|The Lounge | Champions | The Wire | Schedule | Audio | Arcade | The Top Ten | Historical | Email | Video|
Texas Holdem Poker - Today
The Texas Holdem poker phenomenon has taken the country by storm. There are reportedly over 100 million active poker players worldwide. Poker's popularity is largely the byproduct of technology and several recent trends: 1) online gaming, where players engage and socialize in real-time over the Internet, and 2) the broad publicity created by high profile TV shows like the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and World Poker Tour (WPT).
With all the poker-mania, there's a modern day "gold rush" underway today. Analyst estimates are a bit sketchy, but some estimate that people will spend up to $4.5 billion U.S. in 2005 on poker-related items of every kind, including:
* Online poker room play
* Poker tournaments
* Online poker room financial brokers (e.g., Firepay, NetTeller, Citadel and others)
* Casino poker rooms
* Game units for your TV
* Poker chip sets and dealer buttons (you can even get "collector" edition dealer buttons signed by the pros - got some as Christmas presents this year!)
* Poker tables and instructions for how to build poker tables
* Poker software (poker odds calculators, poker games, home tournament organizers, tournament director kits)
* Texas holdem poker rule and starting hand cards
* Poker schools and training courses
* Poker books and strategy e-books
* Poker hats, shirts and clothing items
* Local poker clubs
* Free Texas Holdem poker stuff of every kind imaginable.
To give you an idea of how many people are now playing with real-money online, have a look at PokerPulse.com. PokerPulse keeps tabs on the top online poker rooms and tracks how many real-money poker games are running at any point in time. Some estimates based upon these statistics suggest that online poker room companies are turning over in excess of $110 million U.S. every 24 hours, with hundreds of thousands of online players active any given evening.
So, with the worldwide inertia that poker has today, how far can it go? Will it be like the CB Radio - a brief flash in the pan and then suddenly - poof! Will it be just another fad and memory, with occasional reminders like Smokey and the Bandit? Hard to say for sure, but with the momentum, advertising and so many young people, including many teenagers and children playing across the Internet, it could be that the poker big bang has occured and its expansion has only really begun...
As with many new, controversial phenomenon such as poker, there's the social morality aspect and question: Is playing poker gambling? Is it really just a game of skill? The question of whether online poker rooms are just as much about gambling as traditional casino games and online bookie operations is certainly one that is shaping some industries, and creating some others. Before we look for the answers to those questions, let's explore what the actions of certain parties might lead us to believe.
For example, the traditional credit card processors (MC, VISA, AMEX, PayPal, and others) decided to discontinue use of their credit card services to fund player's online poker accounts. Today, there's a whole cottage industry that has sprung up to fill the enormous demand for transferring funds between bank accounts and online poker room accounts, processing untold millions of dollars each day.
Try advertising a poker-related item through Google's AdWords or the Yahoo/MSN equivalent (Overture) and you'll quickly find they have a category known as "Gambling URL" that'll come into play. Any website that could be related to online poker rooms is considered a "gambling" site and advertising services are thereby refused. So, what happened as a result? Well, aside from these companies losing advertising revenues, it's forced the poker industry into fierce competition for the poker-related search "namespaces". Try searching for something using keywords like "Texas Holdem poker" and see what you find.
It's amazing at how clogged up the search engine namespace has become, with every search engine optimization (SEO) technique and trick known to man being used by poker website owners in an attempt to gain visibility, page ranking and routing of more visitor traffic to their websites.
In my opinion, the answer to the question "Is playing poker gambling?" is - it depends. It depends on the player's skill level. If you're a highly-skilled player, then IMHO it's not gambling - it's playing a sophisticated game like chess, where you not only must defeat the opponents but you must also use strategy and play the odds in order to win.
You beat the odds by playing only certain starting hands from given positions at the table, adjusting your play based upon the game situation, understanding other players' styles, and by developing a strategy for winning, throwing your weight (chip stack) around at the right times, and by sitting out at other times. No, it's far from gambling for many of us. However, for those who don't possess the requisite skills, it is gambling more often than it's not, since skill is much less of a factor for such players. Since the basic rules are deceptively simple, people often have no idea why they're beaten.
What makes it very different from traditional casino gambling games, though, is that you're not playing against the house. The online poker room takes a "rake", a percentage of the money that's in play (e.g., 10% or so), which is how the online poker room generates revenues. It doesn't really matter who wins or loses, since the poker operator always gets paid for hosting the game.
I'll cover popular online poker rooms in a future article in more detail, but suffice it to say, there's gold in them there hills and the claims have been staked by the market leaders, who are raking in fortunes providing their sophisticated online service businesses to millions of eager players worldwide.
Since these business aren't allowed to operate within U.S. borders, they're virtually unregulated (at least by U.S. standards) and new ones continue to pop up every month. Now I don't want to make it sound like everyone who plays online is playing with real money - quite the contrary. There's an enormous number of players who just use "play money" and have a real blast playing and socializing via the use of instant messaging and interactions through the online poker room site.
So, is the poker phenomenon a trend or just another fad that's destined to take it's place in our video library, beside Smokey and the Bandit and that CB radio wave that crested in the 1970's? Hard to say for sure. One thing is for certain. A lot of people are having fun playing in online poker rooms, at traditional casinos and in their own home games - while an army of others are supplying that demand, and making a boatload of money in the process.
Until next time - Good Luck!
Rick Braddy is an avid writer, Texas Holdem poker player and professional software developer and marketer for over 25 years. His websites and Texas Holdem poker software helps people become better players. If you're a poker player, be sure to visit his Texas Holdem poker websites and learn how you can play better Texas Holdem poker, too.
There is no longer a need to fly all the way out to Las Vegas or Atlantic City to play craps. In fact, you can play your favorite casino games, including craps in the comfort of your home.
Poker Tournament - Blind Stealing Strategy
Poker tournaments are often not epic confrontations between two premium hands in the later rounds when it all is decided. They are generally 60/40 or closer confrontations, which ultimately decide the outcome.
Casinos Popping Up Leads To Negative Impact on Economy
Casinos and other forms of gambling are popping up in almost every state. Every other day you hear of a new Indian Tribe that is looking for recognition.
Online Poker Tournaments -- Time to get aboard
Online poker tournaments are skyrocketing in popularity due to reasons ranging from low buyins into major tournaments for a fraction of their usual cost to those who do not live within driving distance of a land based poker room. (And of course another factor is the money that can be won.
Texas Holdem Poker Tournament Strategy - Starting Hands
Welcome to the fifth in my Texas Holdem Poker Strategy Series, focusing on no limit Texas Holdem poker tournament play and associated strategies. In this article, we'll examine starting hand decisions.
Lucky Texas Holdem Tips
Texas holdem poker is one of the few online casino games in which you can actually consistently make money. These lucky texas holdem tips will put you in the driver's seat of most online poker rooms.
How to Avoid the Common Slot Machine Playing Mistakes
Understanding how slots work is important in maximizing your gains and dispelling some common myths that have grown up around slots. Once you know how slot machines work you will avoid the common pitfalls made by uninformed players.
States Lottery Basics
For those who dream of quitting their jobs and being independently wealthy, the lottery is an affordable way to take some chances and move toward a goal. Lotteries have been a great support to those aspiring to be great through the stroke of luck.
2005 NFC West Football preview
OVERVIEW: NFC WestThe Arizona Cardinals have posted a mark of 22-42 straight up over the past four seasons which is by far the worst win/loss record of any team in the NFC West, however, that's all about to change in 2005 as I fully expect these Cardinals to win this division and make the playoffs, remember that you heard it here first!Cardinal HC Denny Green had another fantastic draft highlighted by picking CB Antrel Rolle and RB J.J.
How YOU can Regress the Six and Eight!
The CrapshooterWhat are the secrets of regressing the Six and Eight?Pssst..
Amazing Lottery Secrets - Just the Facts!
When it comes to Lottery Secrets, we've discovered amazing and powerfulinformation, that we feel anyone who plays their respective lottery shouldbe aware of. Did you know that the greatest percentage of lottery playerschoose to "quick pick" their numbers?If you knew this bit of information you might want to reconsider.
Understanding Online Casino Bonuses
Are you puzzled by the workings of online Casino bonuses, with those pulsating dollar signs and offers of free cash? Let's see if we can demystify the situation.Different rules apply to different casino bonuses - know these rules and avoid disappointment.
Avoiding Tilt While Playing Online Poker
As many experts have said, poker is a game that must be viewed as one continuous session that lasts a lifetime. If one can keep this simple statement in mind, it can make the short-term variances, or luck, less painful when the underdog wins.
Why No-Limit Poker is Better Than Limit
If you are a tight-aggressive player, you need to consider playing No-Limit Hold 'em if you aren't already. With proper play, not only can you expect to increase your hourly win rate, but you can make it much more difficult for your opponents to draw out on you.
Slot Machine Odds
It probably more appropriate to call slot machines entertainment than gambling, as the house always - and we mean always - has an edge with slot machines.The average slot machine payout ranges from an average of 85% to 99% of all coins bet.
My Official Cheapskate Guide to Las Vegas
TRAVEL- The following is my penny pinchers guide to Las Vegas. The best way to cut your vacation costs is to travel cheap.
Texas Holdem Tournament Strategy - Poker Tournament Fundamentals
This is the second in the Texas Holdem Strategy Series, focusing on no limit Texas Hold'em poker tournament play and associated strategies. In the first installment, we examined a real-world tournament scenario and how to handle a particular class of difficult players - the "maniacs", aggressive, wild players that are commonly encountered in today's poker tournament venues.
Pro Football Betting
Did you know that most recreational bettors don't make a profit from their pro football betting hobby. This includes bettors who know what they are doing and those who couldn't hit a barn with a ball from five feet away.
How to Win Texas Holdem
Roulette - How to Bet
Betting is very simple in roulette if you follow these simple rules.Be sure to ask about the minimum bet amounts.
Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us
Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.