Five Reasons Why Online Poker Beats Live Poker
Which is better – live or online poker? Plenty of opinions exist on both sides of the argument.
Live poker has been around much longer, of course. The modern era of the game, however, starting with the “poker boom” of the mid 2000s, was fueled by the introduction of online poker, and has produced a generation of players who prefer online poker to its live counterpart.
The following is a list of five reasons why online poker is superior to live:
- Speed of Play
- More Games/Variety
- Lower Stakes
- Ease of Use
- Hand Histories
Speed of Play
A typical live, full ring poker game will deal around 25-30 hands per hour. Short-term variance takes a lot longer to overcome.
Cash game players will have to play many more hours of live poker, compared to its online counterpart, in order to realize their true win rate. Live tournament players might not ever be able to play enough tournaments to outrun the high-variance nature of multi-table tournaments (MTTs).
Online poker gets to the long run far more quickly. A typical full-ring online poker game will yield 60-80 hands per hour, and for a six-max game some sites can deal upwards of 90 hands per hour.
Those numbers are just for a single table. Online poker allows for multi-tabling, and an adept multi-tabling player can reach hundreds of hands per hour and thousands per day.
For sites that offer fast fold poker, like PokerStars Zoom and partypoker fastforward, these hand per hour numbers go even higher.
At any live poker room, you’re limited to the cash game variants that the property is offering at the time and bound to that room’s tournament schedule.
Online poker has more of everything, including a much larger number of overall cash games and tournaments running throughout the day.
Cash game options include full ring, six-max, and (on some sites) fast fold poker, while tournaments allow the opportunity to play turbo structures, rebuy/add-on tournaments, in large fields with big guaranteed prize pools, or smaller fields.
Online poker is also where to find games like Spin & Go tournaments, in numerous forms.
Even playing at the lowest of stakes offered in a live poker room, you still need a much bigger overall bankroll versus what you’ll need to start out in online poker.
Online cash games start out at NL2, with the blinds at .01/.02, while the smallest stakes tournaments ($5 buy-ins and under) run all day on just about every poker site. By comparison, the smallest stakes cash games at a live poker room will usually be $1/$2 or $1/$3, and tournaments under $50 buy-ins are rarely found.
Because of the availability of microstakes and low stakes cash games and tournaments, online poker is a much better place to start with a smaller bankroll and learn the game. Even a small initial deposit of $100 can get you in the games and keep you there, as long as you’re willing to grind out at the lowest stakes and work your way up.
Ease of Use
Online poker is easier to access than its live counterpart. If you have access to a computer, you can jump into a game whenever you want.
The cash games online are especially fluid, as you can get in for a short session, get some hands in, and get out. If you want to play for an hour, take a two-hour break, and play for another hour, that can be done with ease when you’re playing online poker.
Multi-table tournaments online, like their live counterparts, are more of a time commitment. If MTTs are what you’re looking for, however, you have the luxury of choosing what time you want to start playing, as tournaments run around the clock in the online poker world.
Many poker sites have banned the use of heads-up displays (HUDs), like the ones found with PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager. HUDs are still allowed on some sites though, and are a powerful tool for tracking opponent’s tendencies (and your own) that there’s no equivalent to in the live poker world.
Even if you don’t use HUDs, just about all online poker sites keep a record of all hands played. You can access these hand histories after your sessions and analyze hands you’ve played with every detail of the hands preserved.
With these hand histories at your disposal, you can utilize poker forums, and your own circles of poker friends, to share the details of hands and improve your game.