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5 Key differences between live and online poker

Quite a few players are making a transition from online to live poker or vice versa at some point. Some people just want to enjoy the social aspect of the game during regular games, others just want to play more hand thus going online. It is important to understand though that there are quite a few differences between your regular casino games and online poker rooms. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones.


When playing online you are forced to rely on your HUD statistics, table dynamics and sometimes quickness of a decision. The beauty of live poker is that you can actually make use of your live reading skills and it is probably the single most important skill in live poker.

live poker


Playing a 6-max table online might easily yield you close to 100 hands per hour, now open 8 tables and you are grinding at the pace of 800 hands per hour. That’s massive, but when you enter a casino you are forced to play one table at a time and cards are also dealt by a real dealer which will limit you to about 40 hands per hour. It’s important to learn and use this free time to pick up tells by other players.

A lot of that lost hourly income due to the slower pace of a live poker game will be compensated by softer games. Lowest limits in casinos usually start at $1/$2, while online poker rooms are offering tables at NL2($0.01/$0.02). That means that all the recreational, drunk and clueless players will be forced to play much higher stakes than they would online, this results in $1/$2 live games being comparable in skill level to NL10 online.

Family pots

Soft live games usually tend to be loose-passive with a lot of limping also. You will find yourself in multiway pots postflop much more often than you would online. That means that your premium hands preflop will frequently be cracked after the community cards come, learning to adapt and play these multiway pots is something one needs to learn before making a transition to regular games.

Stack sizes

Another noticeable difference is stack sizes. Most online poker rooms will limit new players on the table to 100 Big Blinds while casinos will gladly accept players buying in for 300BB. Stacking off with your pocket queens preflop doesn’t look so great anymore while playing that deep. On the other hand, deep stacks in regular games gives a player much more freedom and maneuverability post flop.

So here are the main differences between live and online poker. Just make sure to adapt yourself to these changes before you decide to make the jump to either arena. This way, you’ll be able to take advantage of the pros and cons of each system and maximize your profits.

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