Poker is a general name for a variety of gambling card games that generally share betting rules and hand rankings. They differ in how the cards are dealt, how the final hands are made up, and in some cases what constitutes the winning hand. They also vary in the number of betting rounds allowed in each hand. Poker Gambling at Party Poker Party Poker Paddy Power Poker Ladbrokes Poker In standard Poker, each player is gambling that the hand he holds will be the highest ranked hand on the table. There are normally one or two ‘ forced bets ‘, to establish a ‘ pot ‘, and then each player in turn clockwise must either match the highest previous bet ( Call ), or discard his hand ( Fold ). A player may also increase (Raise) the bet. Each round of betting is finished when every player has either matched the highest bet, of folded. If only one player is left, that player will win the pot and can choose whether to reveal his hand or not. This is of course a player’s opportunity to ‘Bluff ‘his opponents, a prime element of the game. If more than one player remains in the game after the final betting round, the hands are revealed and the highest hand will win the pot. For many years, Poker was more of a pastime played between friends, but has now become a massive spectator activity throughout the world, and attracts large numbers of players to international tournaments with massive cash prizes.
The history of Poker is confused, and the subject of much debate. There are a number of historical gambling games similar to Poker, and incorporating betting, hand ranking and bluffing, the earliest of which is the 15th century German game of Pochspiel. Other similar games include As Nas from Persia, and Poque from France, but many think that the name Poker derived from the Irish ‘ Poca ‘. The latest thinking is that the modern game of Poker originated much later in the mid 18th century, spreading along the Mississippi River area of America, where it was played regularly on the riverboats. From there it spread to the West during the Gold Rush, and became the primary form of gambling on cards of the times. At this time, the full deck of 52 cards was used in most games, although a deck of 20 cards was sometimes used where there were only two players. Modern tournament play of which Texas Hold’em is the most popular began in the American Casinos in 1970, with the introduction of the ‘World Series of Poker ‘. Later in the 70’s, the first books began to appear outlining the strategies of gambling on Poker, and ensured that Poker had become a serious gambling game. During the 1990’s, Poker and casino gambling spread rapidly across America, and in 1998 ‘ Planet Poker ‘ started the first ‘ real money ‘ on-line Poker game. This was followed in 1999 in Britain by ‘Late Night Poker ‘broadcasting live games on television, and introducing Poker to many Europeans for the first time. On-line Poker and the televising of major poker tournaments on Satellite and Cable, increased both the audiences and the participants in the game, particularly the ability to play Poker from ones own home.
Most varieties of Poker follow the same pattern of play, with the right to deal rotating clockwise round the players, although in Casino Poker the house dealer will deal the cards, with the nominated dealer marked by a plastic disc often called the “button “to determine the order of betting. The cards are dealt clockwise around the table, one at a time, either face-up or face-down, depending on the form of the game being played. After the first deal the betting round begins with the player to the left of the dealer making a ‘forced bet ‘. The second player may also be required to make a ‘forced bet ‘, to establish a pot. The betting round continues until all the players have matched the highest bet, or folded. The dealer will then deal the next round of cards and a new betting round starts. After the final betting round, the remaining players reveal their hands and the best ranked hand wins the pot. A Poker hand comprises 5 cards, or in some variants the best 5 cards. The many variations of Poker can be split into certain groups, or families:- Straight Poker – This is the oldest form of Poker, with a full hand of cards being dealt to each player one card at a time, with just one betting round during which raising and re-raising is allowed until the remaining players have all matched the highest bet. The winning hand is then revealed. This form of Poker is rarely played, with most players preferring the more complex formats which enable more strategy to be employed. Stud Poker – The cards are dealt one at a time, either face-up or face-down, with a round of betting between each deal.
The most popular form of Stud Poker is 7-card stud, in which an extra 2 cards are dealt to each player so that each player has 7 cards with 3 cards face-down and 4 cards face-up, from which the player makes the best 5 card hand. Draw Poker – Each player is dealt a full 5 card hand, one card at a time and face-down. There is then a betting round, after which the remaining players have the opportunity to improve their hands by discarding the cards they do not want, and receivi9ng new cards from the dealer. The most popular form of Draw Poker is 5-card draw. Community Card Poker ( or Flop Poker ) – This is a variant of Stud Poker, with each player being dealt an incomplete hand of face-down cards, and then a number of face-up community cards are dealt into the middle of the table, each of which can be used by any player to make a 5 card hand. Variations of this format include Texas Hold’em and Omaha. Other variations include Acey-Deucey ( or Red Dog ), 3-card Poker and Pai Gow, all of which are played in Casinos against the House.