Thanks to the many online poker rooms that we’ve got to choose from, picking up and playing a good old game of cards has never been easier.
But the online card room isn’t exactly the same as the brick-and-mortar casino, the local bar-night game or even the poker set-up in your buddies basement.
Sure, there’s the chance to play against those that you might otherwise never get a chance to, but you may be missing out on the in-person social experience that the game is great for. The characters that you meet, the experiences that you’ll have and the free drinks to indulge just aren’t quite the same when playing online.
It’s not that online poker is worse than the in-person game, far from it. It’s just a different experience, so naturally, there’s a number of pros and cons worth considering when playing online poker when compared to the traditional game.
Pros of online poker
We’ll start off with the pros of online poker, partially because it’s always better to begin with the good news, but also because I genuinely believe that there’s more pros than cons to the online game.
Play anytime, anywhere
First off, one of the biggest benefits of playing poker online is the availability of different games, no matter where you are or what time it may be.
Waiting around for the weekly poker night, traveling long distances and having to stay overnight at casino resorts and meticulously organizing trips is a thing of the past with online poker rooms.
Instead of waiting days or even weeks for your next game, you can play whenever it may suit you with 24/7 capability. You can even watch poker whenever you feel like it thanks to Twitch streamers showing off their game at all hours of the day.
Plenty of poker rooms now come with a mobile application so it’s no longer a case of lugging a laptop around if you fancy a game on the go. Just install from the app store and you’ll be away and playing in no time at all.
It’s never been easier to kill time at work, on the bus or at that family event that you just really didn’t want to go to.
Play multiple games at once
One of the biggest criticisms of playing poker is that it can be quite a slow game, especially when you’re not playing in person.
Thankfully, when you’ve got the option to play multiple games at once, you can seemingly quicken the pace with more than one game on the go. It doesn’t only make the game a little more exciting but gives the opportunity for the better players to make some serious bank.
For the pro players, an online game might give them the chance to win some big bucks if they’re playing a single game and that’s a pretty good gig. You can work from home, don’t need anything other than a laptop and an internet connection, etc. But as soon as you factor in that the figure can be multiplied by the number of games that they’re playing, it becomes one of the best gigs around.
It’s no wonder so many of the good players opt for the online game.
Claim bonuses and benefit from loyalty schemes
If there’s one thing that you just can’t beat the online game for, it’s the bonuses and benefits available from the online poker providers.
Adrian Sireca, of OnlineCasinoGems, is all for the bonuses that we’re seeing flooding the web, stating: “With deposit bonuses, new player promotions and loyalty schemes all available to take advantage of, it’s almost a wonder how the brick-and-mortar casinos manage to keep the doors open.”
With so many bonuses and benefits, it’s hard to compete with the digital game.
Cons of online poker
However, nothing’s ever perfect. Look hard enough and you’ll be able to find cons in the most perfect of things.
Although there may not be a huge number of negatives surrounding the online game of poker, there’s a couple to consider before signing up and opting for the virtual felt.
More difficult to read players
One of the bigger cons of online games is the ability to read the players that you’re up against in any given game.
Where in a traditional game it might be easier to watch for a player’s tells, make judgments on body language and conversation, it is much more difficult when playing online. With just the betting patterns to pay attention to, alongside the odd comment in the chat box, it can be difficult.
Of course, notes can be made about the players to give the best chance of pattern recognization, but for the most part, it’s more difficult than the in-person game.
Easier to become distracted
If you’ve ever tried to work from home then you’re likely to find the exact same situation when playing cards – it can be so easy to become distracted.
If things aren’t going your way, you’re not in the mood or if the games aren’t moving at a pace that keeps you interested, it’s way too easy to zone out and become preoccupied with just about anything else around the house. Maybe you end up turning on the TV, listening to music, filing your nails, building a card house, anything – if it’s not playing the game, it’s detrimental to it.
This might not be a huge problem for players who play for fun, but for those in it for the win (which, as this article shows, it’s quite a lot of people), it can be a tricky beast to master.
Headphones tend to work pretty well for immersing yourself in the game, but there’s plenty of other strategies that can be used to keep your head level.
Something worth considering if you’ve got a habit of losing interest quickly.
To cut a long story short
There we have it, just some of the pros and cons to consider when playing online poker.
The development of the digital poker room is one of the most important in recent history for the progression of the game, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to happen to it. Yes, there may now be the ability to play anywhere, anytime and with anybody, but with difficult to read players in an easily distracting environment, it might not be for everyone (check out this article on how to really improve your game).
There’s no clear cut answer as to whether or not online poker is better than the physical alternative, instead, the best advice is to give it a go yourself and see whether or not the online game is for you.
You never know, it might be what you’ve been missing from your regular poker game.