It’s a well-known fact that for many years, live poker players poured scorn on their online counterparts. They believed that online poker rooms were only a place where people who couldn’t play the game went to pretend to be poker players. Of course, that proved to be false, with online poker a booming industry and the favored practice the ground of many of the world’s leading pros.
But here comes the question: Is online poker better than the real thing? Does playing in your PJs beat sitting in a smoky casino? Before we answer that question, let’s bust a few myths about the online game.
It’s Not Worth It
There are those that reckon that online poker is less rewarding than live poker, and all we need to do is take a look at some of the biggest online poker wins to see that this is false. Back as far as 2009, Patrik Antonius and Viktor “Isildur1” Blom played for a pot of $1.3 million, and there have been countless stories of online poker players with career winnings numbering in the millions. In fact, Antonius himself has amassed over $17 million in online poker earnings. So, yeah, we guess it’s not worth it.
You Need to be Able to Read Your Opponent
Some people feel that poker is all about the “tells” or those physical habits that allow you to judge an opponent’s intentions. While these can at times be quite obvious, you’d need to be a master in reading body language for it to make any difference to your live poker playing. In online poker, you only have to pay more attention to what’s happening on the table, as opposed to the players’ facial expressions. That makes it much easier to analyze the cards and work out what your chances are for each hand.
You Get More Bad Hands Online
This one comes from the belief that when algorithms try to be random, they aren’t random at all. In other words, you end up getting more bad hands as the platform tries not to repeat previous winning hands. That isn’t true at all, as developers work tirelessly to ensure that there is no bias in the dealing of cards. This one is almost as ridiculous as the Sheng Long mystery character in Street Fighter.
Online Poker is All About Luck
Eh, no, it most certainly is not. Try telling that to Chris Moneymaker, the online poker grinder who not only qualified for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) through an online satellite but went on to win the Main Event. Online poker, just like live poker, is all about practice and effort.
Why Online Poker is the Real Deal?
You Can Play in Your PJs
Okay, we mentioned it earlier, so let’s get this one out of the way right off the bat. Yes, you can play online poker in your PJs, your underwear or even in the bath. While this may not be that big of a deal for many, there are those who feel it’s an integral part of online poker grinding. Why is that? We’re not sure but to each their own.
You Get Better Promotions
Now, we’re not talking about a free soda or a lunch voucher that you’ll find in live casinos. Nope, we’re talking poker promotions that offer you real cash bonuses. Who wants 20 percent off a burger in the casino restaurant when you can get actual money instead? No one, that’s who. Online poker platforms are incredible when it comes to promos and bonuses, so if you’re looking to sign up with one, make sure to check out who has the best bonus for new members.
You head into a live casino, and there may be a few tables with games ongoing. Chances are, you’ll have to wait to get a game, and even at that, it might not be what you want. In online poker, the opportunities are endless. Most poker platforms have thousands of players online at one time and hundreds of tables to choose. Not feeling the vibe at one table, move onto another. Best of all, you get to choose what type of poker you play, whether it’s Texas Hold ‘em or Omaha Hi-Lo.
No Death Stares
Okay, so, this is a big one for many people. You see, there are tons of players who are pretty good at poker but who can’t handle the pressure of playing in front of others. Doing it online is fine, but when you have a 50-year-old guy giving you the death stare across a casino poker table, it feels a little different.
Taking Breaks is Easier
Online poker gives you the opportunity to play in comfort, knowing that you can stop whenever you want. Play for an hour, take a break, play some Mario and then get back to it. Live casinos are a bit different in that the only way you can take a break is to play another casino game or watch a dodgy cabaret show.
It Levels the Playing Field
Live casinos are expensive, and for some, they’re so far away that they’re not even an option. Online poker levels the playing field by making the game available to anyone with an internet connection. Even if you only have a bankroll of a few dollars, you’ll find a poker room somewhere online where you can enjoy a game.
As you can see, there are many reasons to play online poker. From anonymity to the ability to choose your game and budget, online poker has that much to offer that we’re wondering how live casinos are even open anymore. Okay, we’re not that naïve. Live casinos are a great place to enjoy a night out, but online poker offers so much more. So, in answer to our original question “Is online poker better than the real thing?” we’d have to say, yes, it is. After all, who doesn’t want to play in their PJs?
Anthony is the Owner for Culture of Gaming and he spends his days studying, gaming and working on the site.
Anthony has worked for the past 7 years in the Video Game journalism industry and has worked for over 30 different sites in that time.