When the major bookmakers decided to add a few gambling games to their established online sports gambling sites they began a whole new popular gambling scene. Online casino gambling is now almost as popular in Ireland as sports gambling, and the range of gambling games we can play online continues to increase as more and more casino gambling sites come on stream. Clearly the vast majority of the new gambling games we can play online are slots games in various forms, but the traditional casino gambling games have also played a big part in the success of online casino gambling. Many would argue that it was primarily the more traditional casino gambling games which first attracted the attention of casino games enthusiasts towards online gambling, and there is certainly no doubt that traditional gambling games such as roulette, blackjack and poker have all contributed to the success of online casino gambling sites. Although in terms of sheer numbers the slots and video slots continue to dominate almost every online casino gambling site, the traditional game of poker has certainly proved to be by far the most popular individual gambling game available online, and the number of people playing poker online continues to increase. Online poker has almost become an internet gambling sector in its own right, and the specialist online poker platforms continue to attract new players who want to test their luck and their skill against other poker enthusiasts around the world. Poker is of course not a new gambling game by any means, and was particularly popular in America during the gold rush and on the river boats of the Mississippi where professional gamblers plied their trade. Here in Ireland however playing poker had almost become a very rare pastime indeed, generally being confined to small poker schools where it was played among friends in someone’s house. There were of course a few poker tournaments here in Ireland, including the Irish Open, but these were generally the preserve of professional gamblers and were rarely entered by amateur players. Since the introduction of online casino gambling however, and the widespread accessibility of specialist online poker sites that situation has changed out of all recognition. Almost every poker tournament is now oversubscribed and many are now forced to run qualifying rounds to determine who gets a place at the main event. The professional poker players are now being challenged by increasing numbers of new semi-professional poker enthusiasts who play regularly on one of the many online poker platforms whenever they have some free time.
The game of choice for almost all the professional and semi-professional poker players nowadays is the Texas Hold’em version of the game, and this is also the poker format used in most poker tournaments around the world. Texas hold’em poker differs from the 5-card draw poker format we were used to seeing in our favourite westerns by employing what are known as community cards which are available for use by every player to form their showdown hand at the end of the game. The use of community cards also results in far more betting rounds being held than most other versions of the game. 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, with a further betting round after each of these cards has been dealt. When all the community cards have been dealt the remaining players construct their best five card poker hand from their two blind hole cards and the five community cards which are face up in the middle of the table. Although the ranking of the hands is the same as in every other version of poker, the use of community cards which are available to every player does change what may appear to be a good hand in any other version of the game, and because of this we would always advise potential new players to gain experience by playing at a normal online casino site against the house for fixed odds before venturing onto one of the specialist online poker platforms where you may not know how experienced your opponent may be. New players should also be aware that when playing the Texas Hold’em version of poker the multiple betting rounds mean that they may need to risk a considerable amount of money to even reach the showdown stage of each hand, and that the maximum table stake is almost irrelevant in terms of what you need to gamble to win a hand. There is no doubt that the Texas Hold’em version of poker is probably the most exciting format of the game, but it is not the only version of poker available online and most online casino gambling sites offer a full range of different games to suit all tastes and budgets.
5-card draw poker for example is featured on almost every online casino gambling site and it can usually be played for a variety of different table stakes, from very small to quite big stakes. Most online casinos also now offer a variety of different games based on the traditional game of poker, all of which can be played for a variety of different levels of stake money and they all provide good experience for new players. For those who really want to play poker more seriously and therefore want to learn the nuances of the Texas Hold’em version of the game, we would still recommend that they first learn the game by playing for fixed odds against the house at a standard online casino site before moving on to a specialist poker platform. Although Texas Hold’em poker is of course still a game of chance in which luck plays a considerable role, there is no doubt that experience does play a big part in who wins in the long run. As far as possible make sure you know who you are playing against before gambling with high stakes.