And although it's true that when I play I almost exclusively play live, I've still logged on for more than my share of online poker throughout the years and come to appreciate some of its strong points.
These are the top things I miss while playing live poker. If you could integrate all of these into the live world, without taking away any of the other aspects I love about it, life would be perfect.
Unfortunately, with most of these factors, that's just not possible.
5) Comfort. The most obvious advantage to playing poker online is being in the comfort of your own home - or in whomever's home you happen to reside. I don't know of a single cardroom in the world in which you're allowed to play exclusively in your underwear.
You don't have to dress up, do your hair, put on your best shirt or even shower. Familiar surroundings can be worth far more than table service, even if the ones serving the tables are ridiculously cute.
When you're in your own house, you only have your own rules to follow. Last call comes when you open your last beer, not a minute sooner.
4) Sit-and-Gos. If you like to play tournaments and/or sit-and-gos, online poker is the obvious favorite. Most live poker rooms don't run sit-and-gos at all, or if they do, they do so infrequently.
When it comes to large tournaments, live poker rooms will often offer smaller daily events, with occasional scheduled larger tournaments.
The frequency of the tournaments in live rooms varies from room to room, but there is simply no way for a live room to match the number of tournaments being run by any online poker room.
Online, you get a choice of limit, tournament type and even what variation of poker you'd like to have a tournament in. There is always a tournament happening online, almost regardless of the stakes you're looking to play.
On top of all of this, there is no way a live poker room will ever spread microstakes buy-in tournaments; it simply can't happen if they want to make money.
For the price of one live tournament buy-in, you can play dozens more online tourneys of smaller stakes.
3) Multiple Tables. Probably the No. 1 reason online pros choose online over live is the ability to multi-table. If you're good enough to beat the average game of a certain limit, multi-tabling is as useful as cloning an army of yourself to churn out live poker profit.
Winning poker players can reduce their earnings to an hourly rate. After playing enough hands (countless thousands) this average hourly rate will stay almost constant, regardless of any but the most extreme short-term variance
The more you play, the more money you can earn; doubling the number of tables you play at is almost identical to doubling the number of hours you play at a single table.
2) More Hands. On top of being able to play on multiple tables, the hands per hour ratio is typically double on an online table. Since your hourly rate is tied to the number of hands you play, doubling the number of hands you see is the same as playing twice as many hours.
If you took the exact table of players you play online into a live game, you're risking up to a 200% decrease in hourly profit just by seeing less hands - although fortunately for all the live players, live games are typically much more profitable on a straight single-table versus single-table comparison.
This increased profit can be enough to match or exceed the profit gained from the single equivalent online table, but there's no way it can exceed the combined profit from a strong multi-tabler.
1) Bonuses. Live poker rooms either don't give any bonuses, or they give very modest bonuses at best. Many Vegas casinos award players with $1 toward food per every hour they play.
The Mirage gives up to eight players a day a free buffet for four hours of play. Here and there a room will offer some sort of award or another.
None of these come even close to the bonuses and awards offered to players who sign up online, which include hundreds of dollars in free cash, frequent freerolls, and each poker rooms' player reward points on top, which can be redeemed for various prizes, tournament entries and cash.
Don't get me wrong - live poker has its own perks and positive qualities, and I truly love it. But for the five reasons above, I can absolutely understand any poker player who chooses to exclusively be dealt in from home.
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