Online vs. Live Poker

Article by Jaqueline Quintero
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Last Updated: Feb 19th, 2024 Share On Your Network:

Live and online poker are the same thing, right? A flush will still beat a straight and you need to bluff and focus on your opponent’s tells. Or is it a different thing altogether? Does playing live poker require any different skillset from online poker? Is the online poker player better than his/her live counterpart or vice versa?
This is a debate that has dominated the gambling industry since the induction of online poker in the 90s. While it isn’t as fierce these days, as players have tried both sides, some still insist that these two forms of poker are remarkably different and have compared them to chess and checkers.

True to some of the comments, there are several distinguishing factors between the two games. Yet despite these distinguishing factors, the basics remain largely the same. Furthermore, it is not just the game itself that has variations – the overall gaming experience and environment is perhaps the most differentiating factor. Some of these environmental differences directly impact the skills required for each game.

On this page, we compare online poker vs live poker and try to see what sets them apart. We also look at some of the best online poker casinos where players can visit and have an unparalleled experience.

What Are The Skills Necessary For Live And Online Poker?

To start our article today, we are going to look at one of the most outstanding areas where you compare live and online poker. The skills that you need to excel while playing online poker and live poker games. Any experienced player knows that poker is all about skill and not luck as compared to the other online casino games, which mostly rely on the random number generator to determine the outcome.

Skills for Live Poker

  1. In live poker, you must focus on one single game at a time. This is contrary to online poker where you can play multiple games concurrently through multi tabling
  2. While playing live poker, good memory and meticulous mathematics is essential to succeed since there’s no tracking software or computer to help you track the value of your hands
  3. Another important aspect of playing live poker is the ability to read people. Physical cues are body languages that tell you whether a player is bluffing or not. A poker game is usually lost or won by your knack to spot physical tells and cues. Furthermore, the more successful poker player should have an increased sense of emotional intelligence
  4. You just don’t play at any table or spot at the table. To increase your winning chances in poker tournaments and other competitions, you need to find yourself in the most profitable position around the table. It, therefore, means you need to have a proper understanding of the game as well as the seat selection and how they could influence your game. It also goes without saying that mastering the seat change button is key to proceeding far in poker tournaments
  5. To become a successful live poker player, it’s essential you know how to play multiple poker games. Even though the variation of games at online casinos is vastly large, live poker offers multiple different formats that keep the game interesting.

Skills for Online Poker

  1. If you want to excel in online poker, you have to be good at multi-tasking. You need to be able to play multiple tables, keep track of multiple opponents and specialize in at least one online cash game. This is the surest way of making money while playing poker game online. The range of bets is lower in online poker (we’ll look at this shortly), which means you need to play higher volume games to rake in money
  2. While playing online poker, you need to make quick decisions without giving them much thought. You need to train your brain to quickly spot an opportunity as it happens, especially if you are playing multiple tables simultaneously
  3. There’s one advantage that the regular online poker player has over the live one. As an online player, you don’t have the ability to read your opponents. However, thanks to the heads-up display software and other features, you can collect and analyze data on your opponents before the start of the game and during game time. This way, you can easily strategically analyze your opponent through their playing patterns
  4. Lastly, cognitive maturity is crucial if you are to play and manage online poker without losing your money and mind. You are playing multiple players on multiple poker tables. You, therefore, need to keep your emotions in check when you get a bad run as it is usually easier to chase a game and end up losing more money as compared to live poker

What Are The Biggest Differences Between Online Poker and Live Poker?

Now that you’ve known the different skills that live play and online poker players need to have to excel in their respective games, let’s have a comprehensive look at the differences between online and live poker. These are the factors that result in a player developing a largely different and sophisticated set of skills.

The Speed Of Play

The most outstanding difference between live play and online poker is the speed of play. By playing online games, the speed is much faster when compared to live games. This is because, in live games, the deck is usually shuffled manually after every hand is dealt and the chips are manually counted by a dealer. The same isn’t applicable for online poker. The chips are usually instantaneously counted using computer software.
Because of such factors, speed of play in live poker is slightly slower when compared to online poker. Even the fastest game in live poker will only play up to 30 hours an hour, a figure that’s twice as much in online poker.
This fast pace of playing online poker has a huge impact on gameplay and it’s one of the features that online players prefer! Most of the online poker players will struggle to make the change over to the live game as they quickly get bored with the ‘sedentary’ speed at which the game proceeds.

Variety of Games

When it comes to the variety of games, there’s no doubt that the online poker version trumps the live game. Reputable and top-rated online poker sites offer players a wide variety of games. Seven Card Stud, PLO, No-Limit Hold’em and many more games are all readily available at the online casinos and come in different formats. In live poker online, there is only one game, which is played in multiple different formats.
Then there is the choice of poker tournaments and other enormous options that you will hardly see in the live poker games. The latter category falls short when it comes to competing with tens of games offered by online poker casinos.

The Use of Poker Strategy Software and Tools

Online poker was introduced at a time when technology was evolving and it, therefore, makes sense that computers operate the games. The result is that most of the players online use strategy tools and the much detested HUD’s to get an edge over other players and also make the hard decisions. This software and other strategy tools are usually not available to live poker games. This is why most new poker players shy away from playing live casino games and would rather play live poker online.

Physical Tells and Cues

As we’ve already mentioned above, those playing online poker games rely mostly on strategy software and tools to ‘read’ and predict the next move. Their live poker counterparts use their carefully honed intuition to assess their opponents. This can be done in two ways:
The first is to watch the player’s play and analyze their behaviour
The other way is to rely on the physical tells and cues in their body language. This can easily give away a player’s game
In live poker, you have to be much more in tune with your emotional intelligence and opponents skills to stand a chance of winning.

Range Of Stakes

You will find more people playing online poker nowadays than ever before, thanks to the fact that there’s a wide range of bets to fit all sorts of budgets. This means that you don’t have to break the bank in order to enjoy a game of poker. At the time of writing this, you can play for as little as £0.01 and participate in poker tournaments with as little as £1. Even though there are high stakes poker games for those who would like to have a seat with high rollers, online poker games have a little something for every player’s budget.
Live poker games on the other hand are very much limited as far as stakes are concerned. Lower stakes are usually not common with most of the games requiring you to spend at least £1 per game.


It is not a factor that will affect the overall skills of players from either online poker or live poker. However, it does impact how long or how much you can play. Most online poker players prefer to play the game from the comfort of their houses or can simply do so during their free time. This literally means they have distinctly long hours of practising, playing, perfecting their skill and winning.
Live play doesn’t give its players the option to quickly start a game or enter a tournament at the touch of their fingertips. If you want to play the game, you’ll have to visit a poker room at the land-based casino. You will have to plan the trip, know the dress code at the casino, and also prepare financially. This limits the time you have to play and slimmer opportunities for making money. So at the end of the day, playing at the online poker site is downright more convenient to play poker games.

Online vs Live Poker FAQ

Which Is The Best Poker Casino Online?

The best poker casino online is one that is licensed, regulated and offers exemplary services to its patrons. The casino should also have a stellar reputation among casino players and review sites. It should have a wide range of payment options, which makes it easy to move money in and out of the account. In terms of accessibility, the casino should be playable on both mobile and PC platforms too.

Are There Any Bonuses For Poker Players?

There are several bonuses that poker players can take advantage of. New players can take advantage of the welcome bonus offer. Returning players can enjoy a reload bonus, cashback bonus, VIP bonus among many other offers. You can use all these bonuses to play real money games and win real cash.

Can I Play Live Poker Games For Free?

One of the shortcomings of live games is the lack of the free to play options. Whether you are playing live online games or simply the live games at the land-based casinos, you cannot play for free. This is because of the costs associated with running the live poker rooms. Casinos have to pay the dealers, software providers responsible for streaming the services and the rent for the space where the live games are played.

How Much Money Can I Win Playing Poker?

How much you can win depends on the cash games and poker rooms you are playing in. However, on average you can win from as little as £1 to millions of pounds. One of the online poker games with huge rewards is the World Series of Poker, which is usually played annually.

Is It Legal To Play Poker Online In The UK?

Yes, it is 100% legal to play poker online in the UK. The UK Gambling Commission has several laws and regulations put in place to ensure poker play remain safe. It also has laws to protect online players from the harms of rogue online casino gaming.

Who Qualifies To Play Poker At An Online Casino?

Anyone who has attained the legal age of 18 years can start playing online game. To ensure everyone is of legal age, online and live casinos require you to produce a copy of your government-issued ID. At the poker sites, if you fail to produce this or fail to pass the KYC verification process, you will not be able to withdraw your winnings.

Play The Best Free Poker Games Online Today!

When you place online poker vs live poker, there’s a distinguishing factor that there is a huge difference, which has resulted in players coming up with a variety of skills and styles of play. However, there are plenty of factors that bind these two forms of playing poker and it’s good to see that more and more players are venturing into both sides. However, despite the difference between online poker and live poker, the speed and convenience of the former remain to be one of the reasons why more people will continue to explore it. And as technology advances, one factor is clear, online play is the future. Sign up at the recommended sites, play online poker using the bonuses on offer and see if it is your lucky day to walk away a winner!

Jaqueline Author

Jaqueline Quintero


Always positive, always full of energy and with a very professional approach Jaqueline is one of our best i-gaming writers. With her years of experience she is always able to create unique and over the top content for our website visitors.

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