Differences Between Live & Video Poker: Choose the One That Suits You

by Tim | Nov 10, 2023

Differences Between Live & Video Poker: Choose the One That Suits You

You may be wondering if there are any significant differences between live poker and video poker. If you’re familiar with the rules of poker, you might recognise the similarities between the two formats. However, in addition to the obvious similarities, there are differences that you’ll notice when you play at an online casino. Like online slots, the poker format you choose to play will introduce you to unique aspects of each format.

What is live poker?

Of course, before we had the luxury of online poker in the UK and elsewhere, the casino game was played at so-called brick-and-mortar casinos. That was until the online poker explosion, which contributed to a massive rise in the popularity of the live game. Live poker is the card game of poker that is played in a physical casino or cardroom instead of online. Poker players play against each other at a casino table and place their bets to try to win the pot. 

What is video poker?

Video poker is an electronic game that is based on five-card draw poker. The aim of the game is to create the strongest possible poker combination. In video poker, the player must bet a set amount of coins or credit and be paid according to how strong the poker hand is. 

What are the differences between the two poker formats?

There’s quite a tangible difference between live poker and video poker. There are many poker players who believe that playing video poker is much easier than live poker, likely because video poker requires less skill. When it comes to live poker at a poker table, you’ll need to do some research on the game and the possible outcomes that could occur. You can’t predict your opponents’ precise poker hands. However, in video poker, you will notice that the outcome of the game depends on a player’s card combination. To determine payouts, players are required to look at the paytable, which displays the rankings and rewards for each poker hand. 

The most notable difference is that in video poker, you play against a machine instead of a dealer or another poker player, and the layout of video poker is the same as a slot machine. Players must make decisions that directly influence the game’s outcome. It’s also more interactive than video slots. Let’s take a look at how video poker works:

  • The random number generator (RNG) deals the player five cards.
  • The player must select cards that could form a strong poker hand.
  • The player draws to receive replacement cards.
  • A win will depend on the hand that is produced.

In this poker format, there are five columns on a standard video poker table: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. 

When it comes to live poker, the same hands are used as in video poker:

  • Royal flush
  • Straight flush
  • Four of a kind
  • Full house
  • Straight
  • Three of a kind
  • Two pair
  • One pair 
  • High card

In live poker, you are playing against other opponents and can engage with them if you choose to. Whereas, with video poker, all you have is a computer with an algorithm. Bluffing is another element of live poker that makes the game exciting and more unpredictable. You’ill need to bluff and read others to succeed at the poker table. With bluffing, you can win even if you have the lowest hand at the table. However, it could also make you fold your high-ranking hand to an opponent with a 2 and a 9 off-suit. In video poker, there are no opportunities to bluff. The only elements that are important are your cards and how they compare to the combinations listed on the game’s paytable.

Choosing the best format suited for you

Playing cards and poker chips arranged on a poker table.

There are pros and cons for each poker format. Playing video poker online could work for you if you enjoy playing poker alone. It’s also a much simpler game, allowing you to learn more about the strategy and skill needed to take on opponents in live poker. 

In contrast, playing live poker is a social game and allows you to play with friends and strangers. You can increase your skill level by playing against other players. There’s also the option to play it silently or to chat with your opponents. 

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