The Texas Holdem poker phenomenon is taking the country by storm. Over 100 million poker players are active worldwide. The popularity of poker is largely due to technology and several new trends.
There is a new “gold rush” in poker today, thanks to all the poker-mania. Although estimates of analysts are not very reliable, some estimates suggest that Americans will spend as much as $4.5 billion on poker-related products in 2005.
* Play online poker
* Poker tournaments
* Online poker room financial broker (e.g. Firepay, NetTeller and Citadel)
* Casino poker rooms
* Game units for your television
* Poker chips sets and dealer buttons (you even have the option to get “collector edition” dealer buttons signed by pros! – Get some for Christmas this year!
* Instructions for building poker tables
* Poker software (poker odds calculators and poker games, tournament organizers and tournament director kits).
* Texas holdem poker rules and starting hand cards
* Training courses and poker schools
* Strategy e-books and poker books
* Poker hats and shirts, as well as clothing.
* Join local poker clubs
* Texas Holdem Poker stuff free of charge, in every type possible
Poker Pulse gives you an overview
Poker Pulse gives you an overview of the number of people who are playing online with real money. PokerPulse monitors the top online poker rooms, and keeps track of how many real-money poker tournaments are being played at any given time. These statistics indicate that online poker rooms are making more than $110 million US every 24 hours with hundreds of thousands of players online.
With the poker’s worldwide inertia, how far can it take? It will be like CB Radio, a flash in the pan that then abruptly morphs into poof! It will be a fad, a memory, and a reminder of Smokey and Bandit. It’s hard to know, but the momentum, advertising, and the sheer number of young people playing poker online, it could be that the poker big boom has already occurred.
Like many controversial phenomena, poker has a social morality component. Is poker gambling? Is it really a game or skill? Online poker rooms can be as gambling-oriented as traditional casino games or online bookie operations. This question is shaping certain industries and creating others. Let’s first look at what certain actions might suggest to us before we start looking for answers.
The traditional credit card processors (MCVISA, AMEX and PayPal) have decided to stop using their credit cards to fund online poker accounts. There is a cottage industry today that serves the huge demand to transfer funds between online poker rooms accounts and bank accounts. It processes untold millions of dollar each day.
Advertise poker-related items through Google AdWords, or the Yahoo/MSN equivalent (Overture), and you will quickly see that they have a category called “Gambling URL”. Advertising services will be refused to any website that is related to online poker rooms. What happened? These companies lost advertising revenue, but it also forced the poker industry to compete for poker-related search “namespaces”. You might try searching using keywords such as “Texas Holdem Poker” to see what results you get.
It is amazing to see how clogged the search engine namespace has become. Poker website owners use every search engine optimization (SEO), technique and trick known to man in an effort to increase visibility, page rank, and routing of more visitors to their sites.
My opinion is that playing poker is gambling. It depends. It all depends on the skill level of the player. It all depends on the skill level of the player.
You can adjust your play
Playing only certain starting hands at the table can help you beat the odds. You can adjust your play according to the game situation, understand other players’ styles and develop a strategy for winning. It’s not gambling, for most of us. It is, however, gambling for those without the necessary skills. Skill is much less important for these players. People often don’t know why they are being beaten, even though the rules are simple.
It is not against the house, which makes it different from traditional casino gambling. Online poker rooms take a “rake”, which is a percentage of the money in play (e.g. 10% or more). This is how they generate revenues. The poker operator is always paid for hosting the game, so it doesn’t matter who wins.
In a future article, I will cover the most popular online poker rooms. But suffice it to say that there is gold in them all and that the claims have been staked in by the market leaders who are making billions selling their online services to millions of players around the world.
These businesses are not allowed to operate within the U.S. borders and they are virtually unregulated (at most by U.S. standards). New ones keep popping up each month. While I don’t mean to make it seem like everyone playing online is using real money, the truth is that not all players are. Many players play with “play money”, and they have fun playing online and engaging in socializing through instant messaging and interactions via the online poker site.
Is the poker phenomenon a fad or a trend? It’s hard to know. One thing is certain. Many people have fun playing online poker, in traditional casinos, or in their own games at home. Meanwhile, a lot of other players are filling that need and making a boatload.