What Are The Biggest Differences Between Online and Live Poker In 2023?

Both online and live poker have their own unique attributes, presenting players with distinct challenges and opportunities. Online poker unfolds in the digital arena, marked by rapid gameplay, anonymity, and an abundance of resources. In contrast, live poker embraces the traditional, face-to-face setting, characterized by the intrigue of physical tells, a more deliberate pace, and the art of interpersonal interactions.


If I had to choose three words to describe live and online games I would use the following:


Live Poker: Loose/Passive/Inelastic

Online Poker: Tight/Aggressive/Elastic


Still, live and online poker are essentially the same game with live having an extra element of information: the ability to look at your opponents to get more information. 


As a player that specializes in making conclusions based on information on my opponents and making exploitative plays, my preference is for live because I immediately start with a lot of information. I still play online, but not nearly as much as I used to for the above reasons.


Here, we’ll look at the biggest differences between online and live poker and my thoughts on each:.

Online Poker:

Convenience and Availability:

Online poker’s convenience is a significant advantage for a professional player. The ability to log in from anywhere and at any time means that I can fit my poker sessions around my schedule. This flexibility allows me to strike a better work-life balance and optimize my playing hours for peak performance.


Game Variety and Stakes:

Online platforms offer an extensive array of games and stakes, catering to every player’s preference and skill level. I have the freedom to select games that align with my strengths, whether it’s high-stakes cash games, multi-table tournaments, or specialized variants like Pot Limit Omaha or mixed games.


Multi-Tabling and Volume:

As a seasoned online player, multi-tabling is one of my strengths. I can efficiently manage multiple tables, maximizing my volume and potential for profit. However, it requires immense concentration and a well-developed ability to make swift, accurate decisions across several games simultaneously. I as I am a new Dad, this is becoming more challenging to do at home!


Access to Resources:

The wealth of online resources is a big resource for reviewing my play and I regularly analyze my hand histories. This continuous learning process helps me refine my skills and stay ahead of the competition.


Anonymity and Reduced Physical Tells

While physical tells add depth to live poker, the anonymity of online play creates a level playing field for everyone. My focus shifts to analyzing patterns, bet sizing, and timing tells from digital cues. 

Live Poker:

Interpersonal Interaction:

Live poker’s allure lies in the human interactions and social dynamics at the table. I enjoy the challenge of reading opponents’ physical tells and engaging in psychological warfare. I use my own table presence strategically, disguising my emotions and manipulating my opponents’ perceptions to gain an edge.


Physical Tells and Psychological Play:

Reading physical tells is an art that requires experience and keen observation. I’ve spent countless hours refining my ability to detect microexpressions, body language, and betting patterns in live opponents. This skill provides invaluable insights into their thought processes and assists in making well-informed decisions.


Slower Pace and Reflection:

Live poker’s slower tempo allows me to immerse myself fully in each hand and thoroughly consider my options. It fosters a more deliberate and thoughtful approach, enabling me to analyze the complexities of the game deeply. I try to always have my phone on airplane mode to focus on the game and pick up information about my opponents. Doing this will put you ahead of the majority of players that are always on their phones when they are not in the hand.


Limited Distractions:

Playing live poker eliminates the distractions present in online environments. My focus remains solely on the game, my opponents, and the dynamics at the table, leading to more precise decision-making. Once again, phone on airplane mode!


Personalized Player Pool:

Playing in local card rooms means encountering familiar faces regularly. I’ve built relationships with regular opponents, allowing me to devise tailored strategies for each player’s tendencies. This intimate knowledge gives me a strategic edge in capitalizing on their weaknesses.

Wrapping It Up:

 The choice between online poker and live poker for a professional player depends on personal preferences, strengths, and goals. Online poker offers flexibility, game variety, and a wealth of resources, while live poker provides the excitement of interpersonal dynamics and the opportunity to read physical tells. 


I enjoy both formats, recognizing that my adaptability and versatility in different environments contribute to my overall success as a poker player but I will always prefer the live arena due to being able to get more information from my opponents and exploit them.

-Chance Kornuth

P.S. CLC’s “The Closer” course by myself and Alex Foxen will show you how to close tournaments and win a bracelet. For a limited time only, it is discounted from $1999 to $897! 

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