How is Live Poker Different than Online Poker?

John Mehaffey - February 26, 2012

There are many differences between live poker and online poker. Besides the obvious differences of one being on a computer and the other in a casino, there are many different variables. They go well beyond being able to look someone in the eye to see if they are bluffing.

One of the major differences between online poker and live poker is that the rake is lower in online poker. Rake is what the house takes out of the pot for providing the game. Most live games take 10% up to $4 or $5 out of a pot. Most online poker rooms use the rake structure 5% up to $3. Lower limit games will often have just a $1 rake cap. In addition to saving rake, a player saves money by not having to tip the dealer.

Another major difference is that online poker rooms offer better promotions to players. This is because players can be tracked down to the exact penny of rake that is paid. An online poker room knows the value of a player. Since they know how much rake a player has paid. This means that they can cater promotions to a player’s needs and play.

While you may not be able to look your player in the eye there are still tells players give off. As you play at online poker rooms, especially smaller rooms, you will get to know the player’s usernames just as you would recognize their face in a brick and mortar poker room. You will know which players are weak, which players bluff a lot, and which players are maniacs. You can also keep notes on these players in the software on each player. That means that if you have not seen the player in a while and they show up at your table again, you will already have an idea of what kind of player they are.

There is a lot to be said about being able to play poker in your own home instead of having to go to a casino to play. Not only are you saving gas by staying home, you do not have to deal with all of the elements of live poker. These include dealing with traffic, finding a parking space, waiting for valet, obnoxious drunks, having to listen to people’s bad beat stories, having to worry about having a lot of money on you, having to wait for what could be hours for a seat, and you do not have to worry about driving home late at night. You are already in the safety of your own home.

While there are advantages to playing live, such as the social element, there are many negative issues that do not occur when playing online poker. Online poker is convenient and can be played any time that you want. You do not have to drive to the poker room, the poker room comes to you. The wait lists online are often only a few minutes and often there are dozens of tables with seats open at any given poker room. We know that most live players enjoy playing online poker more once they get the hang of it.