Poker in itself is a game widely celebrated across the globe for its fun, exciting, and sociable nature. Over the last two decades, enthusiasts of the budding sport have grown extensively in number, making the game as popular as ever. Record-breaking events for both the live and online poker scenes have sprouted left and right in the last couple of years, revealing an exceptional turnout in major tournaments and a buzzing poker market.
When live poker was reaching new heights, the unexpected 2020 pandemic put a pause on all plans and shifted the focus back onto the online field. The online poker boom was met with huge success, giving players a necessary outlet amid the pandemic. A significant increase in traffic was recorded across the majority of the platforms, enabling leading sites such as Natural8 to benefit from the situation and extend their hold on the worldwide player pool. Running as part of GGPoker Network, Natural8 provides access to the third highest-ranking online poker traffic and currently stands to be the largest online poker room in Asia.
Many live poker enthusiasts find themselves new to the world of online poker and in much need of advice to jumpstart their online gaming journey. While both variants of the game essentially play under the same set of rules, live and online poker games are mainly distinguished for their wide range of differences. Players who are accustomed to one may not necessarily excel in the other. Taking chances and exploring both fields help amateurs, who have yet to find their way, get an idea of which scene best fits their style. For years, the poker community has been debating on the issue of which is more superior to the other. Expectedly, opinions on the matter vary widely depending on the player in question. Players new to either the world of live or online poker are welcome to refer to the key factors listed below for reference.
Speed of Play
The number of hands a player encounters in a span of a session differs greatly between the two poker scenes. In live poker, players are limited to one table at a time, thus restricting the number of hands and the pace of gameplay. In an average live game, a player averages 25-30 hands per hour, whereas online sessions can range to hundreds of hands per hour, depending on how many tables the player is capable of engaging with.
Similar to the speed of play, games for live poker are limited to one variant and one stake level. With the option of multi-tabling in online poker, players are allowed to sit in as many tables of their choosing with the option of playing a variety of games simultaneously. Natural8 alone provides a wide array of cash game tables with classic favorites such as Texas Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha available on the regular basis. Specialty games such as Short Deck, All-In or Fold, Rush & Cash, Spin & Gold, and Flip & Go are also equally interesting additions to the site’s roster of signature offerings. Additionally, casino games, including live dealer games, are available around the clock for players looking for a different kind of entertainment.
Live poker promotes a more viable social setting for players looking for that fun interaction and banter across the tables. Although features such as avatar reactions and live chat have improved its overall social aspect, online poker still takes on a more lonesome role in comparison to that of its live equivalent. On a side note, players who appear uncomfortable in live games relish the fact that they are able to hide behind their virtual screens and protect their gameplay from any potential read.
Many, if not all, find the level of competition in online poker to be more difficult than in live games. Online poker players have access to strategy tools and data essentially inapplicable to live players. Leading platform Natural8, for example, has a great indicator of your opponent’s tendencies with the player’s current VPIP (voluntarily put money in pot) percentage put on display. Smart HUD, as it is called, shows an illustration of the player’s current run in four different levels. This gives the player a chance to look back and take note of his opponent’s approach while building a strategy to combat different styles of gameplay.
However, in a live setting, in order to gather information on their opponents, players are more inclined to stay tuned and pay attention even when not engaged in a hand.
Also, the lowest stakes in live poker rooms are much higher than that available on online platforms. Beginners in live poker rooms do not have much choice but to sit at these tables, whereas recreational players online can sit at tables for a fraction of the costs.
Rakeback and Promotions
Online poker typically also allows players to earn rake backs and exclusive promotions, which are now staples among major platforms. New users, especially, are entitled to a sweet package of bonuses after making their first deposits. Natural8, for one, welcomes new individuals with special promotions that are worth up to $1,599, such as the 200% Match Bonus, freerolls, and new challenges, thus giving them an anticipated boost in building their bankrolls.
Rakeback is also another plus generally unavailable to those players who are focused on the live scene. While minimal in value, the extra dollars, which essentially add up in value over time, may mean an extra buy-in for a cash game session or a second bullet for a major tournament. Natural8 again boasts of an excellent Fish Buffet rewards program that lets players earn up to 60% in average cashback as they play.
While there are certainly a number of differences between both poker scenes, players are encouraged to do their own research prior to making their own conclusions. As with many situations, both fields offer a series of advantages and disadvantages that could play in one’s favor.
Generally, with its lower stakes, endless action, and large opportunities for improvement, online poker seems to be a more sensible choice for players new to the game.
With a fairly easy way to get started, not to mention its user-friendly software, beatable games, and the overall excellent gaming experience, it is no wonder recreational players highly favor the reputable platform Natural8.