While most of us agree that poker is one of the greatest games on earth, it will never compare to casino gaming in terms of popularity. All you need to do is look at the revenues of online poker versus online casino gaming to get a sense of the divide between the two.
Why do players overwhelmingly prefer casino games over poker when they know that the house has the edge? There are many reasons, but below are seven of the top reasons why poker will never be as popular as general casino gaming.
1. Poker Involves a Lot of Boredom
Here comes a hand! Crap. It’s not playable, so I have to fold. Now I have to watch the rest of the table act until the next hand comes.
How many times per hour does this scenario happen when you’re playing poker? 15, 20, or more? Imagine being the average recreational gambler and having to sit through all this downtime. After a while – even if they’re diligently taking poker notes – they are going to get bored.
You don’t have all the downtime of poker in other casino games. Slot machines are a constant flow of gaming that goes as quickly or as slowly as you can push buttons and pump money into the machine.
Table games also run at a much faster speed than poker. Even if you fold early in a hand of Blackjack, the wait until the next hand is often half of what you’d have in poker.
Players want action and, unless they are playing every hand or at a crazy table, poker often doesn’t provide the same virtual non-stop action.
2. Live Poker is Less Welcoming to Introverts
If you’re an introvert, live poker sometimes isn’t the most appealing game. Your average introvert is going to be the chattiest player at the table. They just aren’t comfortable interacting with opponents like Daniel Negreanu and others.
Worse still, there’s a large movement to “make poker fun again,” which can also largely drive away your introverts. One thing I hated about this year’s Main Event coverage was Antonio Esfandiari’s blasting of what he called “robotic players” in poker. While it doesn’t make for the best TV, being “robotic” is more a reflection of a player’s personality. Trying to force fun is just going to convince introverts to avoid live poker rooms and only play poker online.
3. Win “Life-Changing” Money in a Single Spin
Winning a major poker event like the WSOP Main Event provides a player with life changing money, even after taxes. There are many examples of this in poker, but it will never compare to being able to win a large sum of cash in a single spin.
Earning life-changing money in a poker event typically involves several days of play. It also requires you making it through a field of hundreds or even thousands of players. Your average gambler isn’t going to have the time, patience, or ability to make a life-changing win happen in poker.
However, anyone can easily sit down to a jackpot slot machine or video poker machine and potentially win life-changing, or at least life-enhancing, money in a single spin. If you play online casino games, you’ll offer find sites offering a huge selection of free spins on games, including jackpot games.
Imagine sitting down with some free spins and hitting a jackpot. While the odds may be long, someone is eventually going to hit. Everyone who plays has the same odds of hitting the jackpot. You can’t say that about poker.
4. Poker Involves Too Much Study
When you first got started in poker, did you imagine how much work you’d had to do in order to get better and move up in stakes? Most people don’t and this can lead to turning them off to poker. If you want to be a long-term success in poker, you are going to have to study.
The average gambler isn’t going to want to put in the time or study to become “good at poker.” They either choose to play for low stakes or instead play casino games where you don’t have to be a math genius to win.
5. Not Enough Variety in Poker
Go into the average poker room and count the number of different forms of poker spread. You’re lucky if it’s more than three. On average you will have NL Hold’em, Limit Hold’em, and either Stud or Omaha Hi-Lo. Often you’ll only find Hold’em games.
Look outside of the poker room at the rest of the casino and you can see a large variety of different games you can play. Variety is the spice of life and poker rooms often aren’t spicy enough for some.
6. Poker is Less Appealing to the Senses
Ever notice how noisy slot and video poker machines are? That’s to attract you to play the games. It is scientifically proven to work. All the bells and whistles stimulate the pleasure centers in the brain and keep players at the games longer.
Poker doesn’t have the same appealing sounds to the average player. Go into your normal poker room and the main noise you’ll hear is shuffling chips. While that will get the juices flowing for many poker players, the average gambler will simply be annoyed.
7. Comps Are Easier to Earn With Casino Games
Poker rooms are notorious for being tight on the comps they offer their players. On average you’re looking at $.50 to $1 an hour for low stake games, which is about $8 max on a standard 8-hour day of play.
Casino games allow you to earn comps at a much faster rate based on your play. A few years back, I was on a bit of a heater in video poker and racked up a ton of comp points in the game.
Not only did I get a ton of rewards, but I got offered free stays at the casino for the next two years afterwards. Granted, a lot more money cycled through the machines than would have in the poker room, but your average gambler isn’t looking at that. They are looking at the free stuff they can get; poker room comps are often a joke in comparison.