Online Poker Guide: Difference between Video and Live Dealer

Ziv Chen

Updated by Ziv Chen


Last Updated 14th Mar 2024, 07:22 AM

Online Poker Guide: Difference between Video and Live Dealer

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 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.

Similarities Between Video Poker And Live Dealer Poker

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.

poker hand rankings

Differences Between Video Poker And Live Dealer Poker

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 PokerLive Dealer Poker
Game Type:Virtual PokerReal Poker with a human dealer
Play Against:ComputerDealer and/or other players
How to Win:
  • Choose a machine that fits your knowledge, strategy and stakes.
  • Start by placing small stakes and practicing.
  • Know your hand rankings.
  • Manage your bankroll.
  • Choose the table that suits your game style and stakes.
  • Don't let other players get into your head.
  • Use an odds calculator.
  • Use a hand-ranking sheet.
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 Guide

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.

Video Poker Strategy

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.

Video Poker Variations

video poker

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:

  • Deuces Wild: The most popular and common video poker variant is Deuces Wild, played with a regular deck of 52 cards. In this game, players choose the four "two-point" cards and the "deuces". Gamblers like this variant because it is quicker and easier to learn.
  • Jokers Wild: Following a similar theme to Deuces Wild, Joker Wild allows players to use the joker card to have the same value as any other card in the game to help build winning hands. There is only one joker in this game with 53 cards in the game deck.
  • Double Bonus: As the name suggests, this video poker variation gives players access to two bonuses, both for four of a kind winning hands.
  • Double Double Bonus: This variant takes the popular Double Bonus video poker and further boosts the bonus level. In other words, during this game, you can get even more bonuses for landing four of a kind winning hands.
  • Triple Play: What's better than playing a single video poker game? Well, how about playing multiple hands at the same time on the same machine? Triple Play video poker allows you to play three hands of cards at the same time. Developed by IGT, Triple Play is available in Deuces Wild and Double Double Bonus.
  • Multi Play: Building on the concept of Triple Play is Multi Play video poker, which allows you to play many hands simultaneously. Some versions of this variant will allow gamblers to wager across up to 50 hands simultaneously.

Video Poker: Pros And Cons

  • Easy to learn.
  • Perfect for beginners to learn poker hands.
  • Fast-paced.
  • You can make decisions that can help you win.
  • Higher payback percentage than other casino games.
  • You don’t have to wait for other players before a game starts.
  • It can be boring playing alone.
  • Sometimes feels like there is no real challenge.
  • RNG is not the same as playing against a real person.

Video Poker Bonuses

Many of the top casino sites we feature on 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 Guide

poker online

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.

Live Dealer Poker Strategy

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:

  • Go After Limpers: Limping is common in live dealer poker because gamblers are overly cautious about losing hands so that they will call on the first round of bets. Raising against limpers can weed out weaker players and help you win some easy hands.
  • Choose a Table Wisely: Many live dealer poker tables are available at online casinos, with different variations and different betting limits. Choose tables that match your bankroll, stakes and experience, allowing you to maximize your budget.
  • Learn How to Fold: Yes, there is not much fun in folding a hand and watching everyone else have fun playing. However, knowing when to fold is an essential skill that can help maintain your bankroll.
  • Study Hand Rankings: If you know hand rankings by heart, you will never become confused about whether you have a good hand or not.
  • Manage Your Bankroll: Perhaps the most essential live online poker tip is to never spend beyond your means. Set yourself a budget and stick to it!

Live Dealer Poker Variations

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".

Live Dealer Poker: Pros And Cons

  • Play against real people.
  • Have an authentic casino experience with a human dealer.
  • Easier to keep track of what is happening.
  • Choose a wider selection of betting options.
  • Games can often be slow.
  • Minimum stakes are often higher than standard online poker.

Live Dealer Poker Bonuses

poker online

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!

Meet The Author

25 Years
Ziv Chen
Ziv Chen
Writer Writer

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.

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