Online poker vs. Console Poker Games

Phil Hellmuth Mike Mizrachi (Image www.wsop.com)

In 2003 an amateur poker player called Chris Moneymaker rose to prominence when he pulled off the ‘bluff of the century’ against seasoned card-shark Sammy Farha at the World Series of Poker. That moment marked a turning point in the history of the card game and all of a sudden thrust it into the limelight.

Moneymaker has been credited with revolutionising the game and catapulting poker into the public psyche. Ever since then there has been an enormous growth in poker services available to budding enthusiasts. Online poker became a massive hit as did mobile apps and even console games.

In this article we take a look at two poker heavyweights – the online offering and console games.

  • Which is better?
  • Whichprovides the most realistic experience?
  • Which one should you try?
  • What are the best offerings on each platform?

Read on to find out.

The benefits of console poker

Risk-free: The unique selling point of playing a console poker game is that there is absolutely no risk at all. You can play for hours on end, lose every single hand and see absolute no change to your bank balance.

Practice makes perfect: Another benefit of the risk-free element of console poker is that you can practice in a safe environment to improve your chances of winning money when you play the real thing. Research strategies and probabilities, try them out and steadily increase the difficulty and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a card-shark

Feel like a pro: Grab a game with authenticity, something with real-time commentary and the ability to play as professional characters. Battle your way to world domination and gain the WSOP bracelet, something you can’t do with online poker.

The best console poker game

The best to-date are the various officially licensed World Series of Poker games including those for the PSP

Reader beware this is completely subjective and down to the author’s discretion, BUT, if you disagree, you’re definitely wrong!

Understandably these games have gained continued popularity after the exploits of bluffing legend Chris Moneymaker and it’s streets ahead of the competition. Gamers bought these games in their droves across all platforms all eager to emulate the success of Moneymaker and fire themselves into poker legends.

The gameplay in the range on the PSP is exceptionally good as I’ve found on all that I’ve played to date and user-friendly and as you’d expect, the graphics recreate the feel of the WSOP perfectly and are far more engaging than online poker platforms. The best part of all of them I have found are the career modes, where you can customise your own character and begin your journey to poker stardom.

However, the thing that will keep you playing is the authenticity of the game. Most feature commentary of some form providing play by play insight to every game you compete in. Further to this, the game is officially licensed by WSOP so you can win a WSOP bracelet and the setting is completely authentic and realistic.

If you want an experience that makes you feel like you’re actually playing in the WSOP then this is the game for you.

The benefits of online poker

Money: As rock legends AC/DC proffered in 1990 ‘money talks’ and that’s certainly true of online poker. No matter how good you feel after winning the WSOP bracelet on the PSP, you won’t be able to match the real-life buzz of winning a large sum of real money.

Competition: If you’ve played any video game before, you’ll be aware of the limits of playing against the CPU. After a certain amount of time your skill level will rise to the extent that you’re no longer challenged by the computer. That SHOULD never happen in online poker, unless you’re the best player in the world! You’ll always be tested by new opponents and that will help you to improve your game over time.

Meaningful practice: It’s all well and good practicing against a computer and getting all of your strategies in place, but nothing can replicate the pressure of playing against real opponents for money. By playing online poker you’ll put yourself into a pressure cooker environment and find out whether you’ll sink or swim when the going gets tough.

The verdict

At the end of the day it all depends on what you’re looking for from your poker experience. If you’re a casual player with a love of the game then the console option is probably best suited to you. Emulate your heroes, feel as close to the real thing as you possibly can and most importantly have some fun.

However if you want to take your gaming a bit more serious, add some risk and you love the thrill of competing against other people then online poker is your best bet (before your winning bet). However, as with most things in life we think balance is best.

Try out some console video games to relax and improve your overall game, but also have a flutter online and see if you can win some money and get the adrenaline rush of competitive play.

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