I hope the provokative title of this pieve grabbed your attention. It was meant to. And it was also designed to seriously tick off my best friend. You see he and I play Poker. A lot. We love it. We’ve been been known to play Texas Hold Em when there’s only been the two of us, so desperate have we been to get our fix of the most beautiful of gambling card games! We both play face-to-face and online where we spend our time playing on the virtual tables of poker.betfair.com . But we seriously disagree on whether face-to-face or online Poker is the format of personal choice. You can see where my affections lie from the title. So strap yourself in and be prepared for a no apologies white knuckle ride on the back of my prejudices!
It’s easily the best reason to play online, hands down. You can play anytime, anywhere (with a ‘net connection) and with (almost) anyone. Having once been responsible for organising what was known in those days as a “Poker School”, I know how difficult it is to set up face-to-face games. And unless you have a legit business doing it (ie you are a casino) it can be a thankless task. I have set up a place at a convenient location, got in the drink, the furniture and the music along with the cards and chips only to have complaints such as these:
“We’re in a garage, there’s no natural light!”
“What?? No Brandy?”
“These chairs are a pain in the ass!”
“are these the only two CDs of music you’ve brought?.. Rammstein and Rihanna??”
See what I mean?
2. Olfactory Considerations
I was in a small front room with 8 other Poker players in a Solihull two-up-two-down terraced house. Now I don’t want to cast aspersions on the cleanliness of any particular section of the country, but three of these people had what TV adverts in the 70s used to call “BO” a Body Odour problem. The first stank of yesterday’s 11-11 boozer session and 100 fags a day, the second reeked of garlic, while the eighth dwarf, Stinker, was an underarm nuclear holocaust. So far, you don’t get smell-o-vision when you play Poker online. Long may that continue!
When you want to leave a casino online poker game, you just click and leave. Try doing that at 4am in the morning at a face-to-face when you are bleary-eyed and tired, but have 90% of everyone’s money. Some hostility is inevitable. Similarly if there’s a player there you can’t stand- maybe he bullied you at school, or stole your first real girlfriend, but the minute you clap eyes on the blaggard, you want out. How difficult is that in a live game, especially if it means the numbers playing are reduced so as to make some Poker games unviable? Online? Byeee. The Great Escape. I love Online- it means never having to say you’re sorry- you just click and leave.
Apart from the smells which are discussed at 2 (above), there are a trillion and one distractions available to distract you when playing live. Garish T-Shirts, short skirts and plunging necklines of players’ molls, the awful music which is either too loud when it’s rubbish and too low when it’s good, and the stunted bloke with the appalling smoker’s cough and left-eye squint. None of these will trouble you online.
5. No Cheating
It’s been my experience that people rarely cheat at Poker face-to-face. But I have witnessed it (and the scrap afterwards) and it’s not nice. Online Poker is 99.9% fiddle-free. It’s great to feel relaxed playing online knowing that the squinty bloke with bad breath (are you seeing a phobia here?) keeps playing with his long sleeves as though concealing something…
6. The “Real Money” syndrome doesn’t occur.
This may be a pretty personal one, but chips and real money weigh heavy in my pocket. If I have wads of £50s (ok… maybe just some £20s and a lot of coins) I really feel I want to celebrate by spending them as soon and as quickly as possible. That doesn’t affect me online. I become strangely sensible. It’s still money online, but there’s a physical absence that has a calming influence on me.
7. No rule/game changes half way through
This may be just down to the people I play with, but it seems that every five minutes when playing face-to-face, someone wants to move the blinds, change from pot to no limit, or switch to Omaha or Wyoming Hold ‘Em variants. Online, you play the table you have selected and that will go on for ever, with or without you. If you want to change- switch table. The table won’t switch on you.
8. No Danger getting home
Win or lose, when a game is over it’s likely to be late- that means an expensive after-midnight taxi, or a stagger through the park inviting a mugging, whereas online… You simply switch off and tumble in to bed.
9. It’s Facebook and Twitter- only more interesting!
If you love social networking, like me, then when it comes to Poker-Time, you can still get a dose of your texting/mailing fix by communicating with players while playing online. They may not reply of course…
10. Stats On tap.
Many/most online casino providers provide stats for their games, so if you’re a stat-freak you can find how many times the three of clubs, your nemesis card, came up. Try getting that information at a face-to-face game and you’ll likely end up sitting on the kerb with a fat lip!
In conclusion, I think online wins hands down! What do you think?