Having tried online bridge for the first time about a couple of weeks ago I am still having difficulties adjusting to it. Fortunately there are a significant number of advantages to compensate for some really irritating disadvantages.
The Disadvantages of online bridge are:
The trump suit swishes to one side before I start, so I get significantly disorientated.
In real life bridge I can start and continue to have a pleasant relaxing conversation with my partner and our opponents and THEN pick up my cards and begin evaluating my hand; not to be distracted and lose all focus by having to work out which abbreviated welcome symbols I am supposed to use and then have to deal with impatient players before I have had the chance to settle down again.
In real life bridge you have to wait for the slower tables to finish, which gives you a rest and a chance to further one’s pleasant conversation; not to have the next lot of cards beamed down on you Star Trek-style without having even to physically take them out of the board and squabble gently as to where to put the wallets away.
There is insufficient time allowed for snack breaks, toilet trips, and dealing with at the door deliveries, etc.
The constant pinging in the background is more reminiscent of a soulless supermarket and really drives me mad.
On the other hand, I admit that there are a number of significant Advantages:
Above all there is a FAR better chance to analyse any particular hand into much greater depth afterwards.
You get instant feedback as to how you are faring (although of course that can have a depressive effect on bad days!).
It gives far less opportunity for manipulative players to unduly influence the tournament director.
You get a much wider range of bidding and playing styles,
There are many more participants than in a normal club.
You can play at any time of the day or night!
It is a lot cheaper, safer, and more convenient to play at home than having to travel.
Given time I could doubtlessly add a lot of other advantages and opposing irritations and unreasonable distractions to my list.