The Texas Holdem poker phenomenon has brought the country by storm. There are reportedly over 100 million active poker players worldwide. Poker’s popularity is essentially the byproduct of technology and several recent trends: 1) online gaming, where players engage and socialize in real-time within the Internet, and 2) the broad publicity developed by high profile TV shows such as the World Number of Poker (WSOP) and World Poker Tour (WPT).
With all the current poker-mania, there’s a modern day “gold rush” underway today. Analyst estimates really are a bit sketchy, however, idn poker many estimate that individuals will spend up to $4.5 billion U.S. in 2005 on poker-related items of each and 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 may also get “collector” edition dealer buttons signed by the professionals – got some as Christmas presents in 2010!)
* 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 each and every kind imaginable.
To provide you with a notion of how lots of people are now actually playing with real-money online, have a glance at PokerPulse.com. PokerPulse keeps tabs at the top online poker rooms and tracks how many real-money poker games are running at any point in time. Some estimates based on 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 1000s of online players active any given evening.
So, with the worldwide inertia that poker has today, how far manages to do it go? Can it be like the CB Radio – a quick flash in the pan and then suddenly – poof! Can it be merely another fad and memory, with occasional reminders like Smokey and the Bandit? Hard to express for certain, but with the momentum, advertising and so many young adults, including many teenagers and children playing over the Internet, it could be that the poker big bang has occurred and its expansion has only really begun…
Much like many new, controversial phenomenon such as poker, there’s the social morality aspect and question: Is playing poker gambling? Can it be really just a game of skill? The question of whether online poker rooms are as much about gambling as traditional casino games and online bookie operations is obviously one that is 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.
For example, the traditional charge card processors (MC, VISA, AMEX, PayPal, and others) decided to discontinue utilization of their charge card services to fund player’s online poker accounts. Today, there’s a whole cottage industry that’s 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’ve a class called “Gambling URL” that’ll enter into play. Any website that could be related to online poker rooms is recognized as a “gambling” site and advertising services are thereby refused. So, what happened consequently? Well, irrespective of these companies losing advertising revenues, it’s forced the poker industry into fierce competition for the poker-related search “namespaces “.Try looking for something using keywords like “Texas Holdem poker” and see that which you find.
It’s amazing at how clogged up the se namespace is becoming, with every se optimization (SEO) technique and trick recognized to man being employed by poker website owners in an endeavor to gain visibility, page ranking and routing of more visitor traffic to their websites.
I think, the clear 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 merely must defeat the opponents but you should also use strategy and play the odds to be able to win.
You beat the odds by playing only certain starting hands from given positions at the table, adjusting your play based on the game situation, understanding other players’styles, and by having a strategy for winning, throwing your weight (chip stack) around at the best times, and by sitting out at other times. No, it’s definately not gambling for lots of us. However, for people who don’t possess the requisite skills, it’s gambling more regularly than it’s not, since skill is significantly less of a factor 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 against the house. The online poker room takes a “rake”, a portion of the cash that’s in play (e.g., 10% or so), which is how the internet poker room generates revenues. It doesn’t really matter who wins or loses, considering that 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 express, there’s gold in them there hills and the claims have been staked by the market leaders, who’re raking in fortunes providing their sophisticated online service businesses to millions of eager players worldwide.
Since these business aren’t allowed to use 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 create it sound like everyone who plays online is playing with a real income – quite the contrary. There’s an enormous amount of players who just use “play money” and have a genuine blast playing and socializing via the utilization of instant messaging and interactions through the internet poker room site.