A short decade ago, poker was a game that was only played in casinos and card clubs. For the average person, the game was nearly shrouded in mystery, hidden in a corner away from the more popular slot machines and blackjack tables. The most common poker game there was five-card draw. You might remember the rules: you get five cards, bet, then trade in some of your cards to try to improve your hand. But the rise of Texas Hold-Em changed the makeup of poker, just in time to take advantage of other developments in history. Compared to ‘draw poker’, Texas Hold-Em is much faster, and has much more ‘action’.

Since each player only holds two cards, combined with four betting rounds instead of just two, strategy and good tactical play is more interesting than with draw poker. In addition, the hands are quicker, meaning more winners every hour at the table. The game is great no matter what the betting structure, and profitable for the house as well as fun for the player. Hold-Em really hit its stride just when it became possible to play poker on the internet. Now players could play this quick, easy to learn game without leaving their homes, at all hours of the day or night.

Computerized dealers made it possible for an ‘online card room’ to have games with 50 cent limits, sometimes even penny limits! Never before had so many people had access to a game that was mysterious to all but a few. One of the reasons for this growth was the “World Series of Poker”. The event is actually a series of dozens of tournaments, but culminates in the now world-famous main event, and in the late 90’s, it’s $10,000 buy in and million dollar prize became poker’s ultimate quest.

The drama of the World Series grew the online and casino poker industry, which in turn, caused the popularity of the World Series to explode. With more interested players, more and more ‘satellite’ tournaments could be offered, where anywhere from ten players to thousands of players could pay for a small tournament entry, with a prize of a World Series buy in chip worth $10,000. By 2006, online poker was commonplace in the United States and Europe, and the World Series main event now had almost 9,000 entrants, and offered a $12,000,000 first prize to its winner, Jamie Gold, who was a talent agent and television producer, not a professional player!

With poker’s popularity growing for over a decade, there are still limitless opportunities for a new player to learn the game, and still have a chance to play and win a major tournament.

By Dave Saltonstall
The possible thrill of the ‘big money’ payout will be there for years to come, and players stay for the love of one of the world’s biggest sports — online poker — and they choose betfred.com/poker to win!