The popularity of poker as the card game of choice has oftentimes been attributed to online gaming. Many home gamers and poker puritans will probably disagree, but history will tell us that the unprepended spike of the card game's popularity during the 21st century is large because of its introduction online.
Of course, some may argument that the invention of the hole-card camera has given poker an elite status as it has turned the game into a spectator sport. This innovation has allowed millions of poker aficionados worldwide to follow the action and drama of it all, giving birth to a more exciting broadcast of the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour. Poker pros have become instant celebrities, thanks to cable and satellite TV.
Because of the increasing fame of poker, more and more people are getting into the hype, which is not about to fade within the next decade. Home games have become more and more popular and poker tournaments abound. And to add fuel to this worldwide phenomenon, poker has been made available online. Now, virtually everyone with a computer and an Internet connection can play poker to their hearts desire.
As a testament to the success of online poker, major tournaments have practically increased player base with the introduction of online satellite-qualifier games, with the winner earning a seat into a major tourney. Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer, winners of the 2003 and 2004 WSOP tournaments respectively, won their seats online through satellites.
This brings us again to the great debate now brewing in the poker community: online poker vs. offline poker?
The debate need not be as contentious as it may sound, as each of the gaming arena offers something advantageous over the other without really putting one down.
Online poker is played the same way as offline poker. The rules are the same for every kind of poker game like Texas Hold'em, Stud, or Draw poker. Some will say that offline poker is more exciting, as the opponents meet eye to eye. It is here where you can see the other player's "tells," if his hands tremble when he has a big hand or if his nose twitches if he bluffs. You can stare down an opponent in offline poker, and look very good doing it like what the pros do.
These are the things you can not do online. You do not see the other players. You do not get to observe their "tells." All you can do is watch how they bet and see if you can predict their betting patterns.
However, online poker has its advantages. Not everyone owns a poker table and an otherwise expensive chip set. The poker websites will provide that for you, all you need to do is download the platform. You do not have to waste time and effort organizing a home game, as there are players online ready to take you on practically anytime of the day. You can play with a German player or anyone who has an internet connection anywhere in the world. You can play with real money or just have fun playing without it. What's more, most poker sites will give you free money to play with without even asking for a deposit, which means you can actually bankroll your poker career without spending a single penny online.
And the odds are the same. The rules are the same. And the players are the same. Online poker has just made it easier for you to enjoy the best card game in the world.