Gamblers often get confused when comparing video poker and live dealer poker at top online casinos, despite the many differences between the two games. To help sort out and understand the differences between these two popular online poker games, we have put our Casinos.com poker experts to work. And we have come up with the following online poker guide that explains the many differences – and a few similarities – between the live dealer and video poker versions. Read our comprehensive guide to have all your questions answered, including variations, bonuses, and gameplay strategies.
While at their core, video poker and live casino poker are based on the same game, they are actually significantly different. Each variation takes a different approach to the game of poker. One provides an authentic and social gaming experience, while the other a convenient and fast-paced way to play poker alone.
Still, there are some similarities between video poker and live dealer poker. Both are based on the same principles of poker, which means that hand rankings and winning hands (such as three of a kind, royal flush, etc.) are the same. Many of the same poker variations are also available as both video poker and live poker games.
By far, the most significant difference between video poker and live dealer poker is that, as its name suggests, video poker is a machine-based game where a single player plays against a computer. In some aspects, video poker is similar to online slot machines. On the other hand, live dealer poker blends online poker with land-based poker to create an experience of playing with a live dealer and against real players.
|Video Poker||Live Dealer Poker|
|Game Type:||Virtual Poker||Real Poker with a human dealer|
|Play Against:||Computer||Dealer and/or other players|
|How to Win:|
|RNG:||All video poker game outcomes are determined by a Random Number Generator (RNG) engine. Like the technology used in online slot machines, a poker machine's RNG is a built-in engine that ensures that every outcome is 100% random, so the game is always fair and wins are decided by chance.||While playing live dealer poker, you play a random hand of cards against either the dealer or other poker players.|
|Return to Player (RTP):||Video poker is popular amongst punters because games often offer a return of over 98%, with some video poker machines boasting an RTP of nearly 100%.||Live dealer poker RTPs vary depending on the variant, but these games also feature high RTPs. For example, Texas Hold’em online has an RTP of 99.47%.|
|Betting Limits:||Based on betting credits. A wager of one credit returns multiplier prizes depending on the winning hand.||Limits vary between variants and live casino tables. Players can raise their initial bets.|
Video poker takes inspiration from slot machines as much as it does traditional poker. While the game you play is poker, you use a machine and play against a computer instead of another player or dealer. However, while a video poker machine is set up similarly to an online slot, the game dynamics are vastly different.
Yes, both slots and video poker rely on an RNG to ensure all games are fair, but there is an element of skill involved in video poker. Specifically, unlike slots, the player makes decisions that play a direct role in the outcome of a hand. This required skill makes video poker more interactive than slots but not as immersive as live poker against a dealer or real player.
Because video poker is a game between the player and a machine, it is an excellent way to practice poker and perfect your game strategy. If you are a beginner to the world of poker, playing some video poker can help you build your knowledge and confidence before heading to live poker tables to play against dealers and other gamblers. For more information, check out our guide to poker rules and strategies.
Most video poker games are based on a five-card draw, but there are several approaches to this game. When you visit one of our recommended online casinos, you will see many video poker variations. There is an extensive selection of variants online, but below, our poker experts focused on the six main game styles you will see most often at casino sites. If you have ever wondered what the difference between Deuces Wild and Jokers Wild poker, read below to find out:
Many of the top casino sites we feature on CasinoSource.ca allow you to play video poker games with your casino bonus. It is always essential to remember casino promotions have a wagering requirement attached. Whether you want to redeem a welcome bonus, deposit match, or no deposit bonus, you need to meet these requirements.
An online casino will often not allow live casino games to contribute towards the wagering requirement, but video poker is sometimes accepted. However, casinos typically cap video poker wagering contributions to around 10-15% because of the high RTP. Therefore, always check the bonus terms and conditions before claiming a bonus.
Live dealer poker is essentially the same poker game you would play at a land-based casino or when you have a friend around your house for poker night. All it does is move the actual game into the online realm, with all the authenticity included. You will not be at a casino, but you will have a high-quality live stream showing a human dealer and other players.
Because live poker is essentially traditional casino poker at its core, it is dramatically different from video poker. In fact, it combines the convenience of online poker with the drama and authenticity of land-based casinos. Forget about playing against a machine. When you play live casino poker, you go up against other players or a human dealer you can interact with.
You can take some essential steps to maximize your chances of winning when playing live dealer games. Our complete guide to developing your online poker strategy can take your poker playing to a new level, while the following tips can help you boost your chances of success:
You will find all the popular poker variants in a live format at the leading online casinos we list on this page, including:
Casino Hold'em: Perhaps the most famous poker variation of them all. In Hold'em, you bet the ante to get pocket cards, check out the flop and wager (if you choose) through the Turn and River to find the best five-card hand. Hold'em variations are widely available against the dealer and against real players.
Caribbean Stud: Live dealer poker Caribbean Stud is the variant you get online or at a land-based casino. You wager an Ante and then see 10 cards dealt on the table, 5 for you and 5 for the live dealers. Only one of the dealer's cards is visible, and you must decide whether to Fold or Call to see if you win the hand. It is worth looking out for Evolution Gaming’s live Caribbean Stud, which now has a progressive jackpot.
Three Card Poker: You take all the suspense and fun of standard live dealer poker, and instead of playing with five cards to form a hand, you use three. Three Card live poker variants are more fast-paced and have exciting side bets like an "Ante Bonus" and "6 Card Bonus".
Bonuses designed for live dealer poker are rare in the online casino realm. That said, more casino sites are starting to allow live poker bets to contribute to bonuses as live games become more popular. It is always worth checking the terms of your chosen casino bonus to see if live dealer poker contributes to the promo’s wagering requirement.
Video poker and live dealer poker are quite different, despite having some apparent similarities at their core. Which you prefer will depend entirely on what type of player you are. If you like traditional online casino games such as slots, you will get a lot of value from video poker. You play alone against a computer and probably will not feel as much pressure. Video poker is also excellent for beginners still learning about online poker.
However, it is tough to look past live dealer poker as the definitive type of online poker. Playing against real players with a real dealer, and watching a live video feed, brings the authentic casino experience into your home. You get the complete suspense, excitement, and banter of true casino poker with the convenience and perks of online iGaming. Playing both online and video poker provides tons of excitement and fun. So why not try both?
Sign up today to one of our recommended casinos, and don't forget to claim a generous welcome bonus that will get you started at the tables!
Ziv Chen has been working in the online gambling industry for over two decades in senior marketing and business development roles. Ziv writes about a wide range of topics including slot and table games, casino and sportsbook reviews, American sports news, betting odds and game predictions. Leading a life full of conflict, Ziv constantly struggles between his two greatest loves: American football and US soccer.Read Full Bio