Live poker is an entirely different game than online poker. Yet online players aren’t afraid to try their luck away from the virtual tables. Is it really worth the trouble?
No, it isn’t.
Okay, maybe I am a bit biased here having not played a single hand in live poker. I was never tempted by the hype of live poker and I don’t plan on sitting down at a real table any time soon. This is why you shouldn’t either.
Playing poker much longer and for less money per hour
All online poker players are crazy about their win rates, myself included. Yes, we always try to improve our poker skills, always reading the opponents, always bragging about the bluff we succeeded against the pro player of our table. In the end though, our performance is nothing more than a graph and stats of a poker software. BB/100. That’s all it matters.
We play poker for fun and for making money. At least that’s why most players begin playing poker for at the first place. Most of them end up chasing their losses. A few manage to show profit in the long run.
So, you are a winning online poker player! What is your winrate? 5BB/100? That good huh? Congratulations. I assume you are a small stakes player and you multitable 50NL tables for 500 hands per hour. Thus, you are making $25 per hour. Excellent!
Let’s see how much time you need to spend at live poker, in order for you to make the same amount of Big Blinds.
Upon hitting your local casino I bet you won’t find 50NL tables. The smallest stakes available are 200NL. Proper money management screams “Get out” but for a moment there let’s say your pockets are filled with money. Lots. You are super rich.
You begin playing at a rate of 30 hands per hour. Wow, we are talking about sllloow! And I am being optimistic here. Usually only 20 hands are dealt at live poker games per hour, depending of course of the dealer’s skill and speed. Let’s average that and pretend you are playing 25 hands. That is one 20th of the hands you used to play online.
More shocking result? If you still beat the game at 5BB/100, you are making 5 bucks an hour despite the noticeable higher stakes!
Summing it up:
An hour spent at $25 online poker tables earns you the equivalent of the money you are earning by playing live poker for 5 hours at $200 tables!
Sure I made a big assumption by keeping the same win rate. According to online reports, live poker is a lot easier than online poker. No doubt, maybe it is and for the sake of it, I will push your win rate to 20BB/100! You guessed it:
You are still making less money per hour!
You would need to beat your opponents at a rate of at least 25BB/100 for your hourly win rate to be on par with your performance at 25NL online poker tables! Once again, I remind you that you are playing 4x higher than online (200NL versus 25NL) and you must increase your absolute win rate (BB/100) 5 times to maintain your living standards.
When is live poker worth the effort?
When you enjoy it and be able to make some money at the same time. That is all it matters. If you enjoy the thrill of live poker, if you would like your name to make it to the headlines, if playing poker with cameras over your shoulder recording your every move sounds fascinating, live poker is the only way to go, hands down. More specifically live poker tournaments. No matter how successful you are at online poker, nothing can compare with live poker’s exposure. And becoming famous or popular at live poker might land you a sponsoring deal with a big poker room. And that is when live poker is really worth it.