It is now almost twenty years since the first online casino gambling sites began to become widely available in Ireland, most as a small part of the big online sports gambling sites operated by the major bookmakers. Although we have been watching the development of online gambling throughout most of those years it has never been entirely clear whether the decision of those bookmakers to add a few gambling games to their established sports gambling sites was a conscious attempt to create a brand new online gambling scene, or whether the establishment of the hugely popular online casino gambling sector was almost an accident. Whatever the real truth of the matter however, there is no doubt that the idea of being able to play a wide range of gambling games online proved to be extremely attractive and an instant success. Since those early days we have seen almost every online casino gambling site add more and more gambling games to their range, and we have also welcomed several brand new online casino gambling site operators who have concentrated their efforts solely on the quality of the gambling games and do not offer any sports gambling options at all. There is no doubt that these new online gambling sites have increased our gambling options still further and provided stiff competition for the established bookmakers’ sites. The vast majority of the gambling games we can now play online are of course slots games in various guises, all of which have been designed and supplied by the casino software companies which have grown in importance as the online casino gambling sector has expanded. Some of these software companies are now as big if not bigger than many of the bookmakers they supply with games. Many observers believe that the quality and variety of the slots games featured on any particular site is the most important factor in their success or failure as a commercial enterprise, which in turn means that their choice of software supplier is probably the most important decision the site operator has to make. It is not just the slots however which have proved popular, the online bingo games have also proved a very popular attraction. Bingo has always been one of the most popular gambling games here in Ireland, and although the smoking ban did temporarily reduce the attendances for most of our bingo clubs they appear to be recovering well from that hit and bingo is back in favour in our town centre clubs and of course online.
Although in terms of sheer numbers the slots games are the most dominant feature of almost every online casino gambling site, we should not underestimate the importance of the more traditional casino gambling games such as roulette and blackjack. Both of these games are available in almost every real casino in the world, and they are equally popular on the online casino gambling sites. There is however one traditional gambling game which has benefitted far more than any other as a result of the introduction of online gambling games, and that is the game of poker. Clearly the game of poker has a long history, with 5-card draw poker in particular being played widely in the American gold fields and on the Mississippi river boats. This form of poker also featured in almost every western film which included a saloon scene, along with many other television series about the American ‘wild west’. Nowadays of course 5-card draw poker is no longer the game of choice for serious poker players, and almost every poker tournament in the world is now played using the Texas Hold’em format of the game. The ranking of the showdown hands is the same for Texas Hold’em as it is for 5-card draw poker, but that is where the similarity ends because the strategies employed when playing Texas Hold’em poker are totally different from those associated with the 5-card draw version of the game. The primary difference between the two versions of poker is that Texas Hold’em uses what are called community cards which are available for use by every player at the showdown stage of the game. Each player is dealt two hole cards face down in front of them, and that is followed by the first betting round. Five community cards are then dealt one at a time and face up into the middle of the table, with a further betting round after each card has been dealt. Every player still in the game after the final community card has been dealt will then form their best five card poker hand from their two hole cards and at least three of the community cards. The fact that every player has to use at least three of the face up community cards means for instance that it is not possible for there to be a flush in more than one suit among the showdown hands. As you gain experience from playing Texas Hold’em poker you will also begin to realise that there are several other major differences between these two forms of the game in terms of what you may perceive to be a promising hand during the early betting rounds. Texas Hold’em poker has become one of the most popular traditional gambling games being played online, and there are now far more people than ever before who consider themselves to be semi-professional poker players. Almost all the major poker tournaments are now oversubscribed as more and more of these new online poker players want to try their luck against the full time professionals who used to have those tournaments to themselves. Texas Hold’em and 5-card draw poker are however not the only versions of poker we can now play at the online casino gambling sites, there are several other versions of the game all of which can be played for fixed odds against the house. The number and variety of gambling games featured on the online casino gambling sites continues to grow as more slots are added, but don’t forget the traditional casino games because they are still great fun to play.