Over many years here in Ireland any mention of the word gambling would almost certainly be taken as a reference to gambling on horse racing. The Irish have always loved horse racing and even now we still have a huge industry associated with the sport, including training stables and stud farms as well as some of the top jockeys. We also had very strong support for greyhound racing across the country and after several years of decline and lack of investment gambling on greyhound racing seems to be enjoying a resurgence of interest now that the facilities have been brought up to date. It has to be said however that although both of these sports gambling activities have maintained their core support the introduction of online gambling has provided them with significant competition. The online sports gambling sites operated by the leading bookmakers now offer a huge range of sports gambling options to tempt us out of our money, with odds quoted on almost every sporting event from all over the world and at any time of the year. Online gambling has also encouraged a whole new section of the population to enjoy playing gambling games. When the big online sports gambling sites started to add gambling games to their sites they tapped into a whole new potential fan base. Gambling on bingo was of course a very popular pastime before the online gambling sites became so accessible, as was playing casino gambling games at a real casino, and bingo fans and casino games enthusiasts were quick to take advantage of being able to indulge in playing their favourite games in their own homes. The introduction of online casino gambling has however clearly appealed to a much wider audience than these two existing fan groups, and once again it is the huge range of gambling options which has made that happen. There are now hundreds of different gambling games available at the increasing number of online casino gambling sites, ranging from traditional casino games such as roulette, blackjack and baccarat to a huge choice of slots games. If you enjoy playing gambling games you have never had more choice. If we are looking for the biggest influence that the online casino gambling sites have had on our gambling habits however, we need to look no further than the rise in popularity of the game of poker. Clearly poker is not a new game and has been played in Ireland for a very long time, but it had not been a mainstream gambling activity for many years because it was rarely available in our casinos or indeed anywhere else. The introduction of online casino gambling has however changed that situation totally. Not only can we play a number of different poker formats against the house at almost every online casino gambling site, but there are now specialist online poker forums which enable poker enthusiasts to play against each other twenty four hours a day. The surge in interest in poker gambling has even led to a massive increase in the number of people applying to take part in the big poker tournaments across the world, with many of them needing to run qualifying heats before the main event.
This desire to get involved in gambling on poker at the highest level has ensured that the Texas Hold’em format of poker has become the game of choice for anyone wishing to play poker seriously. Texas Hold’em is the version of poker used at almost every poker tournament in the world and has therefore easily overtaken draw poker as the game of choice for the modern poker player. If you have never tried playing Texas Hold’em poker we have detailed the rules on our individual casino gambling games pages, but here is a brief outline of how the game is played. Each player is dealt two cards face down, followed by the first betting round. A betting round in almost every version of poker is the same and starts with the player immediately to the left of the dealer, who must place a bet of at least the minimum table stake. Each player in turn clockwise must either match that bet, fold or raise the bet, and the round is only complete when every player still in the hand has gambled the same sum of money. When the first betting round has been completed the first community card is dealt face up into the middle of the table, and a second betting round takes place. This process continues until there are five community cards in the middle of the table, any of which can be used by the players in conjunction with their own hole cards to make up their best showdown hand. The appeal of the Texas Hold’em format of poker for serious poker players is the multiple betting rounds which usually lead to a bigger pot for the winner of each hand. Each player also chooses their best five card hand from seven cards which theoretically improves the quality of the hands in the showdown. Potential new players of Texas Hold’em poker should be aware though that multiple betting rounds also tend to increase the stakes that each player must invest to reach the showdown stage of the game.
Texas Hold’em poker may be the game of choice for poker players who wish to try their hand at winning at the highest level of the game, but it is certainly not the only version of poker available at our casino gambling sites. There is even another version of poker called Omaha poker which also uses five community cards, but in this game each player has four hole cards instead of two. Again we have detailed the rules of Omaha poker on our gambling games pages for those who would like to have a go. There is no doubt that gambling on poker is now one of the most popular gambling activities online, but you do not need to risk big money because almost every version of poker can also be played against the house for fixed odds and very small stakes.