There is no doubt that the internet has already changed how we live our lives, and clearly it will continue to do so. We love the convenience of being able to do much of our shopping online and many of us even manage most of our financial transactions online including paying bills and looking after our bank accounts. The internet has also changed how many of us spend our leisure time including of course how we enjoy our gambling, with more and more of us nowadays almost exclusively gambling online. It is now about twenty years since the leading bookmakers decided to invest in the technology and software necessary to set up their online sports gambling sites, and of course it then wasn’t long before they began to add a few gambling games to those sites and begin what we now know as online casino gambling. Convenience was clearly one of the important factors in the success of online gambling, but many would argue that it was the massive increase in our gambling options as a result of the introduction of online gambling which was the most important element of that success. As far as we are concerned here at gambling.ie both of these factors obviously contributed to the rapid expansion of the online gambling sector and we are enjoying the fact that the online sports gambling sites now cover a much greater variety of sports and sporting events, but it is the online casino gambling sites where the biggest changes in our gambling options have undoubtedly occurred. The range of online gambling games we can now play is astonishing, and it is here that we have seen by far the biggest increase in the number of people gambling online. It is also where we have seen another massive change in our gambling habits, with the huge resurgence in gambling on poker. Of all the traditional gambling games we can now enjoy playing on all the online casino gambling sites, poker has attracted the greatest interest particularly among new casino gambling fans. Poker is not a new gambling game of course and most of us will remember that just about every saloon scene in the old western movies including a group of men playing 5-card draw poker. This form of poker was probably the most popular gambling game in that period of American history and was played in the goldfields and on the Mississippi river boats often for very high stakes. In Ireland however and in many other parts of Europe the popularity of poker had waned and was certainly no longer an important element of the gambling scene.
Part of the reason for the decline of poker on this side of the Atlantic was that the game was rarely available at our real casinos because most of them were too small to be able to allocate the necessary floor space to poker tables. Poker had therefore been relegated to being a gambling game played among friends during a regular meeting at someone’s house. The introduction of online casino gambling sites has however changed that situation entirely, and there are now even specialist online poker sites which enable the rapidly growing army of serious poker fans to compete with each other 24 hours a day and right around the world. From being almost totally the preserve of professional gamblers a few years ago even the big poker tournaments such as the Irish Open are now almost always oversubscribed, and many now run qualifying tournaments to decide who wins a seat at the main event. Some observers would argue that the surge in interest in gambling on poker actually began before online poker gambling became available, and was the result of televised poker tournaments becoming available on satellite and cable television. There is no doubt that television coverage always stirs interest in any sports or pastime, but in terms of participation being able to play poker online has in our opinion been the biggest impetus to poker gambling across the world.
The other most notable effect of the introduction of online poker gambling and the increase in the number of people playing the game seriously is that 5-card draw poker is no longer the version of poker played by serious poker fans. Almost every big poker tournament and most of the specialist online poker platforms now concentrate on the Texas Hold’em format of the game. There are two main reasons why Texas Hold’em poker has become the game of choice for serious poker players, one of which is the potential for better hands and the other is the much bigger winnings pots which tend to result from the multiple betting rounds during a game of Texas Hold’em poker. The reason for both of these factors is that Texas Hold’em poker uses five community cards so that each player is able to make up their showdown hand from seven cards rather than five, and there is a betting round after each community card is dealt. Each player is dealt two hole cards face down in front of them, followed by the first betting round. The community cards are then dealt one at a time face up into the middle of the table with each one followed by a further betting round. By the time the game reaches the point of the showdown, the pot is therefore likely to be considerably bigger than that available in a 5-card draw poker game. The fact that each player has access to the same five community cards does change the tactics and the apparent value of particular hands, so new players are advised to gain some experience of this form of poker before playing for potentially high stakes at an online poker platform. Remember almost every online casino gambling site offers a wide range of different versions of poker, all of which can be played for fixed odds and relatively small stakes against the house. Texas Hold’em poker is an exciting gambling game but the multiple betting rounds usually make the agreed minimum stakes irrelevant at the end of the game.