We don’t exactly know when poker came to be. Some say it’s a derivative of a Persian card game called As-Nas. Others believe it to be related to a French game called poque, which was widely played in the regions where poker started to spring up. What’s not in doubt is that poker in its current form began in the United States around the turn of the 20th century and that it’s continued to enjoy huge popularity and success in both online and land-based casinos ever since. Poker is a hugely popular and beloved game; it combines the best parts of chance-based play, strategy, and observation into a tense, unpredictable ride where anything could happen.
Since the advent of online casinos in the 1990s, while poker hasn’t completely moved online, it certainly has enjoyed a renaissance in this area. Online poker is arguably a different game to land-based poker; it doesn’t rely quite as much on observing your fellow players because you can’t see their faces, which removes a certain element from the game that some players love. Still, it’s a hugely popular game online, and there must be a good reason for that. We’re going to examine whether poker is better online than it is in real life by listing some of the pros and cons of both. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the differences (and some of the similarities).
Online poker offers a better choice
While you could theoretically go anywhere you wanted for poker tables that offered different buy-ins and different bonuses, online poker is definitely a better proposition if what you’re after is choice. After all, you can choose whatever poker platform or variant you want online without needing to go outside. Sites like www.casimba.com offer lots of ways to enjoy poker and play with some of the best players in the world, while physical poker tables are by definition much less numerous. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any choice when it comes to physical poker; rather, that online poker is simply more varied by its nature.
Live poker is all about observation
The term “poker face” comes from the game and refers to someone who’s able to look at their hand and not betray what cards it contains. When you’re playing live poker, your ability to hold a poker face, as well as your ability to identify your opponents’ tells, will prove the difference between winning and losing. While some online platforms may offer the chance to see your opponents, most of them won’t, so online poker becomes much more about the hands themselves and knowing when to make certain moves. If you like the observation aspect of poker – if you enjoy the anthropology component just as much as the game itself – then live poker is probably where you should go.
Online poker has a wide stake range
If you don’t feel like playing for high stakes, the online environment of poker will offer you the chance to buy into a table that’s playing for lower payouts. Live poker environments don’t tend to offer this chance unless they’re composed of friends playing with one another, so if you’re someone who’s very budget-conscious and wants to make sure their bankroll is secure, online poker is probably the option you want to go for. Of course, that doesn’t mean high-stakes play isn’t available online; it is, and if that’s something you’re interested in, then online poker will more than cater for you. Live poker tends to have a much more limited range of stakes than online poker does.
Live poker is more social
During the time of coronavirus, many people are finding ways to host live poker nights remotely. It says a lot that these people aren’t turning to online poker as an alternative. That’s largely because live poker is a social event that can’t be replaced by online poker. While it’s true that many online poker rooms do feature chat rooms that allow players to talk to one another, live poker involves people in the same room (or at least able to see one another) talking and having a good time, and that experience can’t be replicated by online alternatives. If the social element of poker is important to you, then that’s an itch online poker will never be able to scratch.
Online poker offers the chance to multi-table
Are you good at multitasking? Science suggests that this fabled skill is actually a myth and that, despite anecdotal evidence to the contrary, true multitasking is impossible. That doesn’t stop people from effectively being able to “multi-table” in online poker, which is to say playing at multiple tables at once. If you think you can keep up with this insanely fast-paced and complex method of play, then there’s nothing stopping you from doing it, but this is basically impossible at a live poker venue. If multi-table play is interesting to you, then online poker will be your platform of choice. You could try doing so at a live venue, but you’ll quickly find yourself overwhelmed.
Live poker has better atmosphere
There is no atmosphere with online poker except that which you create yourself. Though some online poker games can be very immersive indeed, live poker in a casino environment – or even in a dusty basement with a few friends – undeniably has more charm to it than its online cousin. If the ambiance of playing poker is a crucial part of the game, then online poker will never be able to step up to that particular plate. Watching friends make mistakes or dominate the table while jazz music softly plays in the background is an unparalleled feeling – and trust us, there’s no better musical accompaniment to poker. Online poker feels just a little less immersive by comparison.
In the end, it’s impossible to answer whether online poker is better than live poker. They both have distinct advantages and disadvantages. If money is the bottom line, online poker provides more options, but if it’s all about the ambiance, live wins every time.