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live poker

Thanks to the development of the gambling scene online and offline, these days poker enthusiasts face a huge choice when it comes to playing their favoured casino game. Once available only in land-based gambling establishments, poker can now also be played in a virtual environment either as a classic table game or a video poker machine. Each type comes with its own specific features and one may be better suited to your gaming style , bankroll, and even personality. Read through the most important differences between live poker and video poker to see which one could be a better option for you.

Opponents

The first difference comes in the form of your opponents. When participating in a live poker game at a brick-and-mortar casino, there are other leaving & breathing human beings sharing the same table. You'll get to chat with them, exchange stories and jokes, but these guys (ladies included!) are in fact who you're playing against. There is a component of psychology involved as you're trying to judge whether they're holding a potential winning hand or bluffing like a pro. In fact, they very well could be a pro.

When playing video poker, the only opponent you've got is a computer with an algorithm. Some would say it's similar to another gaming machine, namely a slot, but you'll rarely see poker players reacting kindly to this kind of comparison. While slots are mostly about luck, poker always incorporates a certain amount of skill and strategic play. 

Choice of Games and Betting Limits

It's inevitable that the choice of games in a virtual gaming environment would be much bigger than in any single land-based casino. This is, of course, due to space limitation (or lack of), as well as costs. Brick-and-mortar casinos have to employ real people to host games, serve drinks, clean up etc, they have to pay for equipment, electricity, heating and the rest, making it a much more costly operation. For them, it doesn't pay to have dozens of different poker games each played at its own dedicated table, and it makes to financial sense to offer numerous low-limit games generating small profits.

The virtual environment, on the other hand, has no such limitations. Theoretically, an online casino could offer an endless amount of poker games without significantly increasing their operating costs. Apart from the server, the only important limitation is the number of variants software developers make available. This is why they'll always be able to offer a bigger choice when it comes to different poker games, as well as a wider range of betting limits and more low-limit variations. 

Complexity

As mentioned above, the outcome of a poker game significantly depends on a player's skill. Using strategy (and using correctly!) will, in the long run, decide whether you win or lose. However, things are a bit simpler if you're playing video poker rather than a live game. In most cases the only decisions you’ll need to make are how much to bet and which of the 5 cards dealt to keep. Playing at a live table will involve multiple betting decisions while trying to guess what your opponents are thinking. You could say that, in terms of difficulty, video poker vs live poker is kind of like attending high school vs going to the university.

Gaming Environment

Clearly, in one case you're playing solo from a place where you feel at home (since that's where you're usually at), and in the other in a more or less formal venue filled with people. Now, while some players thrive in this kind of environment and are eager to engage in a conversation, others feel intimidated by the live scene either because they're beginners or are naturally shy. If you're new at this game, it's very likely you'll feel far more comfortable facing the screen of your desktop rather than looking into the eyes of a live dealer and sitting next to more experienced opponents. Either way, video poker, as online casino games in general, can be an excellent way to learn the rules and sharpen your skills. You are free to pause and think for as long as you like, and even use a cheat sheet when needed – something which you might find kind of embarrassing when seated at a live table. An added bonus is you'll never have to wait for a seat to become available; video poker game can be played literary whenever you feel like it. 

Bluffing

Bluffing is a wonderful element of poker and makes the game twice as exciting. Along with being well familiar with the rules and strategies, bluffing and correctly reading your opponents' bluffs is crucial when playing a live game. On one hand, it gives you a chance to win even when holding the poorest hand of all, but on the other, it could make you fold your pair of Queens to a poker-faced opponent  holding a 2 and a 9 off-suit. Since there are actually no opponents in video poker game, bluffing becomes irrelevant. The only that counts are your cards and how they compare to combinations listed on a paytable. You may find this to be a downside, since you need a qualifying combo to win, or see it as a benefit because you can't lose as long as you're holding one.

You'll find several other differences once you move from an online gaming venue to a „real“ land-based casino – such as, for instance, tipping of the dealer. In any case, if you're yet to learn the basics of the game, it's smart to start playing a simpler variant which involves a lower risk. Feel free to learn by using one of numerous video poker games offered at Springbok Casino.