What is the emotional difference between playing poker online and live?

Gambling has a pronounced effect on our emotions. When we gamble and play, we engage not only with our minds but also with our bodies. It is good that scientists are succeeding in identifying the specific processes that take place in our bodies, as this gives us a better understanding of how it affects us.
What is the emotional difference between playing poker online and live?

It's no secret that gambling remotely and in a physical gambling venue are very different. Being in a real casino feels completely different to gambling in front of a computer. But what exactly are the differences and what is important to know about playing poker remotely versus in a real casino or poker room environment?

Other players

Usually the first difference you'll notice is the players you play with and against. In an online poker room, you may encounter players from other countries or even continents, whereas in a real casino or poker room, it will be your own townsfolk or countrymen.

This will make it easier to read your opponents' actions and behaviour in a real-life environment. Not only are you familiar with the local cultural nuances, but you understand the language and can see more with your own eyes. When players only see each other's avatar and icons on the screen, it's impossible to see body language, so you can only rely on computer calculations or your own intuition.

online vs live pokerPlaying in a real-life environment is also convenient for communicating with other players and using communication as a tool to gain an advantage or make new friends. Although online communities are huge (e.g. hundreds of thousands of users on Pokerstars alone), the feeling is still not the same. For example, several researchers who have studied the difference that correspondence and real communication makes to the human body have found that real conversation releases hormones that build trust and reduce stress. Correspondence, if it does, releases very little oxytocin (the hormone of love and affection), which makes it harder to connect and communicate in a virtual poker room. You will feel more lonely there.

Advantage - better performance when playing remotely

If we compare the performance of different people at the poker table and when playing remotely, are most of the best performers at the poker table not when they are actually playing, but when they are in front of a computer? Why is that? The most common reason is a home or other comfortable environment where the player can relax and think about nothing else. Being surrounded by other people and constant communication makes it difficult to maintain a good concentration on the game, leading to miscalculations, unweighed risks and overestimated bluffs.

The advantage of playing online

Players can choose the time of day that suits them best, so they can sit down at their computer and relax. The poker tournament takes place at scheduled times, so it's not always possible to be in the best shape or mood.

Some people like to play while lying in bed, while others use their lunch break at work. Well, if you want to play in a real poker room or casino, you'll have to spend a lot of time just getting there, not to mention swapping chips, maybe waiting in line for a seat to open up. So, while poker in real life is probably more of a human experience, playing virtually allows you to use a variety of ancillary tools and enjoy the results.

The judgement of time disappears in both cases

Time judgement in the casino house

You probably know that you'll never find a watch in a casino. There are also very few windows and the lighting is always the same - artificial. As a result, it is very easy to lose track of time when you enter a casino, and even more so when you are gambling, you may not notice how 1, 2, 3 or even more hours have passed.

Psychologists and scientists sometimes even refer to this phenomenon as the "casino time effect", but the reality is that gambling is a highly addictive activity. It is almost impossible to play them in a dismissive way, which is why there are so many emotions, reactions, joys and sorrows at the poker table or in other games of chance.

But in the same way, time judgment disappears when a person is doing something that is interesting, fun or important to them. Time passes just as quickly when you attend an event that you find interesting, or when you are in a place you don't want to leave. The reason for this is simple - gambling is engaging because it stimulates the most sensitive areas of the brain. Almost every gambler feels that they are about to win, so the impulses are strong and the reactions sensitive. Normal poker handplaying virtually, lasts between 1 and 6-7 minutes. In real life, it lasts about 1.5-2 times longer. Well, do you really get that tired after playing 15 hands? Probably not, except that by then more than 90 minutes of your time will have elapsed, and that time will seem to have evaporated.

Time-sensitive casino at home

Timing when playing at home

This is why there are no clocks in casinos, as this would reduce the amount of time gamblers spend there. Casinos also play poker and other games, which only adds to the gamblers' interest. Well, on the computer, things seem to be simpler. After all, most screens have a clock in the bottom right-hand corner that tells the time, so it follows that playing virtually doesn't really take away the sense of time, does it?

But in the UK, ELSPA An association study found that 99% percent of people who play computer games (which can include poker) lose track of time. A third of them lose it all the time, while the rest lose it rarely or often. So if you don't want your poker session to go on forever, set an alarm to remind you that it's time to take a break.

One type of player has a distinct advantage

According to psychologists and poker researchers, players who perform well in live games almost always have excellent results and play poker online. However, players who are very good at online games have a pretty slim chance of playing well in live games. Experts say there are several reasons for this

  1. Playing remotely makes people feel more comfortable, while sitting around other people makes them feel stressed and distracted
  2. Playing remotely, players can use poker apps that increase their chances of winning and reduce the risk of making mistakes
  3. Playing remotely allows them to take more risks, as other players simply don't catch on to their style of play

It is therefore interesting to know that while a live poker player will probably be a good online poker player, an online poker guru will not necessarily show the same skills at a real table.

Players are more willing to take risks in online games

Another interesting phenomenon - spending €50 in cash will more painful than €50 from your bank card. This is a big reason why banks and other institutions are encouraging people to use bank cards and are slowly moving away from cash. Not only is it more convenient and easier, but it also encourages consumption. There is a similar psychological phenomenon in poker. Playing virtually, a player may be more courageous to bet a larger amount or to take a risk with an adventurous bet, because virtual numbers are not completely associated with money. If he sees a pile of real, cash money, then things might be different and the risk might not be so great. This is why, in real games, players with chips tolerate less risk.

Players are more willing to take risks in online games

In case you're wondering, the perception of the value of money varies even up to 50%, while sometimes more. Therefore, losing €10 in a real game feels the same as losing €15 online and vice versa.

People who play virtually try to win early

The difference between amateur poker players and veterans and wolves is patience. Inexperienced or new players have little of it, so they try to scare all their opponents away at the preflop stage. It is not uncommon to see on the internet a player doubling or even tripling a BB (big blind) bet in the very hand'o at the beginning. Well, in poker tournaments or where the pros play live, this is extremely rare.

People playing virtually

But paradoxically, in live games we are much more likely to hear call and matching bets. However, the consequence of this is that immediately after preflop We have a heads-up situation where players have no influence and everything is determined by blind luck. The main difference between online and live game players is their behaviour preflop and postflop situations. Live players are much more patient and do not make rash decisions with moderately strong or relatively weak cards. Online gamblers, on the other hand, do not shy away from taking risks and going all the way, even if they have a hand that has a pretty slim chance of winning. Although each gaming session may be different, the trends are similar and stereotypes don't come out of thin air. We can also relate this behaviour to our aforementioned depreciation of cash. Playing online, players are less accepting of losing and therefore tolerate more risk.

All in all, when you play online, whether you want to or not, you are likely to feel more willing to take risks and place bets when the stakes are very high.

More failures, but easier to accept

One final nuance to highlight in terms of the emotional and psychological differences between real and live play is that online Poker players are more likely to notice "black" or unsuccessful hands.

Although the algorithms are completely random and the cards are well shuffled (literally or figuratively) in both cases, experience shows that poker players do not feel that fortune is turning the other cheek when they are playing in lower-limit games.

This also contributes to the fact that players feel fatigue and desperation, which leads them to gamble and make risky bets. Well, since the stakes are low, even if you draw a pretty good starting pair of cards, you cannot be sure that the players with poor cards will withdraw. They just don't want to take the risk, which will result in a later with luck and cards are dealt that cause you to lose in the final moments.

The pace of the game also contributes to this. As we have already mentioned, things are slower in real games. After all, there is still the option to play multi-table format, where multiple games are played simultaneously.

Finally, we would like to add that if you were to play for real and lose 33% of your initial money, a very large number of players would consider quitting and would not want to continue playing (at least for a while). However, people who play virtual poker and lose that amount of money usually do not quit, but simply move on to another table. So - they take the setbacks in their stride and continue to believe that they can win right here.