Poker’s Rise to Prominence

Poker has been around for more than a century, but it’s really only in the last ten years that the game really saw a spike in popularity. So what’s changed to influence this popularity and where did the game come from to enjoy such popularity?

While the origins of the game of poker are somewhat murky, with links to the Persian game of As Nas and the French game of poque, it is known to have really started to gain ground in the early 19th century along the Mississippi River, with a variety of forms of the game being played on riverboats where gambling was a common past-time.

Throughout the American Civil War and continuing after, variations such as stud poker, wild cards, and community card poker were all introduced tot he game. In Las Vegas, regular tournaments were held in an attempt to draw players willing to play in high-stakes games, but they invariably failed to draw the crowds and money players that were desired, despite the upgrading of casinos to accommodate these players. In the mid 20th century poker tournaments, including the World Series of Poker (WSOP), began in American casinos, finally drawing the type of player that they had desired. The game also started to show up regularly in popular culture, including television shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation and in films like Rounders.

In the 21st century the game saw a huge spike in popularity for a number of reasons. The introduction of online poker allowed anybody to play the game from the comfort of their own homes without the need to put together a group to play or travel to a casino. Also, poker tournaments being televised, along with hold-card cameras, turned poker into something of a spectator sport, with the Texas Hold ‘Em variety of the game benefiting in particular as it has become the most widely played version, especially at the WSOP.

With smartphones and tablets now being nearly ubiquitous, even more people are playing poker than ever before thanks to the availability of free apps to play anywhere or any time. Online poker players can even win seats at major tournaments now, with Chris Moneymaker arguably being the most famous thanks to his 2003 World Series of Poker championship win after winning an online tournament.

As technology continues to connect us it will be interesting to see how the game continues to grow and if it moves away from the casinos and tables and more to keyboards and pixels.

Origins of Baccarat

Baccarat is known as the card game of the rich and famous. Baccarat was so enigmatically linked with the wealthy upper classes and rich and famous and as a result many people shunned the game its triumphant emergence online.

Baccarat is one of the easiest of casino games to learn and play and can really generate some excitement when played at an online casino. There is no skill involved in the game as the rules determine each hands action. The only variable involved is the betting. In short, Baccarat is a game of chance.

Baccarat is thought to have originated in either France or Italy during the middle Ages. The word baccarat is a derivative of the Italian word for zero. In the middle ages the game was played using Tarot cards as opposed to the modern day card used today.

As Baccarat’s popularity increased across Europe, as with most of the other forms of gambling in those days there was some rigorous opposition from the Church. The Church viewed Baccarat as the game of the devil and those who played it were carrying out the devil’s work.

Tarot cards were first used in a game of Baccarat by Felix Galguiere. The Etruscan nine gods are said to be the basis for Galguiere’s version of the game. In this early edition of Baccarat, dice were rolled to determine the fate of a woman since the nine gods required the sacrifice of a blond virgin.

A roll of either an eight or nine made her a priestess; a six or seven and she was banned from religious activities; a number less than six and she walked into the sea and disappeared.

This early Baccarat variant became the game of choice for the upper classes and aristocracy and eventually evolved into ‘Chemin de Fer’ and European Baccarat it is thought that this took place at approximately 1500. The game, even though extremely popular, was illegal at first, as any form of gambling was. Eventually, the government made it legal and placed taxes on it. This made the game even more popular because people could rationalize that they were doing something for the good of the poor when they played baccarat thanks to the tax involved. The game began to lose its popularity during Napoleon’s reign when it was again outlawed. It remained illegal until the early 1900’s. At around this time many of the grand casinos were established along the French Riviera.

This version is the one that eventually made it way over to America but was a different version of the game that came from England. Baccarat was legal in England during the period that it was illegal across the rest of the Continent.

The English version of Baccarat reached the shores of Argentina in early 1950, where it was called ‘Punto y Banca’. When the game eventually reached Havana, the aim of the game had differed somewhat as now the player played against the house. It is this version, American Baccarat that was played in the casinos in Havana.

The Capri Casino version is the Baccarat variant that migrated to Las Vegas in the mid 1950s via Francis Renzoni, after a Las Vegas casino opened a baccarat pit. The game began it new life in America as an unpopular addition to the casino game selection. Las Vegas adapted the game and made the banker the UK casino or house position. This made it possible to bet for or against the house with the banker position. This is the Baccarat variant that is now so popular in the United States, England and Australia.

Before the game of baccarat had reached Las Vegas, it was already being played in New York and Florida. The game was played at the Saratoga race track and at the Palm Beach resort in 1910, forty years before it was played in Las Vegas.

Since its origins in the Europe during the Middle Ages, Baccarat has steadily made it’s way across each continent eventually becoming one of the most famous and respected casino games in the world.

There are variations in play depending on the location at which you are playing, so it is always best to check the house rules. And, as so may other forms of gambling, baccarat has made its way onto the internet. Most online casinos offer baccarat games with some variation in house rules; the biggest I have found is that there are only two hands: the banker and one player. Again, it’s advised to check the house rules before you play. Some online casinos also play the game with a single deck of cards, which is unusual in a land-based casino.

Learn Gambling Through E-Books – Gambling In A Scholarly Way!

Gambling fans who gamble over the internet are those who benefit the most of the gambling e-books. These books include information on the various games at the casino, statistics for you to analyze, strategies that you can use and tips on winning.

Here are some masterpieces.

Blackjack – The complete Strategy – Focuses on winning a blackjack game. It includes tips on various skills one needs to possess for winning at blackjack including tips for card counting and effectively managing your money. It comes with a money back guarantee for a year and four bonus offers.

Loophole In Sport Betting System – This book by Richard Koh gives its reader information about the various loopholes in the sports betting.

Casino Betting Systems – It has information on a wide range of topics pertaining to online gambling games such as craps, roulette, video poker and slot contests, put together masterfully by Fawzia Awwad.

Casino Gambling Made Easier -Contains winning strategies for the five best online games including craps, blackjack, baccarat etc. It also provides the reader tips for managing his wager and a list of the finest Laughlin and Las Vegas casinos with illustrations.

More Casino Gambling Made Easier – Another book by Gayle Mitchell, opens up working strategies for different games including roulette, live poker and sportsbook. It provides the ten worst possible bets by a poker player and also a travelogue guiding you through the best casinos around the world.

Paying To Win – This extensively covers 16 different casino games. It also has pertinent links to sites for roulette, baccarat, craps and other casino games adored by one and all.

Hot to beat the casinos easily: A must have e-book which can guide one at making money from the casino and enjoy the fun by keeping it with yourself. It has many tips on how one can easily beat the casino in games like craps and roulette and also on how a person should stick to his budget.

Winning systems: With over 50 gambling systems with which you can win, these are professionally written guides that study gambling systems in depth and were previously sold commercially for a fortune.

Secrets Of Ex-Blackjack Dealer Revealed: This book directs the reader with ways to will constantly at blackjack within just forty pages.

The House Edge – A Guaranteed Win for the Casinos

Here’s why it’s important to know the house edge, which is the amount of money the casino expects to win from you over time when you play the games. The bigger the edge, the more they win. The smaller the casino advantage the longer your money may last. You are at risk for a quicker loss on any type of bet within a game that has a house edge of more than 2%.

Here is the house edge, AKA casino advantage, for some of the most popular gambling games in casinos today:

Roulette

There are 38 numbered positions that players can wager on in a number of ways. Betting a single number and winning will net you a payoff of 35 to 1. Therefore the casino makes a 2 unit profit for each win. 2/38 = 5.26% advantage for the house. Your expected loss over time is $5.26 for every $100 wagered. on a single number.

Craps

Type of bet Edge

Pass Line 1.4%

Place 6, 8 1.5%

Any Seven (one roll wager) 14.36%

Baccarat

Bet Bank. 1.06%

Bet Player 1.24%

Bet Tie 14.38%

Basic Blackjack

By far the best table game as long as the player uses correct basic strategy and the house offers favorable rules such as:

Blackjack pays 3 to 2

Dealer stands on soft seventeen

Double after splitting pairs

Double on any 2 cards

Re-split pairs

Surrender allowed

Look for these rules and you’ll enjoy a house edge of about 0.5%.

It’s worth noting that many casinos have switched to hitting soft 17. This increases the edge to 0.7% but it’s still a good game. Be aware of games that pay only 6 to 5 for a player blackjack instead of the customary 3 to 2. Simply put, a 3/2 game nets a player $15 for a $10 bet, whereas a 6/5 game only pays $12. That’s a -$3 loss for every blackjack! Not good. Unfortunately, the Vegas strip is converting to 6/5 games.

Blackjack Variants

Two low edge blackjack variants are:

Spanish 21. 0.7%

Blackjack Switch 0.6%

Carnival Games

Remember the infamous words of the carnival showman P.T. Barnum? ” There’s a sucker born every minute”. A number of games are dubbed carnival games because of a higher house edge than the traditional offerings of blackjack and baccarat. They are:

Texas Holdem Bonus 2.0%

Three Card Poker 2.3%

Ultimate Texas Holdem 2.5%

Four Card Poker 2.8%

Casino War 2.9%

Crazy 4 Poker 3.4%

Let it Ride 3.5%

Mississippi Stud Poker 4.9%

Caribbean Stud Poker 5.2%

Also, be mindful of the optional bonus or side bets at the tables. Most games have them, including those with a low edge.The winning payout amounts look very attractive and players can win even if the original wager is lost to the house. However the house edge jumps to double digits on most of these wagers.

Sports Gambling

When betting on sports games, the house takes a “vig”, slang for vigorish, when bettors make an even money wager. For example, a $10 bet on the Buffalo Bills, vs. the Miami Dolphins will cost $11. Player wins $10, the house keeps $1.

Slot Machines

It seems the everybody loves the penny slots these days. Multi-coin, multi-line with striking themes, graphics and bonus features. Players can wager as little as fifteen cents up to three or four dollars per spin. the edge on the pennies ranges between 10 & 15%! The hold on dollar and higher machines is much lower, ranging from 2 to 5%. If you’re going to bet max on the pennies, you’re better off playing the bucks.

If you like machines study up on video poker. Learn how to read the pay tables that are posted on each machine. There is a skill element to video poker. Choosing the right game can drop the house edge to less than 1%. Good Luck!