Live poker and video poker might sound like they are a part of the same game family, but they have many dissimilarities.
Moreover, if you’ve ever been in a casino that has both types, you know that they are even in separate rooms in the venue.
So, how do live poker and video poker compare to each other, and can you say that one is inherently better than the other?
In this post, we’ll try to answer these questions by addressing the differences between live poker and video poker.
1. The Skill Element
The most apparent difference between live poker and video poker, whether you play it an online casino website or at a live venue, is the overall element of skill.
When looking at video poker, the best description of these games is that they are slots with poker features.
Video poker machines are not entirely luck-based like slots, as your decisions matter to a certain extent. The main gameplay decision you can make when playing video poker relates to what cards you want to keep and which ones you want to discard.
So, making smart decisions and picking the right cards can make a difference.
On the other hand, poker is an entirely different animal. It’s the most complex casino game you can play and a game in which skill almost always trumps luck.
A majority of professional poker players learn for years and hardly manage to master the game, as it is simply so intricate and strategic.
Apart from the fundamental gameplay features, players who want to be successful at poker need to master ranges, reading their opponents, bluffing, discipline, and many other aspects that separate winning players from losing ones.
2. Playing for the Pot vs. Playing for Fixed Payouts
When you’re playing video poker, you know exactly how much money you can win in each round, depending on the strength of your poker hand.
For example, you know that the straight flush in Jacks or Better video poker will pay out 50 coins if you bet one coin.
There’s a fixed paytable and even jackpots you can win, and rest assured that they will never change.
In contrast, when you play live poker, you never know much money you can win until you see the action unfold.
This is because these amounts can be affected by the bet limits, how much you and other players are ready to bet, raise, or call, and many other factors.
3. The House Edge
It goes without saying that this is one of the biggest differences between live poker and video poker.
Video poker machines, much like many other casino games, have a house edge and a very good one at that. This is the case even for the games found at the best online casinos in Australia, although you can find some versions with very good RTP (even over 99%).
That said, poker is better in this sense, as live poker tables don’t have a house edge. Instead, poker tables charge a rake, taking a small percentage (usually around 5%) of each pot.
This means you’re not actually playing against the house when playing poker. So, if you get good enough in poker, you can make a great living by beating players that are less skilled than you.
4. Pace vs. Patience
Video poker is among the fastest casino games and is even faster than slots. By comparison, poker is very much a game of patience and composure. It is a much slower game than video poker.
Every poker player at the table has more than enough time to decide, so playing poker fast and rushing your decisions is not a good way to play this game.
Live Poker vs. Video Poker – Which Is Better?
Knowing the biggest differences between live poker and video poker, you can decide which type of game better fits your preferences.
This is because this live poker vs. video poker comparison primarily boils down to your subjective feeling. The differences between the two are significant, but they don’t make either a better game than the other.
Lastly, to help you decide, here are a few pointers to keep in mind when deciding between the two.
Video poker is a much more simplified and faster game. It requires less decision-making and concentration. In comparison, poker requires much more skill, is much harder to master, but can also provide more stable profit once you get good at it!