The Texas Holdem poker phenomenon has brought the nation by storm. You can find 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 produced by high profile TV shows like the World Group of Poker (WSOP) and World Poker Tour (WPT).
With all the poker-mania, there’s a modern day “gold rush” underway today. Analyst estimates certainly are a bit sketchy, however many estimate that individuals will spend up to $4.5 billion U.S. in 2005 on poker-related items of each 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 the TV
* Poker chip sets and dealer buttons (you can even get “collector” edition dealer buttons signed by the pros – got some as Christmas presents in 2010!)
* Poker tables and instructions for how to construct 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 each kind imaginable.
To offer a concept of how many people are now using real-money online, have a look at PokerPulse.com. PokerPulse keeps tabs on the top online poker rooms and tracks exactly how many real-money poker games are running at any point in time. Some estimates in relation to these statistics declare that online poker room companies are turning over in excess of $110 million U.S. every 24 hours, with a huge selection of a large number of online players active any given evening.
So, with the worldwide inertia that poker has today, how far did it go? Can it end up like the CB Radio – a brief flash in the pan and then suddenly – poof! idn poker Can 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 teenagers, including many teenagers and children playing throughout the Internet, maybe it’s that the poker big bang has occurred and its expansion has only really begun…
Much like many new, controversial phenomenon such as for example poker, there’s the social morality aspect and question: Is playing poker gambling? Could it be really just a game of skill? The question of whether online poker rooms are equally as much about gambling as traditional casino games and online bookie operations is unquestionably one that’s shaping some industries, and creating some others. Before we try to find the answers to those questions, let’s explore what the actions of certain parties might lead us to believe.
Like, the traditional credit card processors (MC, VISA, AMEX, PayPal, and others) made a decision to discontinue utilization of their credit card services to fund player’s online poker accounts. Today, there exists 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 an incredible number 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’ve a group referred to as “Gambling URL” that’ll come into play. Any website that might be linked to online poker rooms is considered a “gambling” site and advertising services are thereby refused. So, what happened consequently? Well, besides 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 everything you find.
It’s amazing at how clogged up the se namespace has become, with every se optimization (SEO) technique and trick recognized to man being used by poker website owners in an attempt to get visibility, page ranking and routing of more visitor traffic with their websites.
In my opinion, the solution to the question “Is playing poker gambling?” is – it depends. This will depend 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 in relation to the game situation, understanding other players’styles, and by developing a technique for winning, throwing your weight (chip stack) around at the best times, and by sitting out at other times. No, it’s not even close to gambling for a lot of us. However, for those who don’t possess the requisite skills, it’s gambling more regularly than it’s not, since skill is significantly less of an issue for such players. Since the essential rules are deceptively simple, people often don’t know why they’re beaten.
What makes it completely different from traditional casino gambling games, though, is that you’re not playing from the house. The online poker room has a “rake”, a share of the cash 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 covered hosting the game.
I’ll cover popular online poker rooms in another article in more detail, but suffice it to say, there’s gold inside them there hills and the claims have been staked by industry leaders, who are raking in fortunes providing their sophisticated online service businesses to an incredible number of eager players worldwide.
Because 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 appear every month. Now I don’t want to create it sound like everyone who plays online is using a real income – quite the contrary. There’s a huge amount of players who just use “play money” and have an actual blast playing and socializing via the utilization of instant messaging and interactions through the online poker room site.