The game of poker has been taken to new levels over the past decade. The increase in the popularity of poker stems from several different factors. Most people will point to the day an unknown accountant from New York City named Chris Moneymaker went from total obscurity to the forefront of the poker boom when he incredibly dominated the World Series of Poker final table in 2003 earning him several million dollars and worldwide media coverage. That remarkable story became the catalyst for poker entering Main Street America. Almost overnight the victory and subsequent media coverage seemingly dispelled many of the preconceived negative connotations many people had about poker. Before the perfectly named Moneymaker's historic day many people previously had thought of poker with disdain connecting it with the gambling saloons of the Old West, cheating and the negativity associated with other forms of gambling.

Moneymaker's historic heads up battle against Sammy Farha for poker immortality was not the only influential part of the surge in bringing poker to the masses and dispelling those negative thoughts that many people had about the game.

The Internet provided a median that allowed people around the world to play the game in the comfort of their own home. Online Poker gave beginners a chance to practice for free and learn the rules, understand the betting structure and get a taste of the excitement of playing poker tournaments. Online poker rooms like Pacific Poker offered opportunities for players to test their skill in low buy-in tournaments with substantial prize pools. Newcomers to the game fell in love with poker and they in turn encouraged their friends to give it a try. Soon enough home games were being played all over the United States and the rest or the world.

The internet also provided a place to find information about poker. Poker web sites popped up offering poker strategy and poker tournament coverage.

The media has to be given a considerable amount of credit in making poker one of the most highly discussed topics over the last ten years. The blockbuster movie Rounders starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton brought a sense of coolness about poker that seemed to have a far reaching affect on young people all over the country.

ESPN stepped up its coverage of the World Series of Poker and began covering more events. ESPN wisely focused part of each broadcast on some of the more interesting personalities in the poker world. This in turn started turning poker players into poker celebrities. Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Greg Raymer, Daniel Negreanu, Mike Matusow, "The Crew", Marcel Luske and many others became household names. Poker on TV took off as more and more people turned in to watch the excitement and suspense of recognizable players competing for millions of dollars at poker tournament final tables all over the world.

The World Poker Tour was created to compete with the World Series of Poker. The ratings for the WPT's broadcasts on the Travel Channel were setting cable TV records for viewers week in and week out. Poker on TV became enjoyable because of invention of the hole card camera which allowed viewers to peek at the hole cards of the players and made every hand more exciting to watch and gave viewers an insight on how pros played their poker hands.

Print media also had an impact as well on the poker boom. Several poker books became New York Times Bestsellers and many poker magazines that began flying off of newsstands.

Additionally, land based casinos began creating new poker rooms or expanding existing card rooms to handle the influx of players they were seeing eager to try to play live poker.

The growth of poker will likely continue as more and more people are introduced to the game because of all the help of books, movies, TV, magazines, radio and the Internet. Poker is almost unavoidable.

Bluffing in Poker

Bluffing in poker is one of the most exciting aspects of playing poker. Making a player with a better hand fold leaving the pot for you to take is a very rewarding feeling. Bluffing like a pro is hard to do because the timing and execution of the bluff makes a big difference in the success rate for pulling off the bluff. No limit holdem allows you to bet as little or as much when it is your turn to act. A good bluff does not mean you have to go all-in, as often a pot sized bet or even less is enough chips to bluff your opponents and make them fold. However, the all-in bluff is a good idea in certain situations because it puts the most amount of money on the line making it more difficult for your opponents to call you. Pro poker bluffs like those you see from famous poker players on television make for exciting poker games.

What you have to realize is that pros use bluffing as just one of many tools in the arsenal. Pros realize that if you bluff too often you are gonna get called more often and lose. Projecting a solid image of yourself instead of a loose image will help make your poker bluffs more believable. The nuances of bluffing and timing are taught by instructors at free poker schools using poker videos which can be beneficial to improving your game. A professional poker bluff is one that recognizes all of the elements that make the bluff work a very high percentage of the time. For instance, reading the strength of your opponents and understanding the likelihood they will call is a skill many expert poker stars have and a skill that many aspiring poker players can learn.

Poker History

history of pokerPoker has been around for hundreds of years, and in many cases the culture of the societies in which it was a part of were greatly influenced. Follow us on our this poker history journey that retraces the steps of poker's origins in the East to its spread over the European continent and across the seas to the American river boats and into our homes through television and the online poker revolution...

Ancient Poker History

The history of poker is quite different from the game we play today. Before online poker huge poker tournaments ever existed there were many contributions that lead us to the game we play today. The origins of poker is often a matter of debate, because it has evolved over more then ten centuries from various games, all of which involved the principle of ranked cards and bluffing to deceive opponents.

The early history of poker points to a game similar to poker that was believed to be invented by the Chinese. In 969 A.D. the Emperor Mu-tsung played 'domino cards' with his wife on New Year's Eve. Later in the 12th and 13th centuries, evidence shows Egyptians used playing cards. During the 16th century Persians were using 'Ganjifa', also known as Treasure Cards, for a variety of betting games. Ganjifa deck had 96 very ornate cards made up of thin slices of ivory.

Poker Arrives in America

Persians also played the game of 'As Nas' using 25 cards, betting rounds, and hand rankings. These characteristics of the Persian game of Nas resemble the historical game of poker that we now know. Most likely poker arrived in the United States because Persian sailors taught the game of Nas to settlers in New Orleans and French colonists imported the national card game of France poque when French-Canadian settlers founded New Orleans. Joseph Crowell reported that the game of poker was being played in New Orleans in 1829, at this time the game consisted of 4 players and 20 cards, whereas the players took turns betting on who had the most valuable hand.

Jonathan Green wrote An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling in 1843 and described how Mississippi riverboats, which were famous for gambling, spread the game up the river into the heart of the country where the gold rush then brought the game to the West, where poker was played in nearly every saloon. A big moment in poker history occurs when Green took it upon himself to formally name the game and describe its rules in his book which officially gave birth to Poker.

How Poker was Named

The history of poker shows the name of poker may have come from several sources, as it most closely relates to the Irish Poca-pronounced Pokah- or the French game poque-a German derived word from the German game Pochen meaning 'to brag as a bluff'. However, the game itself is believed to share its origins with the Renaissance Period game of Primero and the French game of Brelan. The 16th century Spanish Primero involved three cards being dealt to each player. Bluffing, betting large amounts of money, with weak cards, was an important part of the game. Primero which began in 1526 is referred to as 'poker's mother' because its the first documented game resembling modern day poker. Brelan was the origin of the English game of Brag-a game in which bluffing was a strong part of the game. Most likely, all these games had a significant impact into the development of the game of poker.

Modern Deck of Poker Cards

To make room for more players, the deck was expanded to 52 cards and the concept of the flush was introduced. With the additional cards, other poker game variations were created, including draw poker, 5 card stud poker, and the concept of the straight-5 cards in sequence. These game variations were made during the Civil War, and later additional American concepts like the use of wild cards were introduced to poker around 1875, the games of lowball and hi/low split poker around 1900 and community card games around 1925. The game spread around the world-especially throughout Asia-because of the United States military.

Poker's Effect on Modern Culture

The impact of poker has become and integral part of American and English culture. Many phrases with roots in poker slang are used everyday outside the world of poker, such as having an ace in the hole or having an ace up your sleeve. Other terms like poker face, wild card, bad beat, suck out, call your bluff, beats me, high roller, pass the buck, up the ante, when the chips are down, on the river, all in, blue chip, cash in, nice hand, muck it, and drawing dead are also widely used.

The Rise and Fall of the Different Poker Games

Three poker games took turns dominating the course of poker history. First, 5 Card Draw came from nowhere during the American Civil War to the most widely played game for nearly 100 years. 7 Card Stud became the main focus shortly before World War II and lasted in popularity for about 40 years. It was aided by the rise of the Las Vegas casino industry in the desert of Nevada. Texas Hold’em, known as the Cadillac of Poker emerged in the 1970's when it was the main game in deciding the World Series of Poker champion. Today, Texas Hold’em is by far the most frequently played and significantly more popular then any other card game in the world. Other variations such as Omaha, Omaha hi/low, Stud, Stud hi/low, Draw Poker, Lowball, and Razz are also popular.

Although the biggest prizes are awarded in Texas Holdem tournaments, such as WSOP, WPT and EPT main events, players gain most respect by mastering different poker games. If you ask a poker pro what WSOP tournament besides the main event he would like to win the most, he will most certainly answer H.O.R.S.E. H.O.R.S.E is a mixture of different poker variations: Hold‘em, Omaha, Razz, Stud and Stud Eight or better. To win a tournament like this, luck is not enough. Anyone can win a holdem tourney but very few can go all the way in a H.O.R.S.E event.

Poker Tournament Popularity Brings Poker to the Masses

Poker tournaments have publicized the game of poker and brought it to mainstream America. This explosion of poker began in 1970 with the birth of Binion's World Series of Poker. Famous players like Johnny Moss, Amarillo Slim, Bobby Baldwin, and Doyle Brunson won the World Series of Poker in its early days. Doyle Brunson also produced one of the first poker strategy books, Poker Super System, known throughout the poker world as the Bible of Poker. Shortly thereafter, Mike Caro introduced The Book of Tells and then later famous poker author/player David Sklansky published The Theory of Poker which focused on understanding the mathematical principles needed for winning.

Technology Influences Poker

After the turn of the century, poker found a whole new level of popularity where it can be seen on television everyday and can be found in most casinos around the country. This explosion occurred because of the rising popularity of online poker and the invention of the hole-card camera, which records the hole cards of players to be later viewed on television. ESPN and other cable stations televised the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour to incredible number of viewers, which translated to the exposure of famous poker players becoming celebrities.

As viewers learned how to play online, they then began appearing in card rooms in record numbers. Poker rooms appeared in casinos that did not have them yet, and ones that did expanded to allow for the influx of these new players. Many people wanted a chance to play with the pros and began buying-in to large poker tournaments shattering attendance records year after year. A part of poker tournament's popularity is often attributed to when an average person Chris Moneymaker, an accountant from New York City, won his World Series of Poker entry through an online satellite at Pokerstars for $36 and went on to win the Main Event. In 2004, Greg Raymer, did the same thing after winning an online satellite for $160.

Everyday millions of cards are shuffled and dealt across the globe and poker history is made. Hope you enjoyed this abridged version of the History of Poker.

Is It Legal to Play Poker

On April 15, 2011 the United States government agencies changed the course of poker forever. By the end of the day, the FBI and the US governmental offices had taking over the domains of Full Tilt Poker, Pokerstars and Absolute Poker and indicted the online poker room owners on money laundering charges and other crimes.

The opportunity for Americans to play online poker has just taken a major hit. The surprise move by the government seemingly caught everyone by surprise including the players. Many panicked their money would be seized by the powers that be untouchable for them. Basically this move has raised a lot of questions about the future of Internet poker games which to date have been an activity enjoyed by tens of millions of people around the world-with the largest number of poker players coming from the United States.

This is a bad beat for poker. Hopefully something is working in the greater good for poker, maybe allowing for Americans companies to run these online sites and create an atmosphere of proper regulation and fair taxation to raise money for America. Unfortunately, we just don’t know what is going to happen next, but it might be awhile before we are going to see large scale online poker tournaments with the huge prize pools that we have come to love.

Online Poker…. best of luck-always

If you still want to play online poker and you are from the United States, there are still some online poker games to be found.

After months of news about the efforts for legalizing online poker there has been quite a break in information. Headlines from the congressional hearings were everywhere a few months ago but lately not much has been said about it.  Leaders of the poker world, or at least a few of the more notable talking heads  like Annie Duke made front page news during the discussions on Capitol Hill, but nothing cement came out of it at the time.
We believe that favorable legislation is in the works but could possibly take awhile longer before more is made of it and the discussions revamp upwards.

A legal perspective on the issue of online poker rests on how the courts determine "predominance."  What predominance means is that any game or enterprise is referred to legally as gambling when chance and luck predominate over skill. Colorado, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania court systems have decided the skill elements of poker override the chance factors. These were landmark cases and the conclusion of these cases were that <strong>these states found that, in legal terms, poker is not gambling</strong>.  The fact judges and juries in these states recognize that poker is a skill game and that poker is not in the same class as gambling games like craps and sports betting. Hopefully this bodes well for the future of online poker in the United States.

Obama dragging his feet on legalizing online poker. I know he has a lot on his plate, but I hope he can find some time in 2010 to push through the legislation which seems to be popular in Congress and within the American people.

This is the biggest court decision for online poker as the whole poker world sets their eyes on the Kentucky courts.  A favorable ruling for the common sense plan of regulation and taxation would open the path for progress as support for the bills in Congress will increase.  Lobby groups upbeat after Kentucky electronic gaming court battle:

"THE GAMING INDUSTRY lobby groups fighting the Kentucky online gambling website block have slammed Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s arguments in court.
The Kentucky Supreme Court yesterday heard oral arguments from the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) and the Interactive Media Entertainment &amp; Gaming association (iMEGA) in the US state the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s legal challenge to the Kentucky Court of Appeal’s decision in January to block its seizure of 141 domain names.
iMEGA’s attorney, Jon Fleischaker, attacked Governor Beshear’s efforts to block state residents’ use of internet gambling web sites as “intellectually dishonest” and said that “they made up a process that is totally lacking in due process.”
In a statement issued after the hearing, the chief executive of poker advocacy group the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), John Pappas, said the PPA had been “very pleased” with the arguments presented.
Pappas said: “I strongly believe we will prevail. If the Commonwealth [of Kentucky] is truly interested in protecting consumers, it should put its energy in licensing and regulating online poker – which would also bring in millions in revenue – versus attempting to banish online poker through such a bold, broad and unlawful seizure.” Kentucky governor Steve Beshear is challenging the Kentucky Court of Appeal’s decision in January to block the seizure, after it rejected his claim that Kentucky players and the gambling sites had violated state law and held that the judge who issued the original seizure order in September 2008 had misapplied the state’s gambling devices law. Pappas said the PPA hoped to work with Kentucky lawmakers “on the common sense solution of licensing and regulation” following a positive ruling from the Kentucky Supreme Court."

Daniel Negreanu might be the best spoken PPA spokesperson. Oh and Daniel Negreanu is also one the best to listen to as he runs over poker tournaments when he is on a roll. This means everything to online poker.

Doyle Brunson Speaks About the UIGEA

The World Poker Association is making progress towards reversing the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and making it so online poker is regulated. Regulating online poker would let it thrive in the United States and provide players with the security they desire.

To follow the WPA in their efforts to lobby congress you can join the WPA Facebook group and become a WPA Myspace friend.

“Captain” Tom Franklin is the head of the WPA Board of Directors and he leads an organization which has goals to unite poker players. The WPA has even helped poker players get health insurance. Health insurance is a need amongst professional poker players since they often can not get health insurance anywhere else. Any member of the WPA can get the WPA sponsored health insurance for a few hundred dollars each month.

Another goal of the WPA is creating a uniform poker rules system. With so many rule variations for tournaments, it becomes confusing for players to know all of the different rules for each tournament they enter. Interpreting rules consistently is a challenge for poker room managers but with a standard poker rules system than making consistently fair rulings becomes much easier.

If you have not done so already, join the WPA. The more members the more powerful the organization becomes which allows them to have more influence in Washington DC.

A few poker organizations exist to lobby the United States Government into legalizing online poker. Several years ago playing online poker was legal and easily accessible to any player. Today, online poker legality is less clear and the accessibility has also decreased. Though playing online poker is legal for most Americans, several states outlaw their residents from playing online poker. Many online poker rooms have stopped serving American customers after the US Government passed the controversial UIGEA, a law making it illegal for financial institutions from transferring funds to online poker rooms and from accepting funds from online poker rooms. The ambiguous law made it unclear whether poker rooms could operate inside the United States. As a result, several left the United States to focus their business on Europe and the rest of the world. Most notable of these was Party Poker, which at one time was the biggest online poker room in the world but after leaving the US market dropped to number 5 in the world. Party Poker was publicly owned and the complications with being on the stock market and adhering to the laws forced them to leave the US. Private online poker rooms with international headquarters felt the UIGEA did not apply to them and continued to offer online poker to players from the United States.

After the UIGEA was passed, lobbying efforts on behalf of players from the United States increased dramatically. Two of these legal poker organizations are at the forefront of reversing the UIGEA and creating a regulation system that is fair.

  • World Poker Association
  • Poker Players Alliance

Bob Marley said it best when he said "Get Up Stand Up Stand Up for Your Right" and "Don't Give Up the Fight". Although he was probably not talking about the right to play online poker legally Bob Marley was thinking about our freedoms. Freedom is a right from birth. Freedom to choose how we live our life and not to have others tell us how to spend our free time and our own money. Playing a skill game like poker online is something that needs minimal government interference except for taxation, regulation and to support fair play.

Stand Up for Your Right to Play Online Poker Legally

Legal poker in the United States is a topic which is at the forefront of the government. Congress has a chance to make poker legal and appease the tens of millions of poker players in the United States. Legalize Me hopes to inform the public about the movements of the great ambassadors for poker as they try to convince the powers that be - our growing number of Congressional leaders - who have seen the light.

The light.

Poker has been played for hundreds of years and is a part of American history.

Poker is a game of skill. How else can it be that I win every tournament I enter.

The UIGEA - law that made it illegal for financial institutions from dealing with online gaming sites - was never fairly discussed and was sneakily attached to a for sure gonna pass port security bill. The two Senators waited till the last possible moment to add it to the bill knowing full well congress was about to go on their two week winter break and would not even look closely at the UIGEA issue because of the larger port security.

Regulate Poker. Tax the legal online poker rooms. Allow Untied States companies to make money too.