While you play the same game whether you are playing online or in a brick and mortar casino, there are significant differences in how the games run and how players must adjust their play depending on whether they are online or offline. Knowing how to deal with these differences is imperative, especially for a player just starting to play online after playing live poker or vice versa.
The first and most obvious difference between live and online play is that you cannot physically see your opponent in online play. This greatly reduces the number of available tells, so players must pay even more attention to their opponentsâ€™ betting patterns and style of play. Every piece of available information must be captured in order to make a proper decision. While this is still true in live play, there is more information to be processed so there will be less damage suffered if one piece of information is missed.
Another big difference between live and online play is the potential for distraction. When a player is sitting at their computer in the comforts of their home it becomes very easy to be distracted. For instance, a player may take a break to get food and drink or possibly be watching a baseball game on the TV. Because of this potential for distraction the playerâ€™s play may suffer if they do not pay enough attention to the poker game. This can also be true if a player is multi-tabling and cannot handle the pace of the different games in which he or she is playing. Lack of attention will always bring negative results in the long run, so players must make sure they are dedicating enough of their mental faculties to the game.
The next difference is probably the most fundamental difference between online and offline play: There is no dealer, no physical cards to be dealt, and no physical chips to be counted, stacked, and moved. This speeds up the game immensely, meaning more hands are dealt per hour than would occur in a live game. Players enjoy this as more hands means more potential profits. More hands also means more potential losses, a fact some players find out the hard way. With how comfortable playing online can be, some players become tempted to play more hands, or play out of position, simply because it doesnâ€™t feel as real as holding the cards in their hands does. It is imperative that players do not make changes to their hand selection and playing style simple because their playing online. Switching up oneâ€™s play should be done once a player has identified their opponentsâ€™ styles and foibles. Play style should not be switched simple because one is playing online.
The last difference weâ€™ll discuss is simply the selection of games that is available online. For a lot of people going to the casino is not an attractive option, as the casino could be too far away or the selection of games could be limited. This is a non-issue in online play as you can find almost any poker game available in the various online poker rooms, with constantly running tournaments and attractive cash games.
Many players prefer to play in casinos, but it may not always be convenient to do so. Online poker thrives for the simple reason that it is convenient. One just needs to be careful to play solid poker wherever they go.