There are some big differences between playing poker online and going into a casino or club to play – and even if you excel at one, it does not necessarily mean you will do well at the other.
The major difference playing online is the anonymity that you enjoy at the computer screen. You can be playing under a pseudonym, as somebody of a different sex, or as a cartoon character – nobody will be watching you for signs of body language, and you can even play in your pyjamas if you so desire.
You can decide to chat, or to ignore everybody else around you, and there is a great amount of choice in the games, stakes and levels of competition that you have the opportunity to play in. When playing online, you have to compensate for not being able to discern other players´ body language by focusing on betting patterns, speed of play, reaction time and other factors which are not physical in nature.
Another noticeable difference online is the speed at which the hands are played. The shuffling of the pack and dealing of the cards is instant, whereas at a bricks and mortar poker club this is all done manually. Because of this and other delays, like counting out chips for example, playing poker in a club is much slower. You may only see twenty to thirty hands played an hour live, but online it is closer to ninety!
There are also influencing factors in the way you may have to play because of considerations such as higher stake limits. If you are used to playing for $0.10/$0.20 online and go into a casino, you may discover that the minimum table limits are ten times as much ($1/$2) and this could affect the way you approach the game.
If you feel that you are playing at a level way above your comfort zone, this is going to inhibit your betting action. Also at a casino (or club), you cannot multi-table!
The reverse is true for people who are used to playing in clubs and then start playing from home. There is a certain amount of bonhomie in the clubs that you will rarely experience online. Furthermore, online players at $1/$2 levels are fairly well advanced- you will find very few people walking in “off the street” who play at this level, and so the standard is much higher than you may have expected.
The game is much faster – particularly between hands – and you will be playing people who will be looking out for your betting patterns and preferred actions, so you need to be conscious of varying your game more than you normally would. With three times as many hands per hour, your tendencies are going to be three times more obvious!
Even though it is the same game, playing online or at a casino can be worlds apart – although equally enjoyable and potentially rewarding.