How Online Poker Stacks Up Against Online Casinos

How Online Poker Stacks Up Against Online Casinos

Online poker has become more popular in recent years, courtesy of expanding regulation and more people showing interest in the game. As a result, online card rooms are growing in popularity and numbers. Many online casinos are also doing well. A renewed regulatory zeal has made it possible for more people to play slots, jackpot games, and even live dealer games in the comfort of their own homes.

But how do these two verticals’ stacks against each other and is one more popular than the other? We set out to explore online poker and online casinos and see how they can be similar and, then again, how they can be very different from one another.

Online Poker and Online Casinos Are Very Much Alike

The first thing to notice is that online casinos and poker are fairly similar in look, feel, and functionality. Both operations are setup with the help of the website, and most of the time, you can play directly via your browser. There are also software clients that allow you to download a brand’s offer and play directly on your PC or mobile device.

Online casinos and poker rooms online share the same accessibility whereby players can register themselves in the matter of minutes and start playing immediately thereafter. Both online poker rooms and casinos will offer players to start with something small on the house – usually a no deposit bonus or a free ticket to enter a tournament.

This makes the two operations very similar to each other. Of course, iGaming websites are usually very similar, but their core offer tends to be completely different. An online casino will focus on a range of games, such as:

  • Slots
  • Jackpots
  • Live Dealer Casino 
  • Scratch Cards
  • Video Poker
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Poker on the other hand will focus on the card game, and its variants, Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Stud, and others. All of these are competitive variants of the poker game – video poker is not offered by online poker sites. So, to sum up, the best US online poker rooms will very much resemble online casinos, but their core product is completely different. They offer games that are based in skill, not chance like online casinos’ titles are, and therein lies the main difference.

Online Poker – A Game of Skill, Not So Much Chance

Online card rooms are by definitions based on games that take skill to play – and win. Of course, in order to operate, a card room would need to be regulated and licensed in the jurisdictions where it is based.

Card rooms attract an audience that is more competitive in nature, and who prefers to play for a reward that they can win themselves. In other words, online poker rooms are designed for the competitive sort of players who want to study the game of poker and produce better results based on solid decision-making rather than random chance.

As such, card rooms tend to be slightly less popular than their online casino counterparts. They still attract thousands of players, but everyone who chooses to play at a poker site is usually more willing to give it their best and try to win a tournament or play many cash games. 

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How Is the Online Casino Different?

By design, online casinos are built to be more inclusive and to provide players with an equal chance of winning. Casino games do not rely on skill, they are based on a Random Number Generator (RNG) which will produce winning rounds without any predetermination. The RNG is set at a specific rate, know as the return to player (RTP) rate.

It’s based on this RTP metric that you can try and guess how much you would win in the long term. Of course, since online casinos are games of chance, players can actually fall on either side of the RTP. Some may win much less than is shown on the website – others could end up winning so much more. 

It’s this randomness that appeals to players who come back for seconds when playing at online casinos. Another added plus to the experience is that you don’t have to actually understand the games to enjoy them – or even win big. However, it’s important to know that there is no way to influence your outcome and win more – this is the exact opposite of how a regular game of poker plays online. 

Which One Is More Popular? 

There is no doubt that online casinos tend to be vastly more popular than online poker sites, precisely for the reasons we described above. Online casinos are based on chance, and similar to lotteries (which they are not), they allow players to take a chance and perhaps win something.

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Players though mostly play online casinos for fun – most people who visit online casinos do know that there is a chance to win, but they also enjoy the games they find there genuinely. There are often hundreds if not thousands of games to pick from, which is another boon to online casino gaming.

Poker and online poker sites tend to be less popular with players as they attract a different cohort of players – those who want to compete in order to win. This means that unlike online casino players, poker players are there to win. This requires a conscious and concentrated effort, which is often not something that the average gamer enjoys.

That is why poker remains a somewhat niche vertical when compared to how popular online casinos are. Still, this is not to say that online card rooms are not growing – they are with more places in the United States now allowing such websites to operate as regulated entities. 

Should You Pick a Casino or Poker Site?

This is completely down to you. The truth is that online casino players love video poker and that poker players sometimes play at casinos themselves. This is why many card rooms these days feature casino games as well. There is something to enjoy in both verticals, but the fact remains – if you want to rely on chance completely, then casinos are something that you may prefer. If you want to assume control and be responsible for your own luck, then online poker sites may be a bit better!