Online vs. Live Poker – Where Should You Start Playing

Online poker has fast become the most popular way to play the game. Since the first poker sites emerged in the late nineties, they’ve become more accessible and better than ever to use. Today, it’s much easier to choose a poker site, log in and start playing at a table compared to heading out to find a poker room or casino.

The availability and accessibility of poker sites make them the ideal choice, especially for new players. However, some players debate on whether it’s really the best choice if you’re a beginner. The reality is that both types of poker offer their own advantages and disadvantages. What might be good for you may not be as good for another person. For that reason, it’s best to try out both and make your own mind up.

Advantages of Online Play

Online play is the most popular way to enjoy poker, and it’s easy to see why. The main advantage is that it’s easy to get started. All you have to do is choose a poker site, create an account and make a deposit to start playing with real cash. There are normally loads of different poker sites to choose from, and the best part is you can play at any time you like. Unlike a poker room, you won’t have to wait for opening times, and you can always find tables with players online.

For a beginner, being able to play whenever you like is ideal for getting into the game. It’s also a lot less daunting to log in and start playing opponents through a computer as opposed to playing people face to face. For these reasons, online is a great way to learn the game.

Disadvantages of Online Play

Compared to live poker, online play is generally much more competitive. In addition, it’s a lot faster. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. However, if you’re a beginner, slower-paced games are usually better as you’re still learning. The high level of competition is pervasive throughout online poker, even at lower-stakes tables. This makes it much more challenging if you’re new and trying to pick up the rules. 

Advantages of Live Play

The main advantage of live play is that games tend to be far more engaging and often enjoyable too. You’re playing against real people who you can see face to face. This makes it more immersive and adds a social aspect too. If you’re a beginner, you might enjoy the social side of live poker more than playing online against faceless opponents. 

Being able to see your opponents’ faces offers another advantage too. You can read their expressions and body language to find clues about what they might be thinking. In poker, reading your opponents and guessing their next move is an important part of the game. You don’t have as much information when playing online, so this can help if you’re a beginner. 

Live games are also softer in terms of skill level, and the pace is slower too. You won’t be able to play as many hands in a short time, but you will be able to take more time to observe other players and make your decisions. 

Disadvantages of Live Play

The major disadvantage of live games is that they’re less available compared to online poker. You’ll need to find a table at a poker room or casino, and there might not always be players available unless there’s a tournament. Another disadvantage is the lack of bonuses and other offers. Many online poker sites welcome new players with cash bonuses or tournament entries, which you won’t usually get from a land-based casino. Hand ranges in live games tend to be narrower, too. This makes players more likely to fold more often. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on how you play. If you want exciting games, though, it’s normally considered a bad thing if people take fewer risks.