Here at gambling.ie we have enjoyed watching and reporting on how online gambling has become more and more popular in Ireland. It really is not that long ago that the big bookmakers decided to invest in the technology which would allow their sports gambling customers to place their bets online rather than through their local betting shop or by telephone. When that experiment proved successful, they started to look at the possibility of expanding their sites to include some gambling games along with their range of sports gambling options in the hope that they could attract a more diverse audience. This was the start of what we now call casino gambling, and once again the idea was an immediate hit. Initially we have to assume it was their existing sports gambling fans who took to the idea of playing gambling games online, but as the range of gambling games available online grew larger so more people started to become interested. The huge variety of slots games obviously appealed to almost everybody who has ever played a slot machine, but introducing online bingo and other similar numbers games also attracted another big group of existing gambling enthusiasts who loved playing bingo at their local club. Then there were the more traditional gambling games such as roulette and blackjack which clearly attracted the interest of regular casino goers, so it really should not have surprised anybody that online casino gambling would prove successful. In the middle of this massive success story with more and more online gambling options coming on stream, we also saw a huge resurgence in the popularity of poker gambling. In fact the renewed interest in gambling on poker in Ireland and elsewhere is probably one of the most significant effects of the introduction of gambling games online. The game of poker is hardly new, as we know from watching the old westerns in our local cinema almost all of which featured people playing draw poker in the saloon. Professional poker gamblers operated on all the Mississippi river boats and across the gold fields in 18th century America, but over here the popularity of gambling on poker had been waning for a long time and there were also very few opportunities to play poker in our casinos. Nowadays, since a variety of poker formats became widely available on almost every online gambling site gambling on poker has once again become one of the most popular gambling activities in this country and across the world. Even the top poker tournaments such as the Irish Open have seen a huge surge in applications over the last few years, such is the renewed interest in the game.
When looking at this fantastic increase in the number of people getting involved in poker gambling online, we should not assume that they all have aspirations to play in poker tournaments. In fact probably the majority of the poker gambling fans playing poker at one of the online casino sites have no interest whatsoever in playing in a tournament, and simply enjoy the game for the sake of it. Most online casino gambling sites offer a range of different poker formats which can all be played against the house for fixed odds and for very low stakes, so poker gambling can be enjoyed whatever your skill level or budget.
For the serious poker gambling fans however there is only one version of poker which attracts their interest, and that is the Texas Hold’em format of the game. Texas Hold’em is the version of poker which is used in almost every poker tournament in the world, and has definitely become the game for anyone wanting to play at the top level. The main difference between Texas Hold’em poker and most other versions of the game is that it uses what are called community cards which are dealt face up into the middle of the table, and can be used by every player to make up their show down hand. In the case of Texas Hold’em poker each player is dealt two hole cards face down in front of them, after which five community cards are dealt one at a time into the middle of the table. Each player therefore has seven cards from which to make up their best five card hand for the showdown, so that in theory at least the quality of the showdown hands should be better than some other versions of the game. The other big difference in the Texas Hold’em version of poker is the number of betting rounds associated with the game. Each betting round is exactly the same as any other format of poker, but there are more of them. A betting round in poker usually starts with the player immediately to the left of the dealer, who opens the round with a bet at least equal to the minimum table stake. Each player in turn clockwise around the table can choose to fold, call or match the bet, or raise the bet. Each betting round is only complete when every player remaining in the game has matched the highest bet. When playing Texas Hold’em poker, the first betting round takes place after each player has been dealt their two hole cards. There is then a further betting round after each of the community cards has been dealt, culminating in the showdown when all five community cards have been dealt and the remaining players have all matched the highest bet. Even a cursory glance at the potential effects of so many betting rounds will explain why the Texas Hold’em format of poker is so popular among serious poker gamblers, because the pot is almost always far more than the initial minimum table stakes. This is also the reason why inexperienced poker players should be very wary of playing Texas Hold’em poker on online poker forums in which they do not know who they are playing. There is no doubt that Texas Hold’em is a game in which the experienced player will usually have the edge in the long run. If you want to try another poker format using community cards, have a go at Omaha poker against the house.