The introduction of online gambling has undoubtedly changed almost everything about the gambling scene in Ireland. Our sports gambling used to be almost entirely restricted to gambling on horse racing, greyhound racing and football, but the online sports gambling sites now provide us with far more choice than we ever had before. Our sports gambling options now include almost every sport or sporting event you could think off, including events taking place on the other side of the world. The same huge increase in gambling options can also be found on the many casino gambling sites which have come on stream over the last few years. The idea of playing gambling games online started when the big bookmakers were looking for ways to maximise returns on their investments in their online sports gambling sites. This led them to adding a few gambling games to those sites and the idea proved so popular that they all started to add even more games so that the casino gambling element of their original sports gambling sites just kept getting bigger and bigger. Here at gambling.ie we have watched this rapid expansion of the online casino gambling sector with great interest, particularly now that the big bookmakers have been joined by a number of smaller specialist online casino gambling providers with a whole new range of gambling games for us to enjoy. The success of online casino gambling is almost certainly the result of the availability of such a huge range of gambling games, not only on every individual site but also across the increasing number of different sites we can now access. Most of these games are of course slots games in various forms, but bingo enthusiasts and fans of the more traditional casino gambling games are also well served by all the online casino gambling sites. Those of us who enjoy playing the more traditional gambling games have been particularly pleased that we are no longer restricted to playing roulette and blackjack, we now have access to other traditional casino games such as craps, baccarat and backgammon, none of which were previously available here in Ireland. There is however another traditional gambling game which has probably benefitted from the introduction of online gambling more than any other, and that is the game of poker. The number of people playing poker online has increased massively over the last few years, and there are even specialist online poker forums which enable serious poker fans to play against each other at any time, day or night. Even the poker tournaments around the world are now mostly oversubscribed because of the number of people who have taken up playing poker as a serious hobby since online gambling brought the game back to our attention. These poker tournaments have for many years been the preserve of professional poker players, but they have now been joined by both a new breed of professionals and a number of enthusiastic amateurs wanting to try their luck.
The oldest version of poker was of course the 5-card draw poker most of us were introduced to in all the old westerns we watched as kids, but nowadays almost all of the serious poker players tend to restrict their playing activities to the Texas Hold’em format of poker, because it is this version of the game which is now played in almost every tournament around the world. Texas Hold’em poker is popular among the serious players because it uses community cards and therefore entails many more betting rounds before the showdown, which of course increases the size of the pot. In the case of Texas Hold’em poker, each player is dealt two hole cards face down in front of them, followed by the first betting round. Five community cards are then dealt one at a time face up into the middle of the table, each one followed by another betting round. For those who are not yet familiar with the game of poker, a betting round in all forms of the game usually starts with the player immediately to the left of the dealer placing an opening bet. Each player clockwise around the table can then fold, call the bet or raise, and the betting round is only complete when every remaining player has staked the same amount of money. As far as Texas Hold’em is concerned the most obvious thing that a potential new poker player should be aware of is that with so many betting rounds it can lead to a high degree of monetary risk just to stay in the game as far as the showdown. Serious Texas Hold’em enthusiasts would argue of course that this is what makes this particular poker format so exciting compared to other versions of the game. Most online casino gambling sites also offer Texas Hold ‘em as a game which can be played against the house for fixed odds, ideal for new players wishing to learn the game. There are of course a number of other versions of poker available on most casino gambling sites including the game of 5-card draw which first became popular in America on the river boats and in the gold fields of the west coast. There are also several versions of stud poker featured on almost every online casino gambling site, and all of these different poker formats can be played for small stakes and fixed odds. You do not have to have a big budget to enjoy playing poker online. For those who enjoy the idea of playing poker with community cards, Texas Hold’em is not the only poker format which uses community cards. Some casino gambling sites feature another poker game called Omaha poker which also uses five community cards, but in this case each player is dealt four hole cards instead of two. The showdown hand is therefore made up from a choice of nine cards rather than seven as is the case with Texas Hold’em. Again Omaha poker can be played against the house for fixed odds and for small stakes.