The answer to the question depends on several different factors. Are you out to maximize your winnings or is the social element of the game more important to you? Speaking of which, are online poker games softer than their brick & mortar counterparts at all? Today, we’re going to answer all of these questions while providing an insight into the core strengths of them both, thus allowing you to form a conclusion on your own.
For starters, online casinos allow you to do something unique: playing without spending a dime. The only thing that comes close is playing against your friends at home with monopoly money, which is fine as well (but you kind of have to set it all up and invite people over). Sure enough, if you’re already past the learning stages, this will not be a consideration.
Either way, online casinos are synonymous with convenience. Thanks to smartphones, you can carry your favorite casino games in your back-pocket and play them wherever you go, with real or play money. With how varied the games are, there’s entertainment abound, and you can play much more than poker.
Last but not least, if competitive online poker is your main passion, this is a no-brainer. Compared to traditional casinos, you can play multiple tables at the same time (commonly referred to as multi-tabling), which increases the number of hands you’re dealt per hour. If you’re a seasoned vet, it’s an easy way to maximize your earnings, which is something you can’t do offline.
For the die-hard professionals, there are poker HUD tools you can install. Contrary to popular belief, not all of them will get you in trouble (unless they directly suggest the optimal action to take in the game). They will, however, display advanced statistics such as the pre-flop fold percentages, each player’s aggression level, and so forth. A complete beginner won’t be able to make much use of it, but these tools are the bread and butter of an advanced player’s strategy.
Brick & mortar casinos
With these, the obvious benefit is the social aspect. There’s nothing more satisfying than taking down a huge pot and gloating in your opponent’s face. Obviously, you should also do your best to conceal your facial expressions when the round is still young, so other players won’t have the easiest time deciphering your poker face. On the flipside, if you’ve got a knack for reading subtle clues when observing your opponents, playing in a brick & mortar casino might grant you an advantage.
These casinos tend to be more regulated overall, so you can count on them paying you whenever you’re ready to leave and collect your winnings. An online casino might require you to wager the deposited amount 30 times or so beforehand.
You’ll also be able to enjoy the fact that offline poker games that are 100% fair due to how regulated they are. Without proper research, you never know that the online casino you’re playing at is not rigged in any way, which feels refreshing. The downside is that, unlike online casinos, it’s harder to judge how soft the games will be before joining, unless you have enough spare time to watch the players do their thing from a distance.
The bottom line is, there are no right or wrong answers here. It depends on what you’re after. From a purely competitive viewpoint, the best course of action, therefore, is to go with the environment that lets your skills shine the most.