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History of Poker

poker-cards

Card games in general have their beginning over a thousand years ago in 9th century China during the Tang dynasty where socialites played “The Leaf Game” with one another. However, these early games most likely bore little resemblance to modern poker which doesn’t seem to have a historical analogue until about the 15th century in France with the game of “Poque”.

Poque, much like our poker, was a competitive game played with 52 cards just like the poker games that showed up in the Americas about 4 centuries later. Though Poque may be the most recent ancestor of poker it evolved slowly from other games of the time such as “Brag” which in turn came from an older French game known as “Brelan”. Brag, which is still fairly popular today, is one of the earliest examples of a card game that uses bluffing as a possible means to victory.

Still, while these games are similar to poker in certain respects, much of poker is completely unique to its ruleset which means finding a direct ancestor to the game can be a bit of a stretch. Betting, raising and poker’s specific form of bluffing all seemed to show up around the Mississippi River delta in the mid 18th century, where modern poker was born.

By the turn of the 19th century poker had grown to become incredibly popular with gambling riverboats in the Mississippi. Both stud and straight versions of poker were popular here. If one went back in time to this era to play some card games they would, however, notice some of the more valuable hands of today’s poker are not valid. It wasn’t until around the 1850’s that the concept of the straight and flush were added.

Poker began to expand westward in California by the late 1800’s without much change aside from the popularity of it increasing exponentially. The Civil War can be attributed with its growing player base as soldiers at the time had little else to do to take their minds off the grim realities of war they were facing.

By the early 20th century the modern rules of poker were mostly in place, with the addition of the Wild Card format popping into existence around 1875 followed by community cards in 1925.

The First Poker Competitions

Poker kept growing well into the 20th century, however it was mostly a game of gambling halls, saloons and river boats. Enter a man named Benny Binion:

Binion appreciated the skill that goes into poker and saw potential in the very unique type of competition it brings out in people. In 1970 Binion invited 7 of the best poker players in the world together to play against one another at his Vegas Casino.

Here began the World Series of Poker (WSOP) which has had huge ramifications in the way poker is seen and how it is played today. WSOP rules are based around it being fun to watch as a spectator. This is why no limit Hold ‘em was chosen as the rule set for their games. It is simple to understand and can be incredibly nerve-racking as the pots get ever-larger. This choice of rule set is almost solely responsible for why Hold ‘em poker is the number one poker game world wide.

From here poker got its foothold into the mainstream of society, but it wasn’t until 1998 with the advent of the internet age that its next evolution began<

Online Poker

After poker breached the mainstream through the WSOP it, once again, continued to grow. Soon poker became a common game to play among friends or at parties, even during functions it was once considered too low-brow for. Thus, on New Year’s Day 1998, as poker had reached heights of popularity unseen before, the first real-money online poker was released to the public.

The potential of this system quickly became clear world wide with casinos rapidly adopting this new technology. By 2003 a man named Chris Moneymaker sealed the legitimacy of online poker by qualifying for the WSOP via the internet. He paid only $86 to enter and left with $2.5 million in winnings.

ESPN quickly latched onto this story and created an entirely new boom of online poker players who saw the potential in this new form of poker. This is one of the main reasons for poker’s current overwhelmingly large popularity.

Today, new markets are beginning to emerge driving these numbers even higher. Russia, South American countries and some Asiatic countries are joining in as well creating somewhat of a new renaissance in online poker.

Poker Rules

To understand poker one should begin with learning the rules for the world’s most popular variant, Hold ‘em. This type of poker is fairly straight forward, but there’s a lot of room for nuance when it comes to the bluffing and betting stages of the game.

Table: Best ranking hole cards

Ranking Hole cards
1 Pocket* Aces
2 Pocket Kings
3 Pocket Queens
4 Ace-King Suited
5 Pocket Jacks
6 Pocket Tens
7 Ace-King Suited
8 Ace-Queen Suited
9 Ace-Jack Suited
10 King-Queen Suited

*Pocket = two of the same card.

Hold ‘em begins with each player receiving two “hole” cards, face down, and five cards dealt into the middle of the table known as community cards, face up. The community cards are dealt in the following order: 3 cards at first, known as the flop. This is followed by the fourth card, known as the “turn”. Finally there is the “river”, a fifth card.

There are four rounds wherein betting takes place; the first before the flop, the second after the flop, the third after the turn and the fourth round follows the river. On the final round the “showdown” begins where each player remaining finishes their bets and shows their cards, with the highest ranking hand winning the pot.

The goal here is to create the best possible hand out of the seven cards available, two in the hole and 5 in the community. The nuance and skill takes place in the betting rounds. A world of strategy exists within those bets.

poker-table

The Blinds and the Button

At the beginning of every hand in Hold ‘em there is always a blind and a button. Blinds are mandatory bets that exist to keep the pot going and are determined by the position of the button. The button rotates counter-clockwise around the table and the blinds are posted by the two players left of the button. The small blind is posted by the player to the left of the button and the big blind is posted by the player to the left of the small blind. A small blind costs half the amount of whatever the cost of the big blind is.

When a player is dealt their hole cards they must determine if they want to continue playing this hand. If so, they must at least match the bet of the big blind or any raises that have previously been made.

The Flop

After the initial betting from the hole cards occurs it is time for the flop. The dealer lays three cards down in the middle of the table as community cards. Any hand that can be made between the hole cards and the community is valid. Another round of betting takes place after the flop, again after the turn and once more after the river.

Each round of betting continues as long as bets are being made and being matched. This can go on as long as players have money to spend, so depending on what is dealt these can be fairly drawn out. Once all betting and card rounds have taken place, the showdown determines the victor.

The Showdown

four-aces

Table: The best poker hands

Rank Hand name Hand description
1 Royal Flush 10, J, Q, K, A of the same suit
2 Straight Flush Five consecutive cards of the same suit
3 Four of a Kind The same card in each of the four suits
4 Full House Three of a kind and a pair
5 Flush Five random cards in one suit
6 Straight Five consecutive cards in mixed suits
7 Three of a Kind Three of the same cards
8 Two Pairs Two pairings of the same card
9 One Pair One pairing of the same card
10 High Card No matching of either card or suit

All card combinations are composed of at most 5 cards. Once all the preceding betting rounds have taken place, the remaining players show their hole cards and the highest value combination is the winner and receives all blinds and bets placed. The button is then moved counter-clockwise to show the start of the next hand and blinds.

Different Types of Poker

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There are a lot of different types of poker besides Hold ‘em that have varying amounts of popularity. Remember that Hold ‘em only became mainstream due to media popularity, every other variation is also valid. Being said, as far as online poker goes, the most popular by a huge margin is Texas Hold ‘em. Other types of poker with a solid following do exist, though, with the following being the biggest runner ups:

  • Omaha

This variant is quite similar to Hold ‘em. Here the player is given four cards, which they may only use two of, and only three of the five community cards available. Omaha is the second most popular type of poker and has its own different subcategories of Hi-Lo and High available. High is the easiest format for beginners to get the hang of.

  • Seven Card Stud

This used to be the most popular version of poker before Hold ‘em took over that spot. Here the player is given two face down hole cards, but is then dealt 5 additional face up cards over the course of the game in each round. Betting takes place before each card is dealt, just like Hold ‘em. The concept is similar to Hold ‘em minus the idea of community cards.

  • Five Card Draw

This is an incredibly basic beginners version of poker, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Five cards are dealt and then the player can discard up to three and draw the same amount again. Betting takes place before the discard rounds.

  • Razz

This is very popular among certain circles but less known overall. It differs from most poker styles in the idea that the player is actually aiming for the lowest hand.

  • Mixed Poker

This is very popular among certain circles but less known overall. It differs from most poker styles in the idea that the player is actually aiming for the lowest hand.

Texas Hold ‘em is the ideal place to start, to put it bluntly. The majority of poker games are based around this style and a new player probably shouldn’t get used to the rules of others to avoid confusion. Though Texas Hold ‘em started as a variant it’s basically the base game these days.

Learning the rules and nuances of Texas Hold ‘em is very important and then once that has been established players can then move onto different styles without much of a hangup. Hold ‘em teaches the fundamentals of bluffing and betting, which is where the real combat happens, better than a lot of other styles.

Poker for Beginners- Which Type is Best?

best-poker-hands

For most new players, Texas Hold’em is a great entry point into the world of poker. One of the easiest variant of the many available versions of poker, Texas Hold’em is widely available and extremely popular amongst casuals and diehards. Tournaments and cash games present their own challenges and advantages, but like anything, it pays to give it a go!

Once you’re familiar with the game, it’s time to let your hair down and add some flavour to your life! As detailed above, a quite a few different poker games exist. Each with its own nuances and thrills that’s sure to find a playing audience. A note of guidance, it’s wise to learn the ropes of new poker games, and this holds true for all gaming, by utilising free play versions and/or wagering low stakes. Play smart and have fun!

Poker and video poker

flop-turn-river

Some purists may be quick to denounce video poker, as it leaves out a bit of the interaction that is important to the bluffing and betting rounds. That being said expert video poker players are leagues better than someone less skilled at the game, so skill is very much still a large part of the game. Let’s check out some of the big differences between the two:

Level of skill

Here is where the brunt of the debate rages about virtual poker. Depending on the type of casino it can be either against other anonymous players in an online format or against the CPU itself. It’s a great way to get a hang on the rules and strategies of the poker game without having to delve into a casino somewhere and go bust. There’s also the option of practice rounds and free games to help with this as well.

The best things about online poker is the strict rule book it plays by. There’s no way to cheat the system or get psyched out by other players in person. It is pure and basic poker, the good and the bad.

Certain systems of video poker are set up sort of like a slot machine. Insert your cash and the program can guide you through the rest. There’s no way to make a mistake, as the rules won’t allow it, which makes it a great starting point for beginners.

Video poker offers poker minus both the complexity and stress of in-person games. They also generally offer things such as jackpots and certain bonuses as well as a pleasing graphic style. Skill-wise in person is the biggest test, but online and video poker offers plenty of challenge in a relaxing atmosphere.

Strategy

Critical and quick thinking are still a major part of video poker. However minus the face-to-face contact there is a bit less strategy overall. Online poker, on the other hand, still requires you to deal with other people. Even without their faces present judging their bluffs needs a ton of strategy, though it is a different style than when playing poker in person.

Video poker requires the lowest amount of strategy, but it is excellent for getting rounds in quickly and acclimating yourself to the environment. This doesn’t mean there is no strategy involved though, you still have to prepare yourself for the next round and figure out the best options for each hand.

Preference

This is all up to preference really. Video poker is amazing at actually being able to play poker to relax, while online offers more opportunities to out-strategise the opponent and for higher-thinking related moves.

Both of these options are quite a bit calmer than dealing with an in-person poker match, which can get quite heated. Yet, poker at a casino offers a much higher test of skill. Video poker and online poker offer jackpots as an advantage, which is a huge incentive, and are much easier to get into than an in-person poker tournament.

Think of online and video poker as a training ground and a more peaceful experience that still has its uses. Every variation of poker has its merits.

Play Poker at Mr Green

poker-chips

As a leading operator, Mr Green prides itself on the many titles and awards that have been bestowed upon us by members of our community. Most importantly, Socially Responsible Operator of the year at the EGR 2012 awards and Casino Brand of the Year. A great testament to our commitment to providing safe and exciting gaming, our library of titles includes Casino Hold’em, Caribbean Stud Poker, and Three Card Poker. Moreover, if you’re looking for greater action, Mr Green also offers live casino poker and video poker. More details below.

Live Casino Poker at Mr Green<

Live casino dealer poker is a marquee attraction for customers at Mr Green. While similar to other poker games, live dealer poker combines the ease of play afforded by online gameplay with the added touch of a human element through a live dealer. This commitment to authenticity greatly shines through in the most tension filled moments.

With a seasoned dealer managing a game, online poker truly becomes a gaming experience that rivals any land-based casino environment. In collaboration with the folks at Evolution Gaming, dealers work out of their state of the art studio to provide the best gaming experience. Table action is delivered with the help of the following gambling venues: Malta’s Dragonara Casino, London’s Hippodrome, and the U.S.A’.s Foxwoods Casino.

In terms of UI, the live dealer poker face is extremely stripped down to remove any difficulties when scrolling through the available table options. Pick your table, join a group of players in a game, and enjoy the best live dealer experience available today!

Video Poker at Mr Green

Here at Mr Green you’ll find numerous editions of video poker available, most notably, Jacks and Better (available in two variations), thanks in part to our partners at NetEnt and IFT. In the NetEnt edition, betting options are varied with an astounding 25 hands available for simultaneous betting. The IFT variation includes side betting on hands where a successful combination would unlock a multiplier on any winning hand.

If those titles weren’t enticing enough, All American and Joker Wild can also be found at Mr Green. As they are released from NetEnt, both editions feature multi-line format that presents the opportunity to double your winnings on all qualifying hands. Outside of NetEnt, variants from IGT are on offer with Triple Play Draw Poker and Double Bonus Poker available for customers.