There are substantial differences between online poker gaming and conventional, in-person gaming.
One obvious difference is that players do not sit right across from each other, removing any ability to observe others’ reactions and body language. Instead, online poker players learn to focus more keenly on betting patterns, reaction time and other behavior tells that are not physical in nature. Since poker is a game that requires adaptability, successful online players learn to master the new frontiers of their surroundings. Another less obvious difference is the rate of play. In brick and mortar casinos the dealer has to collect the cards, then shuffle and deal them after every hand. Due to this and other delays common in offline casinos, the average rate of play is around thirty hands per hour. Online casinos, however, do not have these delays; the dealing and shuffling are instant, there are no delays relating to counting chips (for a Dewalive), and on average the play is faster due to “auto action” buttons (where the player selects his action before his turn). It is not uncommon for an online poker table to average sixty to eighty hands per hour.
This large difference in rate of play has created another effect among online poker players. In the brick and mortar casino, the only real way to increase your earnings is to increase your limit. In the online world players have another option, play more tables. Unlike a physical casino where a player might not be able to play simultaneously at all the tables at a same time, most online poker rooms allow a player to play at multiple tables at the same time. For example, a player may make around $10 per hour at a single table, but $40 per hour if they play at two tables.
The large number of tables and pots also makes it harder for a player to concentrate during a game. Since a player is playing simultaneously they must still make rapid decisions on each hand, and therefore can end up making mistakes. For example, if a player has Q9 and the flop is J8, they should probably fold, rather than continuation bet and try to win the pot. If the flop was Q5, however, and the flop is J5, the decision to continuation bet would not be correct.
Online poker rooms, in contrast, have no delays at all. Sites run at near lightning speed, so there are no leaks in the time in which a player has to think about what to do. This allows the players to respond instantly to situations at hand. Although it also means that players are not as good at the game as they would be in a physical casino, the benefits of playing online are more than sufficient to compensate for these drawbacks.