man playing poker

Poker is a thrilling card game to play.

Whether you play at a live table or online, both have their pros and cons. Some players prefer live because it feels more real. There are real cards, chips, players’ faces and reactions. Other players hate live and find the people at the table obnoxious and the overall game painfully slow. In this article we are going to go over the pros and cons of both formats and see if we can get a better idea of why one format is different than the other.


Online poker

You can sit in an online room almost anywhere and play with people from all over the world. Although there have been online restrictions from country to country, it is still a very global event when you sit down at most poker tables. You also don’t have to spend all that time physically travelling somewhere to play poker. You can play from the comfort of your home on any device of your choosing.


Pros of Online Poker


More Hands Per Hour

Online poker speeds up the whole process of shuffling, dealing and calling on each player when it’s their turn to act. It’s all automated within the poker site’s software.

In a casino you would be lucky to get 20 hands per hour, very lucky. For online poker, on just one table, you are likely to get closer to 60 hands or more per hour. It depends on the site and how many people are sitting at the table, of course. The beauty with online is you don’t have to just sit at one table, you can sit at multiple tables. For example, if you are sitting at 4 tables getting 60 hands per hour on each, you are now getting 240 hands per hour compared to just 20 hands per hour in live. That’s certainly a lot more action!


Larger Selection of Games

For online poker, you will always have more options of different game types in comparison to a casino or live setting. Whether you want to play Texas Hold’Em, Omaha, tournaments or Sit-n-Go’s you are always going to have a greater selection online.

You can pick exactly what stakes you would like to play. You can pick if it’s heads-up, 6max or full-ring. There are so many detailed options that you can specify when playing online. In a casino, you have to play whatever they are running and they only have so many tables, chairs and players that are willing to play certain formats.


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Cons of Online Poker



Online poker rooms don’t have that much chatting going on. Although there is the option to chat, most players aren’t saying much. You will be playing against other players, but there will be some separation or distance. Some people feel that they are just playing another video game with money and not a multiplayer game.


Higher Skill Level

The skill level in online poker games is generally higher. This isn’t always a con if you enjoy the competition, but most players would like to sit in the softest games possible. Sitting in soft games is going to give you the highest win rate and hourly earn possible. For online poker, you are battling against the world. In live poker, you’re just battling against the local guys.



In live poker you get more of an intense experience with every hand. You get to stare down other players and vice versa. Each pot won or lost has more impact and there’s something very satisfying about scooping a pile of chips to yourself.


Pros of Live Poker


More Information

You have more information in live poker than you do in online poker. There are countless physical tells you can gain from your opponents, as well as other external factors. You may get quite familiar with the players you are playing against and can even have detailed information about their life that could give you an opportunity to bluff and make plays.

One example could be you know that this particular player who doesn’t have a lot of money and has mentioned an upcoming holiday. This player is going to be less likely to make many light call downs. Pulling off big bluffs versus this player becomes a lot more profitable. A read like this isn’t really possible in an online setting, because not much talking goes on in online poker.



You are much more likely to receive a professional sponsorship playing live poker. If you run deep into a tournament, poker companies will pay you to wear their clothing. If you do well or even win tournaments, they can sponsor you and put you into other major tournaments with all expenses paid!


Cons of Live Poker


Other Humans

While for some people this might be a pro, there are a lot of cons. Some players might smell bad. They can’t help it… Or maybe they can. If you want to sit at this table, you’re going to have to tolerate it.

Some players will insist on talking to you. This forces you to talk to them, be rude and tell them to stop talking or jam headphones in your ears.


Higher Rake

Live poker cash games and tournaments will generally have a higher amount of rake or fee than their online counterpart. This is because it costs more money to run live poker. The casino has to pay for all the dealers, staff and security. Not to mention the electricity and whatever else it costs to run a casino. This is compensated by higher rake.


To Summarize

To sum it all up, both online and live poker have their benefits. Playing both formats yourself can really give you a better idea of which one you prefer. This article should give you a head-start on which format you might happen to enjoy more.

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