In a world flooded with games ranging from the super casual world of phone titles to the hardcore online arena of the likes of League of Legends, poker remains a favourite of millions of players the world over. It’s stood the test of time for a reason – it perfectly blends strategy, tactics, skill and chance into a game of high drama. The growth of online poker has only boosted its appeal, making it more accessible and convenient than ever. Here are six reasons why:
Huge sections of our population are now gamers whether they identify that way or not – from the most hardened Fortnite veteran to a casual Candy Crush player idling away time on a bus, almost anyone who has a phone is used to playing games that mix elements of skill and chance (never mind those dedicated PC and console players).
It’s not a big switch to go from there to one of the older modern games of skill and chance. Poker has proven time and again to be an amazing blend of strategy, skill and luck. Throw in the use of real money and, for those who can afford it and play responsibly, it offers a frisson of risk and real stakes that elevates the drama of the game beyond the virtual stakes of conventional video games.
The cash barrier to entry is lower
So, assuming you like gaming of one sort or another and you think that poker might be your game, there are several factors that might make playing online more appealing than going to a live game. One bald fact of the matter is that live poker almost always costs more.
There’s a pretty good chance that just to sit in on a live game you’ll need to pull together between $300 and $500, and that’s just the start. A solid bankroll for $1/$2 live No Limit, which is about as low as many areas in the States offer, is in the region of $4000.
Your $500 will go a lot further online – it will get you a lot more buy-ins for 25nl in a virtual room.
This might sound like a no-brainer, but the fact is that playing online poker is simply more convenient than going to a poker room. Naturally, there are times when you want to head out to a poker room and look an opponent in the eye, but much of the time it’s easier to play from the comfort of your laptop or phone. Clothing optional!
When you play online, you’re playing with an incredible resource already at your fingertips. Obviously, the internet is the single greatest repository of information that humanity has ever produced. Checking in on online tools during a live game isn’t necessarily the fairest way to play, but it’s an option. And you certainly get the opportunity to reflect on the game you just played, consult your favourite site or even duck out for a spot of training if you uncover a flaw in your playing. Live poker offers none of that.
Online play helps you take your game to the next level
Hands down, one of the best ways to improve your game is to play with a crowd of other poker players operating somewhere around your level. Having that circle of peers to knock ideas around with and discuss past hands and mistakes with is an incredible tool for growth.
In live poker circles, however, there’s a lot of bad information floating around – things that are just accepted as a given or that other players are afraid to challenge. That can lead to taking misleading ‘conventional wisdom’ as fact.
As we all know, people are more than happy to point out flaws in someone’s thinking online…
The potential size of the games
There is, of course, a question of scale. There are practical concerns that limit how many players you can have in a single poker tournament taking place in physical space. They don’t apply online. Sure, there are constraints relating to bandwidth and server capacity, but they’re on a different order of magnitude to those faced by physical locations.
The record for the biggest ever poker game was set in 2013 when a tournament based out of Onchan, Isle of Man, back in 2013. An incredible 225,000 players took part in that tournament, something that would be simply inconceivable in physical space. It might still not be quite the same as the glamour of a cigar smoke-filled Las Vegas casino from the 1950s, but online can offer a sense of scale and occasion that can’t be matched in the world of bricks and mortar poker rooms.
Of course, online poker is never going to make the old school, bricks and mortar version go away, but between its convenience, lower stakes and greater potential for learning it offers plenty of benefits overhauling your way to the casino.