Love to play poker? Learn about some of the major differences between poker online in New Jersey versus poker in a live casino in Atlantic City.
Years ago, it seemed like online poker and live poker were two completely different worlds. There were pros in each group, but they basically ignored each other and only played within their own realms. Live pros might have tried online poker and done poorly, or online pros might have shown up at live games and struggled with table etiquette.
Today, there’s plenty of overlap, with many top players going both online and onto the casino floor to play poker. For that reason, many casinos in New Jersey offer both live tables and online poker games for anyone to try.
While online and live poker players aren’t so drastically different from each other anymore, there are still some distinct contrasts in how each form of poker can play out. Here, we talk about some of the major differences between poker online in New Jersey versus poker in a live casino in Atlantic City.
The Pacing Is Way Different
If you’re old hat at online poker, then you’re used to playing at several tables at once and being able to play hundreds of hands per hour. With live games, however, you’re limited to just the one table you are physically sitting at. This immediately shrinks the number of hands you can play per hour but also really slows down the pace.
Well, part of it is that live dealers have to take the time to shuffle and deal out the cards, collect chips, and distribute winnings. Another aspect is that live players enjoy being at the table and might want to be more social — laughing, chatting, and otherwise taking their time. This would be especially true at lower-stakes tables where people are playing more for fun than for big winnings.
Online Poker Is More Flexible and Convenient
Instead of having to get dressed up, go out, and figure out how to get home if you’ve had too many cocktails like you would at a live poker game, online poker lets you play at any time of day (or night) in your sweatpants.
While most live poker rooms will have their games during the evenings with their heaviest traffic on the weekends, you can find good traffic in almost any online poker room no matter what time of day. Since you’re playing with people from across different global time zones, you’re bound to find some players ready to go when your own schedule allows it.
You’ll See Opponents’ Tells in Live Poker
Anyone who’s watched a movie that features poker has heard about “tells” — like if someone taps their fingers on the table when they’re bluffing. This may sound like a Hollywood embellishment, but plenty of people have their own tells that you can read at a live table, if you’re patient enough to keep an eye out for them.
While you shouldn’t rely on only reading other people’s tells as your main strategy, you can still get a sense of whether an opponent is acting confident or might be a little nervous.
Online Poker Has Wider Game Selections
If you’re going to a live casino, you have to stick with the particular styles of poker they offer. In Atlantic City casinos like the Tropicana, you’ll see games like Three Card Poker or Caribbean Stud, or you can find Texas Hold’em and PLO at Golden Nugget. But if you enjoy a more esoteric style of poker, you might not be able to find it in a brick-and-mortar casino.
When it comes to New Jersey online poker, though, you’ll see a wider array of poker offerings, including Omaha Hi/Lo, Seven Card Stud, Razz, Pai Gow, and more.
The Rake Tends To Be Higher in Live Games
When dealing with games like roulette or slots, the casino has a built-in advantage called the house edge. This is usually a few percentage points, and it guarantees that, over a period of time, the casino will make money even if the occasional player hits it big.
But poker is a different animal. Whether you’re playing live or online, you’re not playing against the house — you’re playing against other players. So instead, the casino makes its money for hosting a poker table or tournament by taking the rake, which is the percentage of money that a casino keeps from cash pots or tournament entry fees.
In live poker rooms, you can see the rake vary from 5% all the way up to the rare 10%, with the rake being capped at $5 to $10 per hand. Meanwhile, online poker tends to see a 3.5% to 5% rake with no cap or a cap so high that it’s basically ineffectual. So if you win big, you’ll see more of the winnings hit your account in an online game than you would in a live game.
Variance Can Feel Different
Just like with slots, poker has variance — in other words, you can experience some “swings” in your luck. Higher variance means larger gains and losses over the short term in comparison to your results over longer periods.
When you’re playing poker online, that faster pace of play ends up affecting what the “short term” is for you. You could easily play 100 hands of online poker in a week, and that volume can help you feel like your variance evens out better in online play.
Meanwhile, the slower pace of a live poker game can translate to the feeling of having a more brutal variance. The math hasn’t changed in terms of how many wins you’ve had versus total hands played. But the fact that it takes you far longer to put in the same kind of volume compared to online play makes it feel like a big loss is that much harsher.
In the End, It’s All About Personal Preference
When it comes to playing either New Jersey online poker or live poker in an Atlantic City casino, it all comes down to what you’re most comfortable playing. If you like a faster pace on your own schedule, then playing online is going to be for you. If you’d rather have the social aspect and make a night of it, then live poker is more your speed.
No matter whether you’re playing online or in a live casino, a flush is still a flush, and the skills you have in one format can easily translate to the other. Just keep an eye on your bankroll and brush up on your poker strategy.