Online Poker History – The Story Behind The Sensational Hit

Online poker is defined as the type of the poker game played in the internet by either one person or a number of participants. The ease of accessibility is what has made on-line poker very popular because of its appealing nature that has seen many people turn to it as a major form of entertainment. It is estimated that in 2003 alone almost USD$ 35 million was collected in monthly revenue from on-line poker alone.

The game of poker has been going for many years, but the history of online poker – along with most other online games – is relatively short. Yet despite the relatively short length of the history of the game, it is an extremely rapid developing part of the entire online gambling industry which is not showing any signs of slowing down. While it is very popular in America, Europe is fast catching up too.

The history of online poker begins with the history of poker in general. The game of poker has been around for thousands of years with origins all over the world, from China to France to Persia and Spain. However, it wasn’t until 1834 that the game of Poker with the name of “Poker” was officially recorded. Jonathan H. Green wrote about “the cheating game” which was played on Mississippi riverboats. This game was played with only twenty cards, but evolved into modern day poker.

Online poker only dates back 9 years, to 1998 which was when the first games came on line. But the real milestone for the history of poker was 2002. A year later when the World Poker Tour was launched on America’s travel channel in March, poker really hit off. This was also true for when the World Series of Poker (WSOP) had its largest turn out over.

These events and others certainly contributed to the developing growth of the history of poker as more and more individuals found out about how fun the game was to play on line, and indeed, how lucrative it could be, especially when playing online poker tournaments. 2004 and 2005 saw a huge influx of additional online poker rooms and sites, many of which appealed to the masses, even the non-poker playing ones who started to show an interest in this new and exciting online game.
Poker is a game that is coordinated by gambling laws and regulations and is mainly played in casinos and card rooms. However, it has recently become available for play in online poker rooms. The introduction of poker to the Online has increased the popularity of the game a huge amount, but it didn’t start out so simply.

The history of online poker began in 1998, when the first online poker room was opened. Planetpoker.com was the first website in the history of online poker and as the first it had many obstacles to overcome. One of the main problems was trust-after all they had to build peoples’ trust in order to get them to play with real money on their site. They also had to work out software that would be user friendly and realistic. However, once they worked out these problems it was a smooth ride.

Probably one of the reasons the history of online poker developed so well was because of how enthusiastic poker professionals have been since the game’s inception on line. Such big names as Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, John Juanda, Phil Gordon, Andy Bloch, and Erick Lindgren are included in this list.

The history is now definitely well on the map, especially financially as the industry in America has reached over $2 billion. There are so many poker rooms today on line that pretty much at any time, 24/7, one is able to find a poker game of their choice. Whether you love 3 card poker, video poker, Texas Hold’em Poker, 7 card stud poker, 5 card draw poker, Omaha Hi-Lo poker, to name but a few, on line players will probably be able to find a game to satisfy and appeal.

Many online poker sites offer now offer numerous features that attract and appeal to new players. This new features are what are making raves in the world series of poker because the world of poker has now wakened to the realization that even on-line poker participants can also have a shot at the big game.

One similar feature offered by the online poker sites is the tournament referred to as “satellite”. This feature allows participants to gain actual access to real live poker tournaments. In a similar tournament Chris Moneymaker emerged the victor and was able to participate in the World Series of Poker in 2003. his victory shocked the whole world.

Recent figures have in fact projected that the revenue generated by on-line poker could reach as high as US$ 100 million target in 2005, and that online participants are estimated to reach 100,000 people.

Mini-Baccarat – The Unsung Hero of Casino Gambling

The European version of Baccarat has been around 150 years give or take. It’s distant cousin, Chemin De Fer, played under an entirely different set of rules is far older and was a game favored by Europe’s royalty and wealthy industrialists. This is most likely where it got the mystique of elegance as an exclusively “high roller’s” game.

In the mid 1950’s Tommy Renzoni ran the Baccarat game at the Capri Hotel & Casino in Havana, Cuba. It was said he discovered that particular variation of the game being played in Argentina at the time.

In those days the mob ran the casinos in Havana and it was a popular resort for the very wealthy and Hollywood’s elite. In 1959 when Castro overthrew the Batista regime, he promptly closed the casino doors and the mob was forced out of Cuba. They had a sweet deal for a while but all good things must end.

The timing was perfect though, because Tommy Renzoni was brought in for the opening of the Sands Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to run their Baccarat game. So it was Renzoni, through a stroke of fortune, who introduced the American version of Baccarat to Vegas that is played today.

The American version of the game is as simple as they come. You choose to wager on either the “bank” hand or the “player” hand. Pretty much a coin toss. The only other choice would be to bet on a tie hand appearing (a bet no sane person would make although I see it done all the time). It’s an even money bet on either side with the exception of a small commission charged on winning bank hands.

The reason for this is that the rules of the game favor the bank hand winning slightly more often than the player hand. Without the 5% commission the outcome would be tilted toward the bank side.

The object of the game is to get closest to a 9 total. All tens and face cards have a zero value, therefore a 5 and a queen would be a total of 5. There is no need to even know the rules governing the drawing of cards because they are completely automatic and procedures are directed by the dealers and pit bosses.

Compared to craps, blackjack, roulette or even poker, there are no complicated decisions to make. Decide on the amount of your wager and which side to bet on. Nothing could be simpler.

It is the aura that surrounds the game which tends to make it seem off limits to most casino goers. It’s been portrayed through stories of high rollers and in James Bond (007) movies over the years as the hero playing against the evil villain. Keep in mind, all the players are betting against the casino, not against each other. Although the roped off table areas and high stakes table limits can be somewhat intimidating.

Enter Mini-Baccarat. The casinos, always on the look out to make a buck, devised the mini-baccarat table as a way to make it more accessible to the average casino patron. It seemed to work although it still hasn’t garnered the wide spread acceptance of the more well known table games.

Betting Systems

In reality, mini-baccarat is ideally suited for most playing and betting systems that do well in an even-money, win/lose environment. Because there can be only one of two outcomes, betting systems that depend on a parlay (doubling up) of wagers tend to do well.

It is common to see runs of 2, 3, 4 & 5 on either bank or player hands. I was playing the Tropicana one night and witnessed an incredible run of 22 consecutive “bank” hands. Luckily, having the sense and instinct to jump on a winning streak after the fourth bank win, I was able to capture 18 straight wins. Needless to say, it was a very good night. That’s an extraordinary run but the game does lend itself well to streaks on both sides.

If you toss a coin you have a 1 to 1 chance of correctly calling the outcome. If a player were to parlay their first win (playing for 2 consecutive wins), they have a 1 in 3 chance of winning that wager. If successful, the player would receive a 3 to 1 payoff. $10 parlayed on two wins would become $40. The odds on calling two consecutive outcomes correctly is 3 to 1.

Playing for three consecutive wins would reduce the player’s winning wagers but the payoff would jump to 7 to 1. A $10 wager would return $80.

Another sound betting system calls for a gradual increase of winning bets. This effectively takes advantage of any extended run of wins that will undoubtedly occur and protect the player’s capital if the outcome is “choppy.”
This type of betting sequence would look like this:

10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50

No wager after the second one in the series would produce a loss for the player.

Following the 1st bet the player is risking $5 and betting $15;
After winning the third bet the player is up $20 betting 25;
On the fourth, the player is up $40 wagering $30;
On the fifth, the player is ahead $65 betting $40;

A series of 7 wins would return $150 and still have a $50 wager as the next bet. All with a starting wager of $10. Following any loss the player reverts back to the starting $10 bet.

With this method the player is increasing their bets with winnings while maintaining a low minimum bet during losing hands. This is the type of smart money management used by professional gamblers that takes full advantage of winning cycles while protecting their bankroll when losing. It insures that their winning bets will be substantially greater than their losing ones.

Although the hands are dealt at a rapid pace, I consider mini-baccarat to be an excellent game, especially for the beginner. It allows them to acclimate to the game and concentrate on their playing strategy and wagers without feeling intimidated by the big money action in the regular Baccarat pit.

If you’ve read any of the stuff I’ve written you know I’m a big fan of Baccarat. As for mini-baccarat, it’s the same game, same low house percentage, low minimums and gives the player a very good chance at some big wins. It might even pay for your next trip the casino.

Best of luck,
Ray W.

The Story of the Gamble House

Southern California around the turn of the 20th century was the birthplace of the Craftsman movement. This style spread rapidly throughout the country and became the predominant style seen in small homes built between 1905 and 1920. This was a style which was available to and affordable for just about all, whether wealthy or working class.

Taking the bulk of its inspiration from the architecture of Pasadena, CA brothers Henry and Charles Greene, Craftsman homes were a significant change from the ornate Victorian homes in style at that time. These homes aimed to present a connection to nature and a newfound simplicity of design.

Taking their cue from nature, Craftsman homes seemed to be a part of their natural surroundings. Overhangs provided relief from summer heat and winter chills. Design elements were taken from natural ideas – wooden wall cladding, stepping stones and interior decoration schemes which reminded one of outside.

The Greene brothers were influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style as well as the architecture of H.H. Richardson. The Greenes also took inspiration from Japanese functional home philosophy. These homes were built to be adaptable to the changing needs of families and designed to integrate as closely as possible into their environment. Along with these influences, the brothers took some cues from the English Arts and Crafts movement – the sum of all these influences was what we now know as the California Bungalow.

The Gamble house in Pasadena is universally acknowledged as their masterpiece. Built in 1908, this home uses exposed joinery which seems to grow organically out of the home, verandas and an integration of home and garden to integrate the home in to its outdoor setting. Unique at the time in its asymmetry, the home appears almost a natural, rather than an architectural wonder. The exposed rafters, triangular braced supports and transomed windows are all hallmarks of the Craftsman style.

One is struck by the beauty of the Gamble House immediately at the front door. You seem to see a reflection of an oak tree behind you. The cloud lifts and Tiffany Glass (by Louis Comfort) are a sign of the beauty to come. There is a unifying theme of broad horizontal lines; this begins with the bars under the transoms and is repeated throughout the home in many windows.

Upon entering the home, you now see the same oak tree from the inside – there is a feeling of still beige outdoors. The stained glass of the front door changes with the light of the day over the hours. The main attraction of the interior is the wooden joinery. There is not a single crevice exposed here; the scarf, lap and finger joints are all impeccable.

The austere, Japanese inspired design and functionality of the home is displayed best through the extensive built-ins added by the Greenes. There are drawers built in to the dining room for linen storage and other uses. The Greenes were very concerned with creating a unified look and feel for the home; so much so that they even built most of the furniture, lest the residents disrupt the ambience with furniture which was not perfectly suited to their vision of the home.

The horizontal themes are carried on throughout the dining room. There is also a recurring motif of threes to be seen in the home – there are three stained glass windows, three vertical wooden pieces where the wall meets the ceiling, three tiles on either side of the fireplace and so on.

The windows here also continue the tree theme of the front door and also change colors over the course of the day. The mahogany table and chandelier are matching in shape (suba). All of the home’s furniture was designed by the Greene brothers or by Gustav Stickley. The walls are covered in fabric and then painted over. Carpets were added for color.

The fireplace features tile with a Tiffany glass inlay in a vine pattern matching the Tiffany glass bowl on the dining room table. This pattern also meshes with the pattern of the windows – there is no element of design here which does not fit together perfectly.