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Reading is difficult: Differences between live and online poker

Reading is difficult: Differences between live and online poker

Whether you play poker live in a room, face-to-face with other players, or online via your home computer, laptop, tablet or phone, it’s still the same fun, complex, rewarding and occasionally infuriating game. The cards have the same value, similar tactics can be applied, and sizeable sums of money can be won or lost. But there are also important differences, meaning that while some people prefer online play to live, for others it is vice-versa.

In recent years the two forms of the game have actually become more similar, due to online poker becoming more realistic and interactive. The growing popularity of the online game also means that there is more of a crossover. Experienced live players are more likely to join an online game now than they once were, and online players feel more confident walking into a physical poker room.

Reading your opponent

Of course the presence of more experienced players at the best NJ online casino isn’t necessarily good news for the newbie trying to learn the ropes, especially as it’s hard to tell who is a regular and who is just there for fun when you can’t actually see other players’ faces. This is the major difference between live and online poker: online you can’t see any physical tells, so attempting to read your opponent’s hand is a lot more difficult. But it can be done.

First of all, watch their style of play for a few hands, playing special attention to the actual hand when they throw down. Did they act differently depending on the quality of the hand they were holding? Try to ascertain whether they usually play tight or loose. Once this is established, any variation can be very telling, and can mean a strong or weak hand.

Betting variations

It would seem obvious that if a player places a large bet they have a good hand, but of course they could be bluffing. If they raise pre-flop then check however that’s usually a sign of a weaker hand than they hoped for. Again, look for variations from their usual betting pattern. On most poker sites you’ll find that experienced players often bet more than those just in it for a good time.

Faster moving

Another big difference between live and online poker is that the latter tends to be faster moving, to the extent that some online players find live poker dull and boring. You’ll get to play twice as many hands in an hour online compared to live, and of course you can play at multiple tables simultaneously. As a result you’ll need a bigger bankroll, but at the same time it’s easier to find low-stakes games on the internet than out in the physical world.

In some ways online poker is more challenging than live poker, but it’s also less intimidating and more convenient. You don’t need to be part of a poker-playing circle to get started, just log on to a trusted site any time that suits you. Live poker is arguably more of an art form, but the fast-moving and fun world of online poker is endlessly rewarding for beginners and experts alike.