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Live Poker vs. Online Poker: 14 Differences to Consider!

Last Updated on January 7, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

Smartphone with online poker table, online casino

Is online poker any different to live poker? If you have played poker before, it is easy to see that in many ways, live poker and online poker are very similar. After all, whether you are playing online or in a casino, poker is poker. Many people neglect to realize that there are quite a few differences in the experience of playing poker online and live.

We already know that poker is different online than it is to live play in a casino. But, why is it important to know the differences between online poker and live poker? This type of information is most valuable to players who want to switch between live poker and online poker. If you are serious about upping your poker playing skills and wins, you are going to want to know as much as possible about the game. 

While essentially the game is the same, it is the more subtle differences in the environment and type of play that make it seem like quite a different game. So, where does that leave you if you want to switch between the two – or at least enjoy both options? If you want to familiarize yourself with exactly how online poker and live poker are different, read through the 14 differences below.

Four Aces Vintage Playing Cards

These are 14 differences between live poker and online poker:

1. Live poker is a real-life experience, whereas online poker is a virtual experience.

What does it mean when we say that online poker is a virtual experience and not a real-life experience? It is quite simple, really. When playing poker online, you do not get to sit face to face with anyone that you are playing with. Online poker, which is strictly a virtual experience, removes the live and physical elements from the situation. Online poker is like playing alone, except you are not. 

European Poker Tour - Sports Poker Championship
Iurii Osadchi /

2. Players tend to bet bigger in live games.

Online games offer players the option of lower openings, which are sometimes as low as 2 times the big blind. Conversely, in live poker games, players will usually open for around 5 or 6 times the big blind

3. Live poker allows players to note opponent tells, whereas online poker does not.

A big part of good old fashioned poker was staring your opponent down and coolly noting their facial expressions, gestures, and other body languages. By observing someone, a player can pick up on tells that can determine when someone is bluffing or looking a bit nervous with their hand. While live casino games offer the opportunity to pick up on player tells, online poker games do not. Players have to play “blind” in that there is no way of truly observing the physical behavior of a player.

4. Online poker offers more convenience than casino live poker.

If you choose to play live poker in a casino, you will have to get dressed, travel to the casino, and find a table to play. It is an occasion, not just something you can do in your spare time. 

Online poker games offer far more convenience in that you can play any time of the day or night in your pajamas. You don’t have to drive anywhere, and because you will not encounter anyone else, you don’t have to make yourself presentable by any means. To think, you could win thousands of dollars while sitting in your pajamas! 

woman going to play online casino from the couch

5. Live poker is a much slower game than online poker.

The speed of play is one of the most significant differences between online poker and live poker in a casino. Live poker is considerably slower than online poker for several reasons:

  • Decks are shuffled, and cards are dealt manually.
  • Chips need to be manually tallied, unlike online poker, where it is automatic and instantaneous.
  • There are more social interactions, as well as distractions during live poker games.

6. There is more variety with online poker than live poker.

Even the biggest casinos in the world can’t offer anywhere near the same amount of game variety as online poker sites can. In the online world, there is a wide range of poker game types to choose from.

7. Live poker is a more social game than online poker.

Online poker does not offer the same opportunity for players to socialize as live poker games do. When attending a casino, there is activity around you and people to connect and converse with. Online poker does offer chat rooms for players to chat online, but this is very rarely used for social purposes.

8. Online players have more access to online tools and resources.

An online poker player can constantly update her skills and knowledge by making use of various online tutorials and resources. While playing online poker, players can look up issues and worries that they have in real-time. Having said that, players in a live poker game do not have the same opportunity and, therefore, need to develop more skills naturally through trial and error.

Pokerstars software open on a notebook
rafastockbr /

9. Live players can’t take advantage of tracking software as online players do.

Live poker players can only really improve their skills by playing, whereas online players can take it a step further. By understanding where you are going wrong, you can work on your actual poker playing skills. There are various tracking software suites available for online poker players. This type of software allows players to track and analyze their game and make the needed improvements.

10. Live poker provides an entertaining, authentic experience.

Playing poker online does offer an element of entertainment, but it is not something that you can really enjoy with family or friends in the same room. Playing poker at a casino provides more of an experience. It is something that you can share with other people who are close to you and actually make a night or day of it.

11. Online players are tighter and more aggressive than loose live poker players.

You might notice a difference in terms of attack and defense strategies when comparing online poker and live poker. You will find that players in a casino are typically looser during lower buy-in levels. Online players, on the other hand, are somewhat tighter and tend to be fairly aggressive players.

12. Live poker games are considered more difficult than online games.

Live poker games require a player to be confident, well-versed and skilled in the game. Online players have time to seek help, learn more, and rely on online resources to assist with play. Best of all, online players do not have to look into the face of others watching on – it allows for a simpler game. 

Young man bet on poker and won an impressive amount of money

13. Unlike live poker, online poker games allow for multi-tabling.

When you play poker online, you can play multiple tables at the same time. This might increases your chances of winning (or losing). Of course, in a casino setting, playing live poker is quite different. Usually, you can only play one table at a time, and your chances of winning are limited to the table you are playing at that moment. 

14. Online poker offers more game availability than live poker.

When you head off to the casino, there is not always a guarantee that you are going to find an open table or even find a game in play. When you are an online poker player, you can play poker at any time of the day or night. Poker games are continuously available, and you will not find yourself watching others play or feeling skeptical about which table to try to play at.

Last Word

As you can see, there are many differences between online poker and live poker that you probably never even considered before. Before you try switching between the two types of poker, make sure that you are aware of the differences and how they might affect your game.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.