In view of the fact that so many of us now use the internet to help us in our daily lives we should not be surprised at how successful online gambling has become. When the major bookmakers decided to follow the example of some big high street retailers and set up their own internet gambling sites we doubt that anyone foresaw just how influential that decision would be on our gambling habits. Initially of course these online gambling sites were targeted at their sports gambling customers and they offered a very much wider range of sports gambling options than could ever have been available through the high street betting shops. This opportunity for sports gambling fans to follow a much bigger range of sports plus the convenience of being able to do so at home without the need to go into town led to a rapid rise in the number of people gambling online and following what had previously been considered to be minor sports in gambling terms. Having invested the time and money to set up these sites, the bookmakers clearly wanted to get the maximum return they could on that investment, and this led to the introduction of what we now call online casino gambling. The idea of introducing some gambling games onto their sports gambling sites was immediately successful. Sports gambling fans were happy to play a few gambling games as well as using the sites to place their sports bets, and the idea quickly started to appeal to other gambling fans. There was probably very little surprise that casino gambling enthusiasts were attracted to the idea of playing their favourite gambling games such as roulette and blackjack online, but bingo fans and slot machine enthusiasts were also targeted extremely successfully and quickly came on board. All of these groups clearly enjoyed being able to play gambling games online, but the biggest change in our gambling habits as a result of the introduction of online gambling was the resurgence of interest in the game of poker. The game of poker is not new of course and poker gambling was for many years the most popular form of gambling in many parts of the world. We have all seen the old westerns in which almost every scene involving a saloon also featured a game of draw poker, and there were a large number of professional poker gamblers operating on the Mississippi river boats, but over time the popularity of poker gambling had declined. In Ireland very few of our casinos offered the opportunity for us to play poker regularly, and although the big poker tournaments such as the Irish Open still attracted a good attendance you could hardly claim that gambling on poker was a mainstream activity. Television coverage of the major poker tournaments was probably the first stimulus to poker gambling becoming popular again, but most observers would argue that the online casino gambling sites were what really brought poker gambling back to life.
For serious poker gambling fans there is of course only one version of poker which attracts their attention, and that is the Texas Hold’em format of the game. This is the poker format which is used in almost every big poker tournament in the world, which is why Texas Hold’em has become the game of choice for most serious fans of gambling on poker. The main difference between the Texas Hold’em format of poker and most of the other versions of the game lies in the use of community cards. Community cards are cards which are dealt face up into the centre of the table and are available to all the players to form their showdown hands. Each player is first dealt two hole cards face down in front of them, and the first betting round then takes place. Five community cards are then dealt one at a time face up into the centre of the table, with a further betting round after each of these cards is dealt. It is the number of betting rounds associated with the Texas Hold’em format of poker which makes the game so popular with serious poker gamblers, but this is also the reason why this form of poker gambling can be risky for inexperienced players. Although the minimum table stake may seem reasonable prospective players should be aware that with multiple betting rounds before even reaching the showdown, their investment in each hand can grow very quickly. There is no doubt that the Texas Hold’em format of poker gambling is probably the most exciting, but it is certainly not the only version of the game available online.
In fact Texas Hold’em is not even the only version of poker gambling available at our online casino gambling sites which uses community cards. Many of the online casinos also offer the chance to play Omaha poker against the house. If the idea of playing poker with community cards appeals to you but you do not want to get involved with playing Texas Hold’em for potentially high stakes, then Omaha poker may be the game for you. Omaha poker still uses five community cards in the same way as Texas Hold’em, but each player is dealt four hole cards instead of two. This means that the showdown hands can be made up from a selection of nine cards rather than seven, which should in theory improve the quality of the hands.
There are also a number of other versions of poker gambling available at most online casino sites, including several versions of stud poker plus draw poker and some less well-known games based on poker such as Red Dog and Pai Gow. All of these poker gambling games can be played against the house for fixed odds and relatively small stakes, and offer inexperienced poker players an excellent way to learn the game. Remember that most people would agree that when playing poker formats such as Texas Hold’em, the experienced player will always have the edge in the long run, so if you are on a poker forum be aware that you do not usually now your opponents.