If you ask people to name a card game, the vast majority of people will default to Poker. That’s not surprising in the slightest! Like Blackjack, Poker is a game of skill. Yet, it adds additional elements when facing off against other players. It’s not enough to just know the combinations. You can’t learn all your strategy off a cheat sheet. Poker demands your full attention.
Unlike at other games, at Poker, fooling other players is a key part of the gameplay. There’s a reason poker face is such a widespread term in our culture. Any hint of emotion, any tell, and you’re giving away information to your opponents. So while it may seem like this debate is over before it even began, there are some factors to consider.
Online Poker: Convenience and Control
Relegating everything to a random number generator may not seem that fun at first. Still, it is a fantastic way to learn the game. If you’ve never played Poker, a few hours on the virtual version will do you wonders to remember the various card combinations. Some of the experience is lost in translation since it’s just you and the machine playing. But once you master one aspect of the game, you can move on to the live dealer version.
Another boon to playing the regular, online version is the fact you have full control over each round. Are you in a hurry and only have time for a few hands? You don’t have to wait for others to make their moves, allowing you to maximize your precious gambling time! Need to take a two-hour break because of a real-life emergency? No need to drop the table and hope you’ll have a spot when you come back. The same round will be there waiting for you.
Convenience also plays a factor, though live dealer poker has been eroding that advantage with time. Nowadays, both versions of Poker give you the option to play on your phone or tablet, allowing you to gamble on the go. But you will still occasionally run into the problem of not having space on a live dealer table. An issue that simply does not exist for online, RNG-operated Poker.
This type of Poker also tends to allow for cheaper stakes. Live dealer poker tends to be more expensive due to the additional costs that come with that setup. The software provider has to ensure a stable live stream setup, and they have to pay employees. When everything is handled by computer, the costs of each poker round can be significantly lowered.
Live Dealer Poker: Atmosphere and Experience
One aspect of live dealer poker that its online variant cannot deliver on is the experience of playing against other players. Sure, you could implement AI players, and they would eventually learn how to bluff. But any experienced gambler could dance around those rudimentary bots. It’s far easier just to seek out other players, and engage in a thrilling battle of wits and nerves. An experience only live dealer poker provides.
And since you’re playing against other gamblers, you can also interact with them and the dealer. You’ll see players commenting on hands, friendly rivalries being created, and even friendships blooming if people really hit it off. If you’re a poker regular, odds are you’re going to start recognizing names. You’ll chat about your previous rounds, and how this time, you’re going to sweep the table.
In recent years, live dealer poker seems to have taken over as far as Poker variants go. For the most part, both online and live dealer poker mainly revolve around Texas Hold’Em and Caribbean Stud. But if you’re looking to spice things up, then live dealer is definitely the way to go. Releases like Three Card Poker and Hi-Lo are much more fun with a live dealer instead of a computer.
Live dealer poker has a higher upfront cost, but it also offers more significant profit. Playing against a computer is a great way to hone your skill. But occasionally, you’ll enter a table where you outclass every other gambler and are able to cruise your way to victory. If the casino you’re with allows for multi-table play, you can also get around the long waiting times that live dealer poker has to suffer through.
As you can see, this debate isn’t nearly as one-sided as it might first seem. Both online and live dealer poker still have their place on the market. And while some advantages online Poker has will eventually be solved, others cannot. You will never be able to hog a spot on a live dealer table for two hours due to a real-life emergency. Not if you want to play against other players, at any rate.
That said, we still think live dealer poker will be the way to go moving forward. We have already seen developers go around issues of the limited number of seats at tables by making poker games where an unlimited number of gamblers can play against a dealer. These innovations will only continue, improving the live dealer poker experience.
So while it’s not time to say goodbye to online Poker just yet, it will continue to shrink in popularity as time goes on. By the time VR becomes mainstream, we can see online Poker becoming a niche, rather than a proper competitor to live dealer poker as it is now. So pick the perfect casino, and get started on your live dealer journey!