Poker is a hugely popular game played across the world. It is said to be as old as maybe 1000 years. Although it is unclear exactly where it came from and many historians have differing views it likely arrived in the US around 1800 with French colonists bringing a popular card game called Poque from Europe with them.
The name poque was altered to poker by the accents and language used in the region and the games were adapted and altered to be recognisable as the game you know today. The Mississippi helped poker spread through the country due to the riverboats and their crews and it became popular with soldiers during the Civil War.
Since the early days of Wild West saloons and casinos the game has gained popularity with men and women alike. There are huge tournaments around the world and many people like to gather for private games. Nearly all casinos would have poker tables running games and of course now you can even play online.
How popular is poker?
Although it is hard to establish exactly how many people play poker it is a game that is referenced in TV shows, in movies and on stage. It is readily available in both traditional and online casinos. There are apps to download and you can buy poker sets from eBay or from the high street so it is clear many people enjoy the game. There are some figures that suggest there are 100 million people playing online poker around the world.
The biggest poker tournaments in the world like the World Series of Poker attract TV audiences of over 1 million viewers. The prizes are enormous and the biggest prize pool was at WSOP 2006 with a total of over $85 million on offer. The eventual winner took away $12 million. Poker is big business these days and online gaming has made it even more accessible.
Why play online poker?
There are many reasons people like to play poker online. To organise a game between friends can take time so picking up a mobile device and looking for an online casino is a lot more convenient. It might also be just for practice before heading to a real life game. Here are some of the reasons and benefits people gain by playing poker online.
Free to play and play for real money
Online poker lets the player choose how they want to play. Beginners can download an app and play for fun and learn the game with no risk of losing any money. They can’t go to a casino and ask to join a table for fun so online poker offers an alternative with no risk. Free to play games allow seasoned players to practice and warm up before they play for real. Free to play poker games might also run offline so the player doesn’t even need to have WiFi to enjoy the game.
Legality in the player’s country
Not everywhere has casinos. Hawaii doesn’t allow gambling and Thailand has no casinos at all. People enjoy gambling and playing games for fun but might find that where they live it is dangerous and illegal to do so. Online gaming allows for people to privately play their favourite games.
While it may still be illegal to play poker online the chances of being arrested for it are likely to be very small. The authorities generally look for online casinos based in the country to prosecute so if the servers are hosted outside or offshore then a player might be able to access the website with no problems. Other players get around such issues with VPNs to mask where they are playing from.
It is perhaps not a coincidence that some of the most popular countries for online poker are places where gambling is either banned or heavily restricted. India, Indonesia, North America and Malaysia are all in the top 10 for most online players. The UK, France and Italy are also featured but perhaps they have their own reasons for playing from home.
Poker anywhere and anytime
The most obvious benefit of playing online is that you can play anywhere you want. You don’t have to ring your friends and try to organise a game and you don’t need to drive miles to a casino. All you need is a mobile device or PC and then find a website hosting a poker game. You can play against AIs or real people online at any hour of the day. You can find information about Pokerstars casino at Free-spins.net if you want to play poker at your convenience.
Feel the need for speed
Online poker is fast. If a player is taking time over their hand then they will be nudged along. Online poker games have time limits and will generally run faster than a normal table game. For example if there were about 30 hands an hour at a table you could expect around double that in an online game.
Good for introverts
One reason that someone might like online poker is simply that they don’t feel comfortable or confident in a casino setting or at a card game. There is anonymity in online gaming and it allows someone to grow in confidence while playing. For someone who wants to play alone away from other noisy poker players then online gaming is perfect.
Good security and a variety of payment methods
It would be almost impossible to find an online casino for poker or other games that didn’t have a suitable payment method for you. These days you can use e-wallets, credit and debit cards plus bank transfers, PayPal and even bitcoin on some websites. This is another benefit the online gaming world has over traditional casinos. Plus the website or app will use SSL certificates and be totally compliant so you know your transactions are safe.
It would seem there are many benefits to playing poker online. Not least that you can just play for fun and practice at your own leisure without leaving your armchair. When you play for money, set your limits and only play for what you can afford to lose and then you can enjoy the great card game with no stress.