Biggest reasons why top players prefer live poker tournaments

If you’ve been playing poker for 40 years, the back half of your poker career looks very different than it does today. This is primarily due to the huge change in power dynamics that came with the advent of online poker rooms.

Online poker spread like wildfire and eventually brought additional attention and many new players to the game. Like any online venture, not all was good.

Still, overall, online poker did a great job of growing the game and attracting a much larger audience.

However, many elite players still prefer the familiar comfort of a casino poker room. Here are the top reasons why top players prefer live poker tournaments.

Live poker tournaments give players a lifetime of memories

One of my favorite rewards from casino gambling are the memories I create with friends and family. Playing in live poker tournaments is always a memorable occasion.

More often than I’d like to admit, I make a thoughtless call or raise when I should be checking, and it costs me dearly. These memories haunt me, but only for a short time.

It’s not the money or the thrill of winning that immediately comes to mind. I usually think back to a fun experience or a player who is no longer there.

Online poker tournaments do not offer such benefits, which is the main reason why top players prefer live tournaments.

Live poker tournaments give you more time to make a decision

Online poker tournaments can seem sterile, and some players feel rushed during online games. Players in online tournaments don’t have time to properly read their opponents.

Live poker tournaments are played at a much slower pace. This extra time gives you much more time to read your opponents and make a decision based on all the information you have gathered.

As a rookie, I often bought weekend online tournaments. After six months, I began to notice that my online results stood in stark contrast to my performance in live games.

After carefully examining myself, I discovered that I was constantly rushing through online tournaments. Whether I had plenty of time to act or not didn’t matter; I was always in a hurry.

I am by no means a top poker player, but many top players avoid online tournaments for the same reason.

Live poker tournaments provide far fewer distractions

It may seem counterintuitive, but in a live poker tournament you’ll be dealing with far fewer distractions. I talk to many online players who swear they have found the key to distraction-free poker.

When I ask them how it works for them, the conversation usually shifts to something else. That’s because playing any online game is full of distractions.

That’s assuming you have the discipline to keep the TV and radio off. I’m on my phone too often, I can admit that.

During live poker tournaments, I rarely have my phone nearby. When playing online poker, I often find myself browsing Twitter or the Weather Channel app to see what my next round of golf will look like.

Playing in live tournaments has its share of distractions, but being in the moment makes it easier to focus on the task at hand.

Live poker tournaments take advantage of the social aspects of poker

Most of the world’s best poker players are extremely social. They may give the impression that they are not interested in being at the table with other players, but they love the camaraderie.

In addition, meeting friendly or at least familiar faces can help reduce the stress of poker tournaments.

Top players also appreciate time away from the poker room, where they can chill out and come up with inventive prop bets.

Live poker tournaments may have less competition

From top to bottom, the overall competition in online tournaments tends to be stiffer than in live poker tournaments. Poker rooms in casinos are full of tourists and novice players looking to kill some time and catch a thrill.

These fish make it much easier to go deeper into live tournaments as they bust out and you collect their chips. Online tournaments are full of players who play a lot of online poker; not only can you find yourself in an online poker room.

Don’t get me wrong, there are several legitimate studs in live poker tournaments. Thus, you will have a lot of work for yourself.

Still, the best players prefer live tournaments because they can feed the fish early and build their chip stack.

Live poker tournaments attract players to casinos

The best thing about live poker tournaments is that they bring players to casinos. The best players love casinos as much as the rest of us, and many of them are treated like kings from the moment they set foot on the premises.

While playing live poker tournaments, players can enjoy excellent golf courses, exclusive spa treatments, shopping boutiques and fantastic meals – not to mention all the other casino games.

As you can probably imagine, elite poker players love to gamble. They often head to the tables after a tournament to relax and try to beat the casino at craps, blackjack or baccarat.


The biggest reasons why top players prefer live poker tournaments range from money to pure fun. These factors vary widely in order of importance from person to person. Nevertheless, these are all boxes that are checked for elite poker players.

If you’re having trouble finding your spearhead in online tournaments, it may be time to pack your bag and head for the bright lights of your nearest casino.