Over the last twenty years we have seen huge changes affecting almost every aspect of our daily lives, mostly driven of course by rapid advances in computer technology and the widespread connectivity to the internet. Although much of the publicity regarding the effects of the internet on our everyday lives has centred on the retail sector and the demise of our town centres, we have also seen significant changes in other areas including of course the gambling industry. Online gambling is continuing to grow in popularity as our gambling options are increased, and there is no reason to suppose that the trend towards gambling online will slow down any time soon. When the first online sports gambling sites were introduced they enabled us to follow a much wider range of sports and sporting events than ever before, but by far the biggest increase in our gambling options as a result of the internet came about when the bookmakers began to add gambling games to their sports gambling sites. Online casino gambling sites now offer a huge range of different new gambling games for us to enjoy, but they have also revived our interest in some of the more traditional casino gambling games, none more so than the game of poker. The game of poker has a long history of course and most of us will probably remember 5-card draw poker being played in almost every western film which featured a saloon scene. It was also played on the Mississippi river boats where professional players earned their living by beating some of the wealthy passengers. Some of the original traditional casino games such as roulette and blackjack remained popular because they were available in almost every real casino, but the game of poker was rarely featured as a regular option and had slowly faded from our consciousness. There were a few regular poker schools being held in private homes with games being played amongst groups of friends, but that was about it as far as the popularity of poker was concerned. Since the introduction of online poker however the game has really taken off and is now almost certainly the most popular of all the traditional casino gambling games featured online. There are even specialist online poker platforms where serious poker players of all standards can compete against each other almost twenty four hours a day. There is no doubt that the internet and online gambling has dramatically increased the number of people who would consider themselves to be serious poker players, and that has been shown by the huge increase in applications to take part in major tournaments all over the world.
We have already commented on the history of 5-card draw poker, but that is not the version of poker which attracts the most attention among the new breed of poker players. Most serious poker players concentrate nowadays on the Texas Hold’em format of poker, and that is also the version of poker most commonly used for the major poker tournaments around the world. Although the ranking of the hands is the same for all forms of poker there is a huge difference between 5-card draw poker and Texas Hold’em poker when it comes to the potential rewards and of course the associated risks. Texas Hold’em poker uses five community cards which can be used by every player in addition to their two individual hole cards to form their best five card poker hand. The showdown hands are therefore the best of seven cards rather than five, which usually leads to higher ranking hands at the showdown, but that is not the main reason why the Texas Hold’em poker format is so popular among serious poker players. Each player is first dealt two hole cards face down in front of them, followed by the first betting round. The five community cards are then dealt one at a time face up into the middle of the table, each card being followed by a further betting round. The Texas Hold’em format of poker therefore has far more betting rounds than 5-card draw poker leading to much bigger pots at the showdown stage of the game, and this is of course why this form of poker is so popular among serious players. That popularity has also led to a remarkable transformation in the world of poker tournaments. Not that many years ago most poker tournaments were the preserve of long term professional poker players, but they have now been joined by a huge number of new semi-professional players and even a few enthusiastic amateurs. Many poker tournaments are now oversubscribed and need to run qualifying rounds to decide who gets a seat at the main event. Clearly the possibility of winning big pots is very appealing, but remember there is only one winner in every hand and to even get as far as the showdown hand will inevitably involve a substantial investment over the many betting rounds. It is also true that there are significant differences between what may appear to be a good hand in 5-card draw poker and what is a promising hand in Texas Hold’em poker, so any of our readers who may be considering starting to play the Texas Hold’em version of poker would be well advised to gain experience before playing on one of the online poker platforms. Most experts would agree that experience is of paramount importance in the more complex Texas Hold’em format of poker and the more experienced player holds a significant advantage in the long run. Almost every online casino gambling site features a variety of different versions of poker, including Texas Hold’em poker, and they can all be played for fixed odds against the house providing valuable experience for any new player. There are also a number of specialist online poker sites specifically targeted at beginners so they represent another way to learn the game. It is important to remember that when you are playing any form of poker on an online poker platform you do not usually know anything about your opponent or how experienced they may be.