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Canada has a long history of gambling. During the Klondike Gold Rush, card games such as Faro were as prosperous as gold prospecting. With the liberalization of gambling laws in 1970, Canadians were legally allowed to indulge their passion. The first commercial casino opened its doors in Winnipeg in 1989. The casino industry has since grown to include 88 casinos in nine provinces and one territory. For most Canadians, the full casino experience is now within reach.
Many people will argue that playing poker online is far better than going to a casino. Playing online is more convenient, but here are seven advantages to playing poker in a land-based casino.
Poker is a game of chance and skill with a social element. Part of the thrill of playing poker is studying the other players at the table. Picking up a “tell” or keeping a “poker face” are all traditional parts of the game. Even the strategy of “throwing a player on tilt” forms a part of poker's physical play. It is challenging to influence a player's emotional state and decision-making abilities if they're sitting behind a computer or phone screen, thousands of kilometers away.
Apart from the game, the experience of going to a casino is a social event in itself. Online casinos mirror everything that a physical casino has but lack the social element.
You can more easily judge a fellow player’s skill when you can see them. If Daniel Negreanu walks into a casino, everybody will know that poker's most prominent live tournament winner of all time is in the house. Were he to log-in as Lucky Luke 27 and join your game, nobody would suggest who they were up against. Knowing who your opponents are is as important as understanding when to walk away.
Going to a casino requires a little planning beforehand. Budgeting is usually a part of that planning. Parking, food and drink, possibly a show, and poker chips will all form part of the budget planning. The advantage of playing with actual chips is that the pile grows or diminishes as the game progresses.
It is possible to judge how much of your gambling budget remains at a glance, and you have the feeling of a physical poker chip in your hand. Playing online turns this concept into abstract thought. It is far too easy to merely load more credits from your online banking or credit card without giving it a second thought.
A typical casino game of poker will play 25-30 hands per hour. Online plays will typically deal between 60 and 80 hands per hour. (Statistics based on a “full ring” or nine-player game for both comparisons). The increased rate of play means that online players will win or lose their stakes faster.
From a practical point-of-view, it also means that punters have much more time to weigh the odds and make informed decisions before making a wager. Once again, the act of handling physical poker chips and watching the other players adds to the game's overall experience.
A significant advantage of playing poker in a casino is the opportunity to socialize. Playing poker online may be convenient, but it does not give you the chance to go for a drink after the game. As explained before, there is a social element to poker, not just skill and luck.
The casino setting gives players the chance to share good fortune with fellow patrons by buying a round or getting comfort and a beer from others when their luck is down. This is probably the best part of the experience that an online casino cannot duplicate.
There are a lot of distractions at a casino. There is the music, staff moving around, and conversations going on around you. These distractions are constant and easily tuned out. They are also part of the ambience of the evening that you have set aside for poker.
Playing online means that you are playing from anywhere and at any time. If you are playing from home, the dog may be barking, or the kids are screaming. Was that the doorbell ringing? All of these are distractions that require your attention.
Perhaps you have decided to play a few hands online during your lunch break. There are still the distractions of coworkers around or trying to make conversation, perhaps ringing phones in the background. Even keeping an eye on the time is a distraction, taking concentration away from the game.
In addition to online casinos dealing more than double the number of hands per hour, you can also join more than one table at a time. Joining extra tables essentially means that instead of playing one hand per minute, the gambler could be playing and betting every 15 or 30 seconds. Playing more hands means that bettors can win big; it also means that they can lose big.
In a game that combines both luck and skill, making a financial decision every 15 to 30 seconds on different games doesn't make sense. The most significant advantage of poker in a casino is that your full attention is on the hand you are playing now.
Poker has an element of skill and a social aspect. Playing in a casino allows gamblers to take full advantage of their ability to read people's reactions. The casino table also allows more time to make rational decisions, cutting out unnecessary distractions. There is also a definite satisfaction in setting aside an entire evening or weekend to indulge yourself.
Although it may seem like an inconvenience to travel to a casino in the cold, the casino's glitz and glamour make the outing worthwhile. An online casino can duplicate the game's technical aspects entirely, but that is not the point of playing poker.