inevitably slow down the game. For beginners and those learning how to play live poker, slow-paced games can be an ideal setting.

However, many players opt for fact-paced online poker because the software instantly performs the dealer’s duties. Chip counting, card dealing, and deck shuffling are all time-consuming, and online poker software takes care of these activities within milliseconds.

Social Interaction

We already mentioned the handy chat feature acting as a communications method at online poker tables. Yet, most players agree that live poker wins the points for interactivity in the online poker vs live poker debate.

Of course, live poker in the online gambling realm is no match for poker at land-based venues in this sense. You cannot see other players and look for physical or verbal reads that could give away precious pieces of information. Even so, a bit of banter with a friendly croupier can go a long way in making your poker sessions enjoyable. When playing online poker, you’re all on your own.

Bet Sizing

One of the most prominent differences between online poker and live poker revolves around the pre-flop opening. Online poker typically features more pre-flop play than live dealer poker.

Also, players in live poker rooms are more likely to call big blinds, even amounts 5x or 6x the big blind. Online poker lovers move to another table if they don’t like their opening hands. For that reason, they worry more about their funds and rarely risk much during pre-flop.

Online Poker vs Live: Which One Is Better?

No matter if it’s virtual or real, poker is an electrifying card game with dynamic gameplay and a decent return rate. Admittedly, the profits depend on the player’s skill level, and you will need to invest time and effort to have a shot at life-changing winnings.

As you could’ve seen from our guide, both methods of playing poker have their pros and cons. Namely, online poker offers faster gameplay, with three times more hands per hour, but the competition is more demanding. Online poker is also more convenient and more accessible than live poker.

Of course, the other side has certain advantages in the debate regarding online poker vs live poker. For instance, live poker is more interactive and more social than online poker. Also, novice players have better winning chances when playing at a real dealer poker table.

Therefore, it all comes down to personal preferences. After all, many elements of these poker playing methods overlap, and the basics remain the same, no matter where you play.