Online poker’s popularity has snowballed over the last decade. Currently, almost everyone knows someone who likes to play online poker. The tremendous popularity of online poker can be attributed to the industry’s aggressive marketing and increased easy internet access around the globe. Today, more than half of all the websites you visit will have advertising from online games, which includes online poker brands. Most of these advertisements try to entice you with big winning prospects of life-changing money.
Whether you are a newbie or an experienced real-life poker player, there is no denying that online poker adverts are almost irresistible. But before you risk it all, it’s vital you understand that there is more to online poker than meets the eye. Well, it’s not all bad as some might have you think; otherwise, millions of players globally wouldn’t be logging in every day. Neither is it all good as, like all things on the internet, there are some downsides. Here’s an in-depth look at the pros and cons of online poker that you should be aware of before you get started.
Pros of Online Poker
Experience unrivalled convenience with online poker. You can play your preferred poker game wherever you are; home, at work, or on holiday. All you need is an internet-enabled device and internet access. You no longer have to dress up and go to a poker room or casino, which takes a lot of time and comes with additional transport costs. With online poker, anytime you have a moment to spare, you can log in to your site of choice and start playing immediately. Isn’t that fantastic?
The best part is that you can game any time, be it morning, evening or midnight, every day of the week, even on holidays. You can be an early bird or a night owl; you can still play online poker. It’s up to you to decide when and where you want to play. You no longer have to deal with schedule restrictions. This might surprise you, but some players have even claimed that the newfound freedom has improved their game.
Access to a Wide Range of Games
Online poker opens up a whole world of game possibilities. Many online poker games are available for you to play; you can always find something interesting. If you are a newbie looking for an easy game to learn, you can always go for Texas Hold’em. For experienced players looking to test their wits, the more strategic Stud and Pot-Limit Omaha are for you. Not to mention, you are the one to select your terms or stakes, be it micro-stakes, mid-stakes, or high-stakes games.
There’s more – you can try various game structures, such as multi-table tournaments or exciting sit-and-go tournaments. With so many choices, finding a game that suits your unique playing skill level, playing style, and bankroll is easy. In case you are feeling super adventurous, you can try playing multiple tables simultaneously to maximize your likelihood of winning big. Maybe you can get to fulfill all the big plans you always make for when you get life-changing money.
More Hands per Hour
You will experience new levels of speed in your poker game with online poker. The games are lightning-fast; thus, you can play more hands per hour than with real-life poker. As an experienced player, it can be really frustrating to wait for slow players to make their moves or for the cards to be dealt by hand in real-life poker. With online poker, you never have to experience this. The cards are automatically shuffled and dealt by the software instantaneously. Therefore, you will learn to make decisions quickly, increasing your skill level over time.
You can try out Cash Poker and Rush version of it if you fancy faster gameplay. In this game format, you will be automatically placed in a new table and provided a new hand immediately after you fold. There is no waiting for the hand to hand, meaning you can play many hands per hour compared to a regular cash game.
Lower Rake and Fees
There are no two ways about it; no one likes to lose their hard-earned cash. Physical casinos are notorious for having high rake and fees in addition to numerous other hidden charges. In the worst cases, you will have paid a noteworthy amount to the casino by the end of your gaming session, whether you lose or win, cutting down your bankroll. Surprise! Surprise! You will be able to keep more of your money with online poker thanks to lower rake and fees in comparison to brick-and-mortar casinos.
Since you won’t lose a significant chunk of your bankroll when playing online poker, you can play longer. Moreover, you can place higher bankrolls for each game, potentially maximizing your winning by taking advantage of various poker rakeback programs, promotions, and jackpots such as Bad Beat Jackpot. It’s not easy to win consistently in poker game, especially against experienced players. For this reason, you want to maximize your loot in case you win the game.
Access to Player Data and Tracking Software
No matter your skill level, there’s always room to get even better with poker. It goes without saying – the better you get, the more games you will win. Online poker software gives you a chance to train yourself and improve your skill level. The training is very effective because you can access your player data, thanks to the in-built tracking software. This means you can analyze your wins and losses to identify areas that need improvement and track your progress through the training.
Moreover, you will have the added advantages of assessing the playing styles of your opponents, detecting patterns, and utilizing your findings to take them down. Advanced online poker tools like PokerTracker 4 or Holdem Manager 3 can let you analyze your hand histories, game stats, and opponent’s tendencies in real-time. Thus, you can gain valuable insights to enhance your decision-making process. It’s akin to having a secret weapon.
Cons of Online Poker
A coin always has two sides – let’s take a look at the downsides next:
Limited Physical Interaction
While online poker is accessible and convenient, it doesn’t offer the physical interaction present in a real-life game. In live games, you and your opponents are next to each other, and you can see who they are. In many cases, players in real-life poker strike a conversation before or during the game, which can help you relax and play to your best level. Moreover, you can read the poker faces and body language to influence your decision-making, increasing your chances of winning.
With online poker, you are unlikely to know your opponents, as many players online use pseudo accounts without real names. There are some operators though that have lately introduced real name accounts at their cash game tables, such as GGPoker.
As a result, it’s impossible to read their body language or poker faces. You can only rely on accessing their playing patterns to influence your decision-making. Many online poker players find this to be challenging. You should know that without seeing the reactions of your opponents, you are missing out on lots of vital information, which can hinder your success.
Lack of Social Interaction
For the longest time, poker has been a social game – that’s until online poker came along. It’s no secret that playing online poker is an excellent way to improve your skills and maximize your winnings. However, it can be a very lonely experience.
There are no congratulatory high-fives and fist bumps for brilliant gameplay and wins. You can also say goodbye to the trash-talking banter that’s ever-present in live games. You can win big, yet no one will congratulate you or console you when you lose.
Playing poker online means giving up on the social aspect of the games. While players in live games often bond with each other thanks to their sharing and some end up forming lasting friendships, playing online can feel very lonely. Therefore, if you wish to make friends and expand your social network through poker, online poker isn’t the right option for you. You will likely be better off mentally playing real-life poker or combining online poker with some live games.
The lack of social interaction is not limited to online poker: Whether players are spinning reels at States where online gambling is legal, Web-Based Wagering Brands in New Zealand and Australia, or some other corner of the world, they all face the same issue.
Players might compensate the lack of social interaction by participating on communities where online poker or slots are discussed. Yet, this doesn’t replace face-to-face interaction with people and this downside shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Risk of Cheating and Collusion
In any competition, there will always be some people looking to gain an unfair advantage over others so that they can win. There have always been cheaters in poker; however, the problem is more rampant in online poker. It’s much harder for players to cheat in live games because every player monitors their opponents closely. However, in online poker, you could be playing against players worldwide. Since each player is by themselves, the less-than-honest players will try to cheat.
Although online poker platforms work hard to discourage collusion and cheating, their efforts aren’t foolproof. Some sneaky players will still try to bend the rules to give themselves an advantage. In the same way expanded internet access has made it easy to play poker online; it has also made it easy for a group of players to collaborate to rig games. While playing online poker, you should stay vigilant and be on the lookout for suspicious activity from your opponent. You can report any opponent you suspect of cheating to the site’s admins.
Risk of Addiction and Problem Gambling
It’s no secret that poker and gambling can be addictive. Some experts say it’s because of the dopamine rush that players get during the game, which they liken to the dopamine rush of some abusing some drugs. Although playing poker is not bad, it can be problematic if a player gets hooked and loses track of their time and money. You likely heard numerous stories of how a gambling addiction sent seemingly good people into a dark path of debt and bankruptcy. Some even lost their jobs and families in the process.
Since online poker is more accessible, the risk of addiction is increased. To avoid messing up your life because of a poker addiction, it’s essential that you play responsibly. Budget your finances and only put your money into online poker after settling all your other financial obligations. If you notice your gambling habits have started becoming concerning, seek professional help for gambling addiction immediately.
Due to the many components involved in facilitating online poker, it’s common to experience technical issues during gameplay. Some online poker platforms have sluggish software, making it difficult to move around and play the game. Additionally, you can experience unexpected disconnections due to internet outages, server overload, and more. Can you imagine how devastating it can feel to be disconnected from a high-stakes game just when you are about to win?
You can avoid most of these technical issues by playing on reputable poker sites that have invested heavily in providing players with a smooth experience. Also, ensure you use a reliable internet service provider (ISP). It’s also vital that you report all technical issues that you experience to the site admins so that they can be resolved and the player experience can get better.
Undoubtedly, online poker is an excellent way to enjoy the game you and hundreds of millions of people globally love from wherever you choose to play. Thanks to the easy accessibility and unmatched convenience of online poker, it’s easy to play a quick game whenever you have little time. You can engage in extended poker sessions when you have a lot of free time. Not to mention, you can access a broad variety of games in online poker rooms, from unique variations like Pai Gow Poker to classics like Texas Hold’em, so you can never get bored.
Although you might miss the physical interaction of real-life tables, you can still play against players from across the world, and it’s possible to make new friends by joining different communities. It’s critical you keep in mind the risks of poker and play responsibly. For the best experience, play in reputable online poker rooms and try to improve your skill level in the process.