The spread of internet access has had a huge effect on almost every aspect of our lives, including of course how we spend our leisure time. It goes without saying that our primary interest here at gambling.ie is of course the effect that online gambling in particular has had on the gambling community and the gambling industry as a whole. Clearly our ability to do our sports gambling online has had a big effect on the high street betting shops, but in this article we are going to concentrate on the effects of the introduction of online casino gambling and in particular the casino gambling games we now play. All the online casino gambling sites now offer a huge range of gambling games on their sites and although most of them are slots games, the traditional casino gambling games such as roulette, blackjack and poker are also freely available. The game of poker for example has probably been the gambling game which has seen the biggest resurgence in popularity of any of the traditional casino gambling games since the introduction of online casinos, and is now one of the most popular gambling games in Ireland and around the world. This is of course not the first time that poker has been the game of choice for gamblers and we only have to look back to 18th century America in the gold fields and on the Mississippi river boats to find the peak in the popularity of poker, but that popularity had waned over the years particularly among amateur gamblers. Quite how this resurgence started is open to debate, but many believe that it was the introduction of the World Series of Poker by a group of American casinos which was the catalyst. There are now poker tournaments all over the world, including of course the Irish Open and they are all over subscribed with potential players often needing to go through qualifying rounds to even get to the main event. However it is not just the professional and semi-professional tournament players who have driven up the popularity of poker gambling, the game of poker is now one of the most popular online gambling games played online. There are even specialist poker forums where poker fans can play against each other, and almost every online casino offers a variety of different poker games which can be played against the house.
Any discussion regarding gambling on poker nowadays has to start with the Texas Hold’em format of the game. Texas Hold’em is now the most popular poker game of all particularly among serious poker players, primarily because it is the poker format played in almost every poker tournament around the world. Texas Hold’em poker uses what are called community cards which are dealt into the middle of the table and can be used by all the players to make up their showdown hand. Each player is first dealt two cards face down in front of them, usually called their hole cards, and they then complete the first betting round. Every version of poker uses the same format when it comes to betting rounds. The player immediately to the left of the dealer opens the betting and can choose to fold or place a bet. The next player to the left can then fold, call or raise the bet. If he folds then he is out of the hand but If he calls then he has matched the bet and the betting round continues clockwise around the table. When a player raises the bet every player must then match that increased bet to stay in the hand and complete the betting round. When the first betting round has finished the five community cards are then dealt face up into the middle of the table one at a time, with a further betting round after each card is dealt. It is this series of betting rounds which make the Texas Hold’em poker format so popular among serious poker players, because it clearly substantially increases the size of the pot available for the winner. It is also true that because the players can select their best 5-card hand from 7 cards, the quality of the hands is usually improved. Although Texas Hold’em is clearly a very exciting version of poker, we should offer a word of warning for any inexperienced poker players thinking of trying their hand at Texas Hold’em. First of all the multiple betting rounds inevitably lead to players needing to continue to increase their financial commitment each hand to stay in the game, so that the final stake money can be considerably higher than perhaps intended. It is also true that Texas Hold’em poker is a game where experience is a definite advantage, so we would suggest that beginners should start by playing Texas Hold’em against the house for fixed odds at an online casino to learn the game.
The online casinos do offer a wide range of different versions of poker gambling, including the simplest and probably the oldest version, 5-card Draw poker. This is of course the poker format which we used to see being played in the saloons in just about every western shown in the cinema, and was indeed the game played in the American gold fields and on the river boats. In the case of 5-card Draw poker there is usually what is called an ante bet to establish a pot before the cards are dealt. This can be the responsibility of one designated player each hand or every player for each hand, depending on what is agreed. Five cards are then dealt one at a time, face down in front of each player. There is then a betting round during which every player who decides to stay in the hand will again have matched the highest stake. Each player then has the chance to exchange any or all of their cards with new cards from the dealer, or they can play the hand as it stands. There is then a final betting round and the cards are revealed with the winning hand taking the pot. Other versions of poker commonly available online include 7-card Stud, Red Dog, and Pai Gow, all of which are good introductions to poker gambling.