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Live vs Online Poker

Hey Guys,

God knows I love clicking buttons while sitting in my favorite undies on my cushioned chair, reclining all the way back, laptop connected to a big 32 inch monitor and the wireless keyboard and mouse at close access. Sometimes I just press 'Sit Out', do a few stretches, wander around the house, give my girlfriend a kiss, eat a biscuit, feed the neighbor's dogs and then come right back where I left and click on 'I'm Back'. 

This is the beauty of online poker. The freedom and flexibility it affords, is second to none. And this is why I prefer this format. 

But there's something to be said about LIVE Poker too.

The feel of the chips in your hands, seeing a big bluff go through, showing your hand to rub it in your opponent's faces, owning souls, banter, drinking - you have to agree, it is a lot of fun.

Before I got into online poker, I played LIVE. That is where my love affair with poker started. 

So, how do you decide which format to play?

Ideally, I'd recommend doing a balance of both, and then picking one as your preferred choice. But, maybe, we can help you out a bit. Here is a list of pros and cons.



  • More hands per hours - The hands are dealt faster and you can play on multiple tables at the same time. This means more action, and a lot more fun.
  • Wider games to choose from - Let's say you don't like the table you are on. It is filled with strong players and you don't want to mess with them. Usually, there will be a lot of tables to choose from. You can just hop on to another one. There is a wider selection of games too - Texas Hold'em, PLO or Tournaments.
  • Cons
  • Can get boring sometimes - Clicking buttons on a computer screen all day, with no one to interact with can get dull. Your senses don't get stimulated as much as they would,in a LIVE setting.
  • You can't read people - If you are the kind of person who relies on reading people, you are at a loss online. People are hidden behind their screen names and all their emotions are invisible to you.



  • Entertaining - As I mentioned earlier, playing live is a lot more fun. You are talking to people, moving about, and it being a social setting makes it an enjoyable experience.
  • Make friends - Taking cue from the point above, poker tables are a good place to make new friends. Most people are out to have a good time (and make money) and it is a good etiquette to make some light conversation.
  • Reading people is easier - Not everyone has a good poker face. So, if you are a good reader of people, your chances of winning big are higher.


  • Slow - It can be grueling at times. An average hand can range anywhere from 1 min to even 10 minutes. The number of hands you play becomes very less. Whereas online, it is common to play an average of 40 hands per hour.
  • Long hours - This follows from the point above. Since the number of hands/hr are less, you need to play for longer to be able to make a meaningful session.

I know this might confuse you a bit, but the key is to play both forms and then decide.

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Mayank Jain

Mayank Jain is a guest writer who plays poker for a living. He writes at on mindfulness, travel and art, among other things.