Online Versus Offline

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Does this look like more fun than playing online?

Many beginners think that playing poker online will prove to be completely different than playing offline and they are sometimes correct, though usually for the wrong reasons.

It's a common notion that it's much harder to read your opponents when you aren't sitting face to face at the felt. What most players fail to recognize, however, is that the majority of information available when making a decision comes from a variety of factors - not just from observing your opponents' facial expressions and physical ticks.

To spot a tell from a player's actions on a hand, and so forth, is often very difficult and not all players display tells. Most of the required information comes from betting patterns, position at the table and observing the hands your opponents play. (For more on this, see the Online Tells article.)

Advantages of Online Poker

The greatest advantages with online poker involve speed and accessibility. Online poker is a lot quicker than offline poker. There is no waiting for the deck to be shuffled. The deals are super quick and no misdeals occur. It takes no time for the rake to be taken out. There is no changing of chips back and forth, no counting of the pot and no waiting for decisions to be made by floor managers.

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Another advantage to online play: avoiding the tantrums of these two.

Another advantage with online play is the option of playing at multiple tables in order to see more action and increase your overall hourly win rate. Also, when playing online, it is always possible to find a game to your liking, and you can play 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world, including from the comfort of your favorite La-Z-Boy. The selection of poker variations and games is also much greater.

Advantages of Live Poker

The major advantage with playing poker live is that it is a social game. Meeting your opponents face to face is significantly more enjoyable and stimulating than sitting alone in front of your computer. You are able to talk to, and get to know, more people. It is easier to remain focused and observe your opponents when you can see them.

As well, your ability to read your opponents is increased since you can see when they are feeling restless, if they are affected by a "bad beat" or if they are in a good/bad mood. In addition, it is easier to remember their actions when you are able to connect them to a living, breathing human. Also, if you are skilled at spotting physical tells in your opponents, you will find more opportunities to do so when playing offline.

All in all, the game will feel more "real" when you have the cards in your hand and the chips are stacked in front of you. Even if you are an experienced online poker player, you may find that you are quite nervous when you play in a live poker room for the first time.

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