There is very little in this world that has not been affected by what we tend to call the march of technology, particularly when we look at the effects of computer science and the internet. We have almost reached the situation where many of us do not actually have to venture away from our homes if we choose not to. We can do all our shopping online, manage our bank accounts and pay our bills online, and of course communicate with friends and family in a number of different ways through our lap top, tablet or smart phone. Nowadays many of us already don’t even need to leave our homes to carry out our work commitments, and if expert predictions are to be believed that number will continue to grow. Even how many of us use our leisure time has been influenced by this new technology, including how we watch television and listen to music. Here at gambling.ie we are of course primarily interested in how the internet and the various connecting devices have also changed our gambling habits as well as the other aspects of our daily lives we have already mentioned. It is now over twenty years since the big bookmakers began to enable us to do our sports gambling online rather than through the betting shops. Not long after that they also began to introduce a variety of gambling games on those sports gambling sites, leading to the establishment of what we now refer to as the online casino gambling sector. Although the introduction of online sports gambling did not necessarily increase the number of people gambling on sports and sporting events, the chance to play a huge range of gambling games from our internet devices did attract a much bigger following than anybody may have predicted. Traditional casino games such as roulette and blackjack were clearly going to appeal to people who already visited one of our real casinos, and the various new numbers games were successfully targeted at the thousands of bingo fans here in Ireland, but it was the revival of the game of poker which caught most observers by surprise. No one was the least bit surprised that the online slots gambling games quickly became the most popular online casino gambling games, but of all the traditional games we could now play online it was online poker that undoubtedly attracted the greatest interest among the new online gambling community. The game of poker does of course have a long history particularly in America, but over the years the number of people in Ireland playing poker on a regular basis had declined dramatically so that playing poker had become a leisure activity confined to a few groups of friends having a poker evening in one of their homes. There were of course still the major poker tournaments being held all over the world, but most of these were generally the preserve of professional poker players and it was very rare for an amateur player to become involved. The introduction of online poker has however changed that position very quickly, and all the major poker tournaments are now usually oversubscribed to such an extent that many of them need to hold qualifying rounds before the main event.
There are of course several different versions of poker, starting with the basic 5 card draw poker we all remember from the westerns we watched in our youth and moving on to the more modern poker formats such as Texas Hold’em. 5 card draw poker is still popular among online gambling fans who prefer to play poker for fixed odds against the house, and it is also an excellent introduction to the game of poker for those with ambitions to eventually play the game more seriously. The most popular poker format among serious poker players is now without doubt the Texas Hold’em version of the game, and it is this form of poker which is played at almost every poker tournament and on most specialist online poker platforms. Anyone interested in learning how to play Texas Hold’em poker can check the rules on our individual gambling games pages here at gambling.ie, but here is a brief summary of what makes Texas Hold’em poker different from other versions of the game. Each player is first dealt two cards face down in front of them, and this is then followed by the first of several betting rounds. When all the remaining players have committed the same stake, the first of five community cards is dealt face up into the middle of the table. This is followed by the second betting round which once again only ends when every remaining player has bet the same amount of money. The remaining four community cards are also dealt one at a time face up into the middle of the table, and again there is a further betting round after each card is dealt. When all five community cards have been dealt, each remaining player will form their best five card poker hand from their two hole cards and any three of the open community cards which are available for every player to use. In theory being able to select the best five card hand from a choice of seven cards should improve the quality of the show down hands, but it is the multiple betting rounds associated with the Texas Hold’em version of poker which have made this format the game of choice for serious poker fans. Clearly the winning pots are potentially much bigger than are common with simpler versions of poker such as 5-card draw poker and that is why most serious players prefer it. A word of warning however, the multiple betting rounds also mean that a player is likely to need to risk far more money on each hand than would be the case in other formats of the game, simply to reach the showdown stage. Texas Hold’em poker is not for the feint hearted, nor for those on a limited budget, but it is still becoming even more popular.