The Differences Between Live and Online Poker

There are differences in the gameplay and the strategies used in live poker versus its online counterpart. Though poker started as a live game at casino tables sometime in the late nineties, poker only really started gaining popularity online when the internet started becoming more commonplace.

Today, players are spoilt for choice, being able to choose from live games or from the multitude of online poker sites available. In fact, most players would choose to go for both options, though they usually spend more time online due to the convenience. For example, online poker games like Beat The Fish has a good review on Ignition.

Read this article to find out why online poker is getting increasingly popular these days, and more importantly, find out how you can easily cross over from live to online poker and continue to win!

Knowing the differences in strategies is important, and we give a brief outline of the similarities and differences between both types of poker. 

Reasons to Move to Online Poker in 2021

If you’re still hesitating whether to make the move to online poker or not, now’s absolutely the best time for you to do so.

With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing lives to a halt in 2020 at its peak, and with normalcy yet to return even now, online activity has never been more prevalent than ever before. With COVID restrictions meaning that many live events have had to be downsized or cancelled, online poker will be the default option for most players.

This alone should be able to convince you to switch from live poker to online poker. 

In some areas where restrictions are laxer, you may be able to play live poker, but there wouldn’t be as many choices of games available.

Moreover, there may be measures such as having plexiglass dividers at the table or the need for players to wear masks, scarves or other protective face coverings. This would lower your ability to get live reads— a key aspect of playing live. In this case, it makes more sense than to simply play online in the comfort of your own home. 

With the pandemic bringing life as we know it to a screeching halt, it also means that people generally have more time on their hands. This means more new players in the online poker sites, which could translate to an easy win for experienced players.

In early 2020 when the pandemic first hit, major poker sites experienced a surge in the number of new players. Similarly, searches for tips on playing poker for newbies also rose during the same period. 

With increased visitorship to the sites, online poker site operators have upped the number of innovations and functions their sites have.

In 2020, the WPT, WSOP and EPT poker events were held virtually, bringing with them prizes of over $100 million. That is a huge pull factor for online poker. In 2021, the answer is clear—online poker is where the cash lies.

Differences Between Online and Live Poker 

Generally, the rules for Texas Hold’Em poker are the same regardless if played online or live at a casino. The gameplay proceeds clockwise and chips are being bet.

There will also be the option for cash games and poker tournaments, and it is common to have both full-ring or six-max tables. The skills you learnt from playing live such as bluffing, pot odds and range of hand will thus be able to be applied to online games too.

However, minute differences lie in the speed of play, the tells, the level of aggression, the variance of the game and the presence of multiway pots in live games versus heads up in online games. It is crucial that players looking to move online note these differences before they end up losing. 

Speed of Game

At live casinos, there is a human dealer. Obviously, even the best dealer will not be able to be as fast as a computer. Players also need more time to check their cards, count out their chips and read other players. When you play online, however, this changes.

The cards are dealt automatically and chips don’t have to be manually counted and stacked. With time limits in place, decisions must be made in a jiffy.

Owing to the increased speed of play, players can easily average 100 hands in an hour compared to only 30 if they choose to play live. Because of this, online players usually get experienced a lot quicker than players who only play live games.

Live games are usually seen as a social game that moves slower and is hence easier, whereas online players play quickly and the gameplay is thus harder. 

The Ability to Multi-Table

Unless you were a pro, you likely wouldn’t have multi-tabled at live events. Even then, multi-tabling in live events was neither efficient nor was it effective since it meant having to give up time at one table. This changes when you play online poker.

The software was designed with multi-tabling in mind, allowing players to tile or stack tables. This means more hands played per hour. At the same time, this also means that the ratio of strong to weak players can be thrown off when players who are strong multi-table. It is hence more difficult to find mid-high stakes tables with many weak players. 

Physical Tells vs Timing Tells

In live poker games, a large part of the game was sizing up opponents by observing their behaviour and looking at their eye movements.

This remains true even today, where players try to read their opponent’s body language. In online poker, however, this is obviously not possible. Instead, you would have to consider hand ranges, the probability of the hands held by each player and game theory.

Certain sites do have webcam functions available so that players can view each other. However that’s still a novelty and often, players are unable to have a good physical read anyway.


Regardless of live poker or online poker, players have the same goal— get your opponent to fold, or to have the best hand during the final showdown. To do so, watch your opponents by studying their habits.


Now that we’ve laid out the differences for you, the decision lies in your hands. However, you really won’t know if you like online poker until you try it, and there’s no better time than now to give it a go! 

Partnership Officer at Study Abroad Nations | See My Other Articles

Study Abroad Nations.We have written hundreds of guides that have helped millions of students across the globe. You can connect with us anytime through any of our social media platforms or via email.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.