Poker is one of the most sought after casino games. Poker fans are thoroughly spoilt for choice when they play online. Thanks to the popularity of the game, there will always be a multitude of options to choose from whether you are a casual player looking to work on your strategy or you are practically a pro and chasing those big pots in Poker tournaments. Perhaps the most common dilemma poker players face is choosing between Video Poker, also called simply online poker or RNG Poker, and live dealer Poker. While the game’s rules will be the same no matter which type you play, the experience itself will differ significantly and as a result, will be better suited to some players and not others. In this blog, we will be looking at how video and live poker are different and how to choose the one that will deliver the kind of player experience you are hoping for.
Video Poker was one of the first games to make the transition to the online world. The reason Video Poker went first was that the game was already played on a screen, so it was not too hard to build an online version. Video Poker is a digital casino game where you are aiming to make the best five-card hand. At the start of a betting round, you will receive five cards. At this point, you will have the option to hold or swap any number of cards you like. Once you have made your decision, you hit the deal button and any cards you have not held are exchanged for new ones. If your five cards make a ranked poker hand, from ace-high to a royal flush, you will win a prize. The only thing here is that Video Poker variants often have minimum hand requirements. For example, Jacks or Better means you need to have a pair of jacks or better to win a prize.
Elements of Video Poker
Video Poker was one of the very first online casino games developed and thanks to advances in technology, it has evolved and adapted, retaining its popularity over the decades. One of the big draws of Video Poker as opposed to live dealer games is the level of convenience and control this medium offers. For new players, the chance to practice the game in free mode (not often, if ever, offered on live dealer games) is invaluable. When playing Video Poker, there is no need to wait until the table is full before the game starts. The players also do not have to deal with finding a free seat during busy periods. Video Poker is perhaps a little impersonal and mechanical when compared to the social interactivity of live dealer games. However, this type of fast play is appealing to those who are not necessarily interested in that aspect of play and are more focused on learning the rules and improving their technique. Regarding the technical aspects of the game, Video Poker requires fewer computer resources than live dealer games, which rely on a stable live stream connection and a certain minimum when it comes to displaying specs. While both are playable on mobile these days, you are more likely to face problems with a dropped connection on a live dealer table than on a standard RNG Poker table. Live dealer games also tend to be more expensive. After all, the game provider needs to pay for that sophisticated video setup and its live dealers’ wages.
Live Dealer Poker
Unlike Video Poker, live dealer table Poker is played on a real table. Despite this obvious difference, the underlying aim is the same as Video Poker. In other words, you will have to make a winning five-card hand. Additionally, there may also be minimum hand requirements when you play live dealer poker. However, the main difference is that you will need to beat the dealer to win the pot. This dynamic introduces an element of hand reading and timing which is quite similar to Texas Hold’em. For example, at the start of a betting round, you will be dealt two cards and asked if you want to continue. If your starting cards are strong, you can place an extra bet and see the flop (three community cards). From there, you can bet or check your way through the turn (fourth community card) and the river (the fifth community card) if you believe you can beat the dealer. Eventually, if you stay with the river, the dealer’s two cards are revealed and the strength of your hands are compared. If you win, you will receive a return on your investment.
Elements of Live Dealer Poker
The main attraction of live dealer Poker is the social element. Between the dealer themselves and the presence of other players, this is the closest anyone can get to a real-life, land-based casino experience in their own home. And it is not just the buzz of winning against another player. Live dealer tables are a great way to make new friends or at the very least, engage in a little conversation with the fellow players. In recent years live dealer poker has taken the lead on the range of games that are offered. Back in the day, you could only play the common variants of poker, namely Texas Hold’Em and Caribbean Stud, in a live dealer game. Today, as this branch of online gambling continues to innovate, you can choose from a bigger range of options such as Hi-Lo, 3-Card Poker, and others.
Video Poker vs Live Dealer Poker
Now that the parameters of each game have been defined, here are some of the differences between the two:
- Setting: Video Poker is digital whereas live poker is live interaction. Due to this, there are time constraints on the latter simply because other people are involved.
- Speed: Video Poker is digital and a solo pursuit. Hence, betting rounds take less time. Video Poker games are almost as quick as online slots.
- Strategy: the most important difference between the two games is the tactics. Video Poker is a game of mathematics. If you can learn the hand rankings and the odds of making hands when you hold/exchange cards, you can get an edge in Video Poker.
Live dealer poker has an element of mathematics but timing also plays a vital role. By being able to read the game, the cards in play, and remembering what cards have been dealt, a player can refine his moves. This is the biggest difference between the two games. Video Poker is all about isolated hands in a vacuum. In contrast, live dealer poker is much more about history, game flow and table dynamics.
Live dealer poker games and Video Poker each have advantages and disadvantages, and players can give both a try to see which one works for them. Video Poker is a great option for those players who are tight on time as well as those who are still learning the game. Live dealer games bring a little of that casino atmosphere into gameplay, which some players might find interesting in itself. So go ahead and start playing to see which version suits your taste better!