A century ago the players could play poker somewhere in the abandoned gymnasium of the New-York suburbs. Nowadays not only the high-income men with a cigar play this game, but the ordinary people too – housewives, students, etc. Moreover, at present this gambling card game is an official sport with the international tournaments and multimillion-dollar tournament prizes. Poker is open to everyone: an oil baron, a housewife, or a student can sit at the same table to start playing but when they finish the housewife may “turn into” an oil baron, the oil magnate may become as poor as a student, and the student – escape scot-free.
There are a number of good films about poker. One of the most striking movies is a black comedy “Lock, stock and two smoking barrels” (1998), which took 12 big prizes and made a real commercial success – a $1.35 million budget and a box office gross of $28.3 million.
It’s well-known, that poker is an absolute top number one among the gambling games in the USA. There are about 15 types of poker, but the most aggressive one is the so called ‘Texas hold ’em’.
So, the aim of the game is to collect the winning combination of cards and to sweep the board. Each player gets two cards, and then the betting procedure starts. It consists of four rounds with the cards dealing at the beginning of each round. When the cards are received the players in turn make their choices either to skip (fold) or to bet (call or raise). After three cards are opened the next round starts. And so on – until the last fifth card is opened. Then resulting players’ combinations are compared and the winner is determined. Interestingly, the third round is called “turn”- probably, because a drastic twist of fate can often happen at this very round. The fourth round is called “river”, because, as the saying goes, the cowboys used to rest at the river after playing.
There are nine basic combinations in poker, and they are compared by the ranks. All these combinations have their special and quite meaningful names: flush, royal-flush, straight, straight flush, four of a kind or quads, etc. The player whose combination of five cards is the best becomes the winner! Or the player who can drive the rest of the players out by a successful betting or bluff-betting and stay alone up to the hidden cards opening.
Definitely, in poker Luck is the most important thing, i.e. what cards are received by the players. But even with the comparatively worse cards the player can win just using bluffs and a well-thought-out strategy. Thus, a poker player must be unpredictable and highly intuitive.
When you play the paper cards poker the most crucial for the player is to be able to hide his true emotions. That’s why a lot of players wear sunglasses. In addition, some experience in the nonverbal psychology would also help – gestures, smiles, glances, etc. would reveal to an experienced player what cards have just been received by the opponent. One can also misinform and disorient the other players, for example, to show as if he’s received a kicking card (to express an excitement, to touch the hair) when he hasn’t received anything special, or vice versa.
It’s quite another pair of shoes with playing online. The players don’t see each other and, consequently, can’t observe and analyze to predict other players’ cards. So the conditions are equal for all. But this playing blindly – without seeing each other – doesn’t lessen the intrigue, thrill, and passion of poker.
Actually, poker is a pretty simple game. Otherwise, it won’t be played by millions throughout the world both by cards and online. We believe that due to its psychological aspect poker’s going to survive and stay as a card game while all the rest of card games may “die off” due to the computerization and the virtual world stranglehold.
Please keep in mind the necessity of preliminary training before entering any risky game – to play for free before betting real money. Caution is the parent of safety and success!
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