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Online Poker

a Modern Version of the Best Game of all Time

What is Poker and Where Does it Come From?
Few will not have heard of poker – the classic gambling game using a standard 52-card deck, in which the goal is simple: walk away from the table with all of your opponents’ money at the end of the game. In theory, the number of people who can play poker together at one table is limited only by the number of cards in the deck, but in practice the limit is usually ten players.

Poker card game

The roots of the modern game “poker” are thought to have been put down many hundreds of years ago. Certainly, there was a similar game, called “Pochen”, in Germany by the 15th century, and another in France, called “Poque”.

It was also France that gave us the suits in the standard decks of cards that are still used today. The suits represent different parts of French society of the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: spades are for the kingdom, diamonds for traders, hearts for the clergy and clubs for the populace.

It seems, though, that we owe the game that we today understand as Poker not to Europe but to America. It was the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom who published the rules to draw poker, in 1872, and this was followed eight years later by the emergence of Texas Hold ‘em – still the most popular version of the game. Around the turn of the century (1896), a magazine called “Poker Chips” began publication, and the first full-length, official handbook hit the presses in 1904, courtesy of R.F. Foster and his tome “Practical Poker”.

Nowadays, people around the world play this game, and although Texas Hold ‘em remains the most popular, it’s by no means the only variant. Here are some of the others:

  • Omaha Poker
  • Omaha High-Low
  • Five Card Draw
  • Seven Card Stud
  • 2-7 Draw (Triple or Single)
  • Razz
  • Badugi

Poker Rules – Easy to Learn, But Mastery Requires Dedication
Many people can be put off playing poker because they think the rules are complicated. In fact, poker rules are fairly basic, and there are common elements that cover every variety of the game. In short, each player receives a number of cards, which they use as a base to build the best hand possible. To do this they may make different plays (such as fold, check, raise, call and place bets), all the while trying to bluff their opponents into thinking they have better or worse cards, and to second guess what the other players are holding.

Poker Jargon
Understanding the language of game is vital if you are to learn how to play poker and get the maximum enjoyment (and winnings) from it. Here are some of the key words and phrases to commit to memory:
• Fold – the player discards their cards and withdraws from the round. They lose any placed chips or money, and do not participate further in the round.
• Check – a player waits for other people at the table to play, and does not raise or fold.
• Call – a player equals the stake, which was played by another in that round.
• Bet – establishing the stake by the first person.
• Raise – a player increases the bet, forcing others to check, raise or fold (once one player raises, the others cannot check).
• All-in – where a player puts up all their money or chips and, in the event of defeat, is out of the whole game.
• Starting hand – the cards that a player receives at the beginning of each hand.
• Fixed limit – fixed stake determined before the start of the game.
• Pot limit – allowing any stake no exceeding the value of the pot.
• No limit – allowing any stake, limited only by the amount of money or chips a player holds.

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Poker Hands – the Cards that Count

Winning at poker means building the best hand possible. But what are these hands (combinations), and how do they compare to each other? The list below shows them in order from best to worst – along with the number possible in a given round, and the probability of making the hand.

1. Royal Flush

cards of the same suit, from ten to ace.
Number of combinations: 4
Probability: approx. 0.000154%

2. Straight Flush

cards of the same suit in order. When several players have this hand, the one with the highest high card wins.
Number of possible combinations: 36
Probability: approx. 0.001385%

3. Four of a Kind

four cards of the same value. When several players have this hand, the player with the stronger cards wins. If a winner cannot be determined in this manner, the high card wins.
Number of possible combinations: 624
Probability: approx. 0.024%

4. Full House

hand consisting of a pair and a three of a kind. If several players have this hand, the one with the stronger three of a kind wins. When several players have the same three of a kind, the stronger pair wins.
Number of possible combinations: 3744
Probability: approx. 0.144%

5. Flush

Five cards of the same suit. When several players have this hand, the high card wins.
Number of possible combinations: 5108
Probability: approx. 0.197%

6. Straight

five cards in consecutive order. The ace can be either a high or low card. The winning hand is the one with the stronger high card.
Number of possible combinations: 10200
Probability: approx. 0.392%

7. Three of a Kind

three cards of the same value. When several players have this hand, the player with the higher value cards wins. If a winner cannot be determined in this manner, the high card wins.
Number of possible combinations: 54912
Probability: approx. 2.113%

8. Two pairs

hand consisting of two different pairs. When several players have this hand, the one with the stronger pair wins. If the high pairs are the same, the second pair decides the winner. When the winner still cannot be determined, the high card wins.
Number of possible combinations: 123552
Probability: approx. 4.754%

9. Pair

two cards of the same value. When several players have this hand, the one with the stronger pair wins. In the event that the pairs are the same, the high card will decide the winner.
Number of possible combinations: 1098240
Probability: approx. 42.257%

10. High Card

any hand that does not qualify for any of the above. When several players have this hand, the one with the second highest card wins.
Number of possible combinations: 1302540
Probability: approx. 50.118%

One Poker Game to Rule them All – Texas Hold ‘em and How to Play
1. Each player takes their position at the table.
2. The two players clockwise from the dealer make the first bets. These are called the small blind and big blind, and the amounts ae agreed before the game begins. During the course of the game, the role of dealer also rotates clockwise.
3. Each player is dealt two cards, and the player to the left of the person playing the big blind makes the first move. They can raise, check or fold.
4. The player who placed the small blind will already have bet half the required amount to see the flop (see below), while the one who placed the big blind will have bet the full amount – unless someone else raises before their turn arrives, in which case the big blind must raise, check or fold.
5. The flop – three community cards are dealt onto the table, and may be used by any player still in the game to begin constructing a hand in conjunction with the two cards they already hold. This is followed by a betting round, beginning with the person who played the small blind (if they have not folded – in which case the next person clockwise starts). It may be that, during this round, nobody adds anything to the pot, in which case players may wait for the next card. If the stakes are raised, players must raise, check or fold.
6. The turn – a fourth community card is dealt onto the table by the dealer. Betting starts again, following the above pattern.
7. The river – this is the fifth and final community card, which heralds the decisive round of betting. Why decisive? Because the player who has the best hand at the end will take the whole pot.
8. A player who raises may win the pot – possibly on a good bluff – if nobody else at the table checks. In this case, the winner may choose to show their cards openly, or maintain their mystery and return them face down to the dealer.
9. A new hand begins, with the person to the left of the previous dealer taking on the role. But that’s not the only change. Blinds increase as play progresses during tournaments, rising incrementally according to the number of players who have dropped out and those remaining in the game.
10. A poker tournament ends when all but one player have been eliminated. This may result in a windfall for the winner, scooping the entire pot, or the prize may be split between the final three players.

Tips, Tactics and Strategy for Poker

If you have only one kind of game, you are not likely to go very far in poker. You need to know different strategies, and when best to employ each of them. Such strategies include:

  • The economical game.
  • The random game.
  • The aggressive game.
  • The game based on taking advantage of opponents’ errors.

Why is it worth playing poker online games?

Every day, millions of people around the world play poker online. Free applications and websites are attracting more and more fans of this game. Do you also want to start your adventure with this fun form of entertainment? Find out why you should play poker online games!

Get to know different types of poker games!

Poker is a game that has a lot of variations. There’s Texas hold’em, Omaha, Seven-card stud or Five-card poker and these are just a few of the most popular types of games. Is there a way to get to know them all? Definitely. However, if you use traditional methods, it will take you a very long time. You would have to find reliable information about each variant and then read it carefully. If you want to learn how to play these games, you would also need someone to show you how the gameplay looks like. As you can see, it’s a long learning process.

However, there is a place where you can play all types of poker – the Internet! Poker online games offer the opportunity to play any type of variant. Thanks to them you will familiarize yourself and will learn to play all the varieties that interest you. Poker online games have clearly written rules, so you can play them almost instantly. You will not have to worry about the costs. All you need is to choose to play free online poker games. In this way, without any risk you will be able to try your hand at any variant of this game and find your favorite one.

Play online poker games and shine at the poker table

Do you play poker with friends or have you dreamt of playing a real casino game? Would you like to improve your skills and your game? Free online poker games are simply made for you! Thanks to them you can practice new strategies, and maybe even develop your own tactics. You will also solidify your knowledge of the rules and gameplay – skills that are invaluable at the poker table.

Perhaps you’re not convinced that playing free online poker games can have a real impact on your skills? Here’s the story of Chris Moneymaker. In 2003, this accountant and amateur poker player won the main tournament at the World Series of Poker, the most prestigious tournament in the world. He was the first winner to qualify thanks to online games. He won a big prize – 2.5 million dollars. After this event, there was a sharp increase in the interest of online poker games. Many people wanted to be as successful as Chris. Also, many websites have arisen that offer both paid and free online poker games.

Play free online poker games for fun and money

So you don’t want to risk your money when you play poker online? Free internet games are just the thing for you! They will also provide you with great entertainment, just like paid ones. Without worrying about the state of your finances, you will be able to relax and focus better on the game. Thanks to the bonuses offered to new users, you do not have to risk your own money.

Do you like the thrill of gameplay? Or maybe you want to simultaneously earn and play poker online? Free websites and mobile applications also give you this opportunity. Thanks to them, the best players have the opportunity to win real money. You do not have to pay for the game to have a chance to earn money.

Online poker games deliver as much emotion as poker table games. So if you are a fan of poker and have not tried your hand at online games, be sure have a go and play poker online. Free applications and websites will make it much easier for you.

Play Poker for Fun

With dedication, time and effort, poker can become a career, or even the route to a fortune. But it is worth remembering that it is still a game – and games are meant to be fun. There’s nothing wrong with playing simply for pleasure, for very low stakes, or even for matchsticks. Don’t forget, either, that however well-prepared you are, however skilled at bluffing you may be, there will always be an element of luck in any game of poker, which means that lesser players sometimes outclass much higher-ranking opponents simply because of the fall of the cards. In short, even a tiny degree of uncertainty can influence the outcome of a game of poker, and nobody can be a winner every time.

The Mathematics of Poker

Okay, so you can bluff; you know when to fold on a strong hand in order to deceive your opponents. And you have the cool head, strong decision-making skills and strategic flexibility that are all vital if you wish to become a good poker player. But boning up on your maths skills will also help you on the road to success. This is especially important if you are to work out the odds of making a given hand. You also need to be able to adjust your calculations as each new card is dealt onto the table, and to do all of this in your head, without pencil and paper or calculator. This is why it is vital to memorise the poker hands and their order, as listed above.

Controlling a Game of Poker from the Very First Cards

Being able to take control of a game of poker from the very start is among the most valuable skills that any player can possess. Years of practice are necessary to achieve mastery in this respect, but the effort put in can pay off from the moment the first cards are dealt, as even a small skill boost can bring about visible results. This becomes obvious when you compare the way that amateurs and professionals play the game after making their initial bets based on the first two cards they are dealt. From this moment on, the pros are in fact attempting to take control of the game by playing – and outplaying – their opponents.
To be successful in this means being able to employ several skills, such as those listed below:
• Calculation of the relationship between the amount in the pot and the stake for the hand.
• Pattern recognition betting.
• Bluffing.
• Taking advantage of one’s position.
The real poker experts will always be on the lookout for tells and weaknesses in their opponents, and they will exploit them ruthlessly. The best professional players are the ones with the most self-control, who can make calm, collected calculations and who do not display even a whiff of emotion whether they win or lose. Compare these with weaker players, who give their emotions away too easily, make hasty decisions, stumble into mistakes, and can end up losing not just the game but also their money.
Make no mistake – the players who have patience, who can read the game and their opponents effectively and consistently, are the ones who, while they might not win every time, will generally emerge from their games relatively unscathed.

Online Poker Versus the Traditional Game

Online poker allows you to enjoy this game from the comfort of your own home, via an internet connection on your computer, phone or tablet. As your skills improve, you may find that it is also a way to make money and perhaps even to do so regularly.
Why Play Poker Online:
• Poker games online mean you can play without leaving home.
• Poker online by definition means that you won’t risk giving anything away by your facial expressions, sweating, tics or other tells. It’s a good way to learn how to bring these under control.
• There’s no need for advance preparation, just log in and start playing – and continue for as long as you wish.
• Think of poker, and you will probably picture men with fat cigars in a smoky room. If you’re not a smoker, you will appreciate that playing online limits your exposure to hazardous smoke.
• The best online poker services guarantee your security and privacy. You should only play using authorised websites that pay close attention to these, and to issues such as anonymity.
• If you play poker online to win money, you don’t have to take great risks. Online poker sites offer a range of stakes, from very low amounts up to games with big money pots.
• Or, you don’t have to risk anything at all. As already noted, poker is a game, and games should be fun. Poker online can simply be about entertainment, a way to spend your free moments with an enjoyable pastime.

Big in Poker – From Popular Culture to Real-life Stories, the Winners (and Losers) in the Game

From the James Bond Franchise to Al Pacino in “Casino” and Matt Damon and Edward Norton in “Rounders” the glitz, glamour, and even the grime of poker and other gambling games have long been a feature of some of the biggest films.

In recent years, though, real life poker has been gaining an ever-growing audience of people who – whether or not they are players themselves – get drawn into the thrill of watching live action tournaments on TV and the internet. Some televised events have added spice, when celebrities take part in the games.

Of the poker live pro tournaments, the biggest ever was undoubtedly the WSOP main event held in 2006. This attracted a world record number of  8,773 players and offered a staggering prize pool of $82,512,162, with $12 million set aside for the winner alone. The H.O.R.S.E. World Championship at WSOP 2008 was the biggest Texas Hold ‘em tournament game, with a prize pool of $7,104,000, including $1,989,120 for the winner.

Live tournaments are also held online, with Pokerstars WCOOP being among the frontrunners with the biggest pots. The record for this kind of online tournament stands from the 2008 Main Event, which offered a total of $10,925,000 in prize money, with $1,265,432 for the winner. Pokerstars’ Sunday Million offered a prize pool of $7,233,800, including $1,141,510.31 for first place.

So just who has made their name in poker tournaments in recent years? Data from 2014 reveals a list of six – with a combined net worth of almost $340 million. They are:

  • Annie Duke – Net Worth: $8 mln
  • Andrew Feldman – Net Worth: $10 mln
  • Daniel Negreanu – Net Worth: $15 mln
  • Dan Bilzerian – Net Worth: $100 mln
  • Sam Farha – Net Worth: $100 mln
  • Phil Ivey – Net Worth: $100 mln

Going further back, one may discover a name that most people in the West will have heard – former American president Richard Nixon. He was a poker player, and it might even be said that his success at the game helped him gain the keys to the White House. While modest by today’s standards, Nixon’s poker prowess netted him around $6,000 (around $42,000 now), which he invested and then used to support his election campaign.

Some, though, have not been so lucky.

Like any other form of gambling, losing is always a possibility with poker, and for some players this has had dire consequences, even bankruptcy, with millions of dollars wiped out. Among these cautionary tales from the world of poker are:

Ted Forrest

Six-times World Poker Series Bracelet winner was once the toast of the poker world, but two documents have landed him in serious trouble. Poker portals have reported that, in 2013, he admitted owing the Wynn Casino $270,000, which he had agreed to pay back. It took two more years before the case against him came to a conclusion, but the official record shows that he is yet to complete repayments. In addition, in September 2016, the Mirage Casino sued Forrest for $40,500 of a $100,000 loan taken out in 2013. This casino also won a positive outcome in court, leaving the poker player with big bills. He did win some cash that improved his liquidity when he came fourth in the WSOP 2016 seven card stud championship to claim $73,000 – but the figure does not match his debts.

Erik Lindgren

Affable and capable at the table, Erik Lidgren’s story is one of decline and fall, of a once respected poker player who tumbled into gambling degeneracy and lost the confidence of his colleagues after Black Friday. As a member of the Full Tilt Professionals team, Lindgren received huge pay-offs from the operator just before the team closed. Already addicted to sports betting, he borrowed heavily from anyone who would lend to him, and by 2012 his debts had spiralled out of control. Recognising that he had a problem, Lindgren signed up for a “gambling rehab” programme, and filed for bankruptcy himself. His troubles didn’t end there, though, as Howard Lederer, another famous poker player, alleged that Lindgren had in fact borrowed from the Full Tilt operator before Black Friday – and not just a pittance, but several million dollars. When PokerStars took over the Full Tilt brand, they sued Lindgren for $2.5 million. By 2015, Lindgren was once again filing for bankruptcy – owing a total of $8 million, but with assets worth less than $50,000.

Jamie Gold

Gold by name, gold by nature – in 2006, this poker player seemed to be on top and rising as a world class star with a $12 million win in the WSOP Main Event. It’s a figure that should have set him up for life, if not for TV producer Crispin Leyser. Leyser began making noises about a contract that Jamie Gold had signed with him, obliging the poker player to hand over half of his winnings. Unable to persuade Gold to pay up amicably, Leyser took him to court and won. That was the beginning of the collapse of the end for Gold, who it seemed had fallen from the dizzy heights of the WSOP championship. He later invested in a failed TV format, didn’t get paid for his representation of Bodog, and has seen his poker room at the Tropicana Casino yield only meagre profit. With the American tax service on his back for unpaid obligations, and losses at the poker table, Gold’s low point seemed to come in 2013, when put his championship bracelet up for sale in 2013. Like Lindgren and Forrest, Jamie Gold’s poker star appears to have collapsed into a black hole.