By Kayleigh Alexandra
Poker is now so popular that the PokerStars YouTube channel has more than 600,000 followers, while more than 1.4 million UK people visited a real casino in October 2018. Whether you prefer online poker, the real thing, or have yet to make up your mind, both methods of playing poker have their unique pros and cons. I’ve played plenty of online and real poker, and these are the things I most like/dislike about each of them.
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Pros of online poker in 2019
I hold my hands up: I’m a huge fan of online poker, and love to play it at top-ranked online casinos using poker tools. There are many pros to playing online poker, and some of the ones that are most important to me include:
It’s just so convenient
You can play it on your phone. This means you can gamble while you’re on the move, at your desk during your lunch break, or when you’re sat in an airport – these are all things that I’ve done.
Software helps you to win
Now, there are two main ways that the software available for online poker helps you to win. Firstly, the in-game software will do things like tell you the value of your hand. Secondly, the additional tools you can buy provide data on your opponents. Both give you more information on the game and make it easier for you to win.
Cons of online poker in 2019
It’s not all plain sailing with online poker – there are a couple of cons that some people will be all too aware of.
Can’t read people’s faces
Seeing what people are doing while they bet can be one of the easiest ways of reading them – are they strong or weak? Unfortunately, this isn’t an option in online poker. This means you need to go with your gut a bit more – though, that’s countered somewhat if you use the right software to get data on your opponents.
Not available in all regions
If you’re playing in the U.S. then you’re in one of a select number of states that allow online poker – New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. The U.S. is far from the only country where this is true, but it’s the highest profile example of one of the biggest cons of online poker – you can’t play it everywhere.
Pros of real poker in 2019
There’s really nothing like playing poker in real life, whether at a real casino, or in your own home. Alongside the iconic sights and smells you just don’t get from playing the game online, these are my favorite pros of real poker:
People play looser
Yes, some people play loose online (ultimately, it boils down to the people you’re playing against – not whether the game is real or online). However, my experience is that people really do play looser in real poker.
Whether that’s due to the social side of things, the fact that they feel more comfortable betting real money, or even the bars — I couldn’t say. What I can say, though, is that I see people make crazy bets in person more often than I see them do it online.
Excitement of betting in person
There’s not a lot to say about this pro, simply this: throwing your chips out by hand as you go all-in, then picking them up and holding them in your hands as you collect your winnings, is a lot more exciting than seeing some digital coins come over to your online poker avatar!
Cons of real poker in 2019
Just like online poker, my love of real poker isn’t lessened by the fact that there are some cons to it, too. There aren’t many for me, but these are the two that really bug me:
Gameplay can be slow
Real poker games can crawl by – people might be drinking, they might be new to the game, or they might not be able to keep up with the action.
Online, a lot of this can be addressed by having multiple screens open on your device, so that you don’t notice the time-lag. In real life, time just drags.
Mistakes are seen by real people
While it’s great to see the looks on people’s faces (in person), when you make a great play and win a big pot, the reverse is also true.
We all make silly mistakes when we play poker (even the big time pros), but we don’t like other people witnessing our foolishness. If you’re a little insecure (I still am when I play real poker), then this is the con that will pinch the hardest.
The purists might say that nothing beats a real casino, while the new generation of fans could easily argue that the simple convenience of betting online makes it the best. But do you know that only one thing really matters – whether it’s real or online, playing poker is great! So try it online or offline, and decide which one you get the most out of.