Poker is riding a wave of popularity thanks to major tours and televised games keeping it in the mainstream. Those who want to try poker by gambling online before heading to the casino will find some benefits to this strategy. Here’s a look at some of the advantages of playing poker online versus in a casino.
1. Learning the ropes – Many new players are a bit uneasy about jumping into a live poker game at a casino with a table full of what they may perceive as real poker sharks. Playing online offers a chance to cut through some of those fears. Players can jump in low stakes games for pennies (or even play for free) and get a grasp of the game before moving up in stakes as they feel more comfortable and confident.
2. Easy access – Who likes to wait? A trip to the local casino may require a wait before being seated at a table. When playing online, there is almost always a table available for any bankroll. Joining the action is as simple as a mouse click. Not waiting also means no major gambling temptations like that nearby craps or blackjack table. Save those dollars for poker, where there is some real skill involved. Play your cards right and you may walk away a winner.
3. Tournament time – For players who enjoy tournaments more than cash games, playing online is a delight. Most sites feature constant tournament action with buy-ins of every size, from only a dollar or two up to thousands. Even lower buy-in events offer a chance at a nice score. Some sites also offer major tournament series with some added incentive to take on a big event with a nice payday.
4. No time crunch – Even an average multi-table tournament online may only take a few hours to play. Don’t have that much time? Sit and go tournaments allow you to play a single table of six or nine players or even heads-up. Some tournaments may only feature two or three tables. There are numerous options to suit a player’s mood or preferences.
5. Games offered – While the vast majority of poker games offered at casinos and online tend to be No Limit Texas Hold’em, playing online offers plenty of others. Maybe you’d rather play Omaha or Seven Card Stud. Those options are regularly available, as well as many others. Players also can choose limit, pot limit, and no-limit variants as well as games with a high/low split. Some sites even offer more games like Badugi or Razz. Players looking to try something new have a chance to learn the games at lower stakes.
6. No real table required – One of the great things about playing online is that you can play anywhere. Got some free time while away on business? Pull out that laptop or mobile device and log in for some action. There’s no need for a casino — simply an Internet connection.
7. No smoking, no problems – OK, so this really depends if you smoke or where you’re playing. But beyond smoking, online players don’t have to worry about noisy slot machines, slow cocktail service, or an unruly drunk at the table. Players may be able to chat by typing on screen, but if someone is annoying it’s easy to hit the mute button. And with no dealers at the tables, there are no worries of a misdeal.
8. Few tells – A tell is a physical movement or verbal cue that gives away the strength of a player’s hand. Good players can pick up on these and use them to their advantage. While there are certain online tells poker players can pick up on, for the most part players don’t have to worry too much about giving off tells to opponents.
9. Money management – Players who have booked a trip to a casino may feel more of a need or urge to hit the tables. Despite some losing sessions, it may be hard to get away from that urge. Players at home can easily log off and find something else to do after a losing session. Stepping away from the action may be a bit easier away from the flashing lights and colored chips.
10. Lower rake – Players more accustomed to playing in a casino may notice that the rake, the amount taken by the house for each hand or the fee for playing a tournament, is traditionally lower. Players looking to win consistently not only have to overcome the other players at the table, but the rake going to the house. With lower rake online, players have a better chance to profit.
Whatever your skill level or bankroll, online poker can be a great way to work on your skills, learn the game, have some fun, and hopefully make a few bucks.