Is the increasing popularity of online gambling happening for the same reasons as the growth in online retailing, or is there another reason why more of us are enjoying both sports gambling and casino gambling from our computers or mobile devices?. The fact that more of us are using the internet to do our weekly shopping or to look for a bargain at Amazon is obviously true, but that does not necessarily mean that more people are shopping than before online shopping became widely available. The growth in online gambling is however quite different because there is now little doubt that the opportunity to gamble online has actually increased the overall number of people enjoying gambling as a leisure activity. The area of gambling where this increase in popularity is most obvious is in the number of people now playing gambling games at one of the many online casino gambling sites. Ever since the big bookmakers decided to try introducing a range of gambling games to their online sports gambling sites, we have seen more and more people start to enjoy playing an increasing variety of those gambling games online. Many new players are probably more likely to be attracted to the huge range of slots gambling games available at almost every online casino gambling site, but there is also strong interest in many of the more traditional casino games such as roulette and blackjack, as well as that ever popular gambling game of bingo. There is however one traditional gambling game which has grown in popularity at a far greater rate than any of the others now widely available online, and that is the game of poker. The game of poker is of course one of the oldest of the traditional gambling games, and many of us were probably introduced to poker through all the westerns we grew up watching at the cinema and on television. Almost every scene taking place in a saloon also regularly featured at least one table of people playing 5-card draw poker. This version of poker was also the gambling game of choice in the American gold fields and on the river boats sailing up and down the Mississippi river throughout this period of history, but although poker was also a relatively popular gambling game in Ireland at the time, it had since begun to gradually fall out of favour and lose much of its appeal. There were still a few groups of friends enjoying regular poker schools with their mates, and of course a few professional poker players playing in tournaments around the world, but poker was no longer a common gambling activity among the general population in Ireland. Part of the reason for this decline in popularity was the fact that few if any of our real casinos offered their customers the opportunity to play poker on a regular basis, primarily because they lacked the floor space to offer poker as an alternative to the more common roulette and blackjack. The online casino gambling sites however do not have such space limitations and are therefore able to offer us the opportunity to play a whole range of traditional casino gambling games which were not available in our casinos, including of course poker.
Since the introduction of online casino gambling the game of poker has rapidly become one of the most popular gambling games played online in Ireland, and indeed also across much of the rest of Europe. Even the poker tournaments which used to be the preserve of professional poker players have seen a massive increase in the number of people wanting to play. Many of the tournament organisers are even having to conduct a series of qualifying rounds before the main event, such is the new level of interest. Many people who were only introduced to poker through playing at an online casino gambling site now consider themselves to be semi-professional poker players with ambitions to be full time poker players. There are of course a number of different versions of poker, and whereas 5-card draw poker is still readily available online it is no longer the most popular poker format among serious poker players. That title undoubtedly now belongs to the Texas Hold’em version of poker, which is almost always the poker format now played at major tournaments around the world and is also the most popular poker format on most of the new specialist online poker platforms which have been set up over recent years in response to the increasing popularity of the game. For those of you who have never played Texas Hold’em poker we have detailed the rules on our individual gambling games pages, but here is a brief summary. The main difference between the Texas Hold’em version of poker and most of the others is the use of five community cards which are available to every player to improve their showdown hand. Each player is first dealt two hole cards face down in front of them, after which there is a first betting round. The five community cards are then dealt one at a time face up in the centre of the table, with each of these cards being followed by another betting round. Taken together with the fact that each player can make up their best 5-card hand from a choice of seven available cards instead of five, it is the multiple betting rounds that defines why Texas Hold’em is the favourite poker format among serious players. These two factors clearly lead to bigger pots and also potentially better hands than other versions of poker, but new players should be aware that the multiple betting rounds also mean that the stake money necessary to reach the final showdown stage of each hand is also usually considerably more than the agreed maximum table stake. Anyone considering playing Texas Hold’em at an online poker forum would be well advised to learn the game by playing against the house for fixed odds at a standard online casino gambling site before getting involved in potentially more expensive games against unknown opponents.