When the idea of online gambling was introduced by the leading bookmakers it was targeted solely at their sports gambling customers so that they had the option to place their bets online rather than needing to visit their local betting shop or open a telephone account. Those first online gambling sites quickly proved to be quite popular with regular sports gambling fans, so much so that the site operators started to look at whether there were any other ways to increase the returns on their investment in the technology and software needed to set up those internet sites. The answer was of course the introduction of what we now know as online casino gambling. The start of this move towards establishing the first online casino gambling sites was the result of a decision by the site operators to add a few gambling games to their sports gambling sites in the hope that visitors to those sites would enjoy playing the gambling games as well as gambling on the sports and sporting events they featured. Once again the idea not only proved to be a welcome opportunity for their sports gambling customers to try something different, but it also began to attract a whole new group of gambling fans. Many of these new online casino gambling enthusiasts were of course already regular visitors to a real casino, but it quickly became apparent that the thousands of bingo fans also enjoyed the idea of being able to play bingo online instead of or as well as visiting their local bingo club. Traditional casino gambling games such as roulette and blackjack were obviously going to be popular games online, as were the numerous numbers games based on the principle of bingo, but it was the game of poker which proved to be the surprise package. The game of poker was historically one of the most popular gambling games of all, but certainly here in Ireland and probably also elsewhere in Europe the number of people playing poker regularly had been falling steadily over recent years. Part of the reason for the falling interest in playing poker here in Ireland was that few if any of our real casinos had the floor space or the inclination to offer poker on a regular basis, so poker became a gambling game confined to just a few friendly poker schools held in peoples’ homes or of course the major poker tournaments where most of the players would be professional poker players. The introduction of online casino gambling changed everything when it came to the game of poker and its popularity across the world. Online poker became so successful in fact that it wasn’t long before specialist online poker platforms were established in addition to the regular online casino gambling sites, allowing serious poker players to compete with other like-minded enthusiasts from across the world. The big poker tournaments also saw a huge rise in interest across a much wider audience, and many are now so oversubscribed that they need to run qualifying tournaments before the main event even starts. There are also many more people who claim to be professional poker players than ever before, and most of them will only ever play the game online.
There are of course a number of different versions of poker, most of which are usually available to play for fixed odds against the house at almost every online casino gambling site, but for the serious poker enthusiasts there is now only one version of poker they are interested in and that is the Texas Hold’em format of the game. Texs Hold’em poker is the game of choice for most serious poker players because the use of community cards leads to multiple betting rounds on each hand and therefore much bigger pots for the winner. It is also the version of poker played at almost every major poker tournament in the world and on most of the specialist online poker platforms where serious players compete on a day to day basis. For those readers who want to learn the rules of Texas Hold’em poker we have published them in detail on our individual casino gambling games pages here at gambling.ie, but here is a brief summary of the way the game works. Each player is dealt two hole cards face down in front of them, and this is followed by the first of many betting rounds. A total of five community cards are then dealt one at a time face up in the middle of the table, with a further betting round after each card is dealt. When all five community cards have been dealt and the final betting round has been completed, the remaining players need to make up their best five card poker hand from a combination of their hole cards and the five community cards which are of course available to be used by all of the remaining players. The fact that the players can use any five cards from seven usually also increases the ranking of the winning hands, which is another important factor in the popularity of this poker format compared with most of the other versions of the game. The mostly widely recognised version of poker is however probably 5 card draw poker, which is the version of the game we all recognise from just about every western film which features a scene in a saloon. 5 card draw poker was also the poker format historically played in the gold fields of America and of course on the Mississippi river boats where professional poker players often fleeced unsuspecting travellers. There is no doubt that almost every version of poker tends to reward skill and experience in the long run, so taking time to learn the game before risking serious money would always be the best advice. Remember that when playing poker at one of the online poker platforms, you generally do not know who your opponents are and how much experience they have when compared to you.