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Poker, Poker Everywhere

27 September 2014

By John Marchel
Just how many different poker games are there? I've been able to identify at least 120 different games that claim to be poker, in one form or another. Chicago, five-card draw, five-card stud, Texas hold 'em, Omaha, low ball, seven-card, whiskey poker, and (of course) strip poker are just some of the variations.

The game we know today was developed in the U.S. in the early 1800s. Some scholars believe that brag, a type of mini-poker game that is popular in England, is the true ancestor of poker. The name itself however comes from the German word pochen, meaning "to bluff." Others believe the game comes from New Orleans, and the French game poque. But regardless of where it originated, today poker is a billion-dollar-a-year industry played in over 40 countries around the world.

Almost all poker games can be divided into two major types: stud and draw. In stud, cards are distributed to each player, and no changing of cards is allowed. In draw poker, cards can be exchanged for new ones.

There are really only two ways to win at poker: one way is to have the highest-ranking hand, and the other way is to bluff other players into thinking you have the highest hand, thereby encouraging them to drop out of the round.

Unlike other casino table games, you can't just walk into a poker room, pick any seat, sit down, and start to play. Instead, you must first contact a floorman or supervisor who will inform you what poker games are being played, what limits they have, and whether there's an available seat.

Most poker games are not difficult to learn, as far as rules are concerned. The ranking of hands can be easily learned, as can rules about how many cards are dealt and how they are distributed for a specific game.

On the other hand, it has been said that poker is 50 percent luck and 50 percent skill. In many poker games, bluffing can be a deciding factor; consequently, your skill at bluffing your opponents can make a big difference. It boils down to a simple concept: it's not what cards you are holding, but how you play them.

Bet – You Didn’t Know

• When it comes to poker there are 2,598,960 possible five-card hands.

• President William Harding enjoyed playing poker but wasn’t a very good player. He once gambled away the White House china to wealthy socialite Louise Cromwell Brooks.

• We hear the term “nuts” a lot on poker TV. It comes from poker in the old west. If a player ran out of chips and wanted to bet his wagon, he was required to bring the wheel lug “nuts” from the wagon, which was then placed in the pot. Hence the term for the winner was he has the “nuts.”

• Pai Gow Poker is one of the slowest table games in a casino with only about 40 hands played in an hour.

• During the making of the movie "Hondo," John Wayne won the movie dog Lassie away from owner Rudd Weathwax in a poker game. Since the game involved quite a lot of alcohol, and not really an “ordinary” game; Wayne decided to give the dog back the next morning.

• American poker, played in the early 1800’s on the riverboats was played with only 20 cards. They consisted of the 10’s, jacks, queens, kings and aces. There were no draws, flushes or straights.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at


Gambling on the High Seas

30 August 2014
At last count there were at least 140 cruise ships around the world offering casino gambling. The cruise ship industry uses casino gaming as an added amenity for their customers, but casinos are not designed as the primary reason for a cruise. Although shipboard casinos are similar to land-based ones, there are differences. ... (read more)

Practicing Your Craft

2 August 2014
If you are a golfer you might have the desire to go a round at Pebble Beach. If you play tennis maybe Hilton Head would be your hope or playing a few lines at the Reno National Bowling Center would be fun for bowlers. If you want to gamble you might want to go Las Vegas, Atlantic City or to Monte Carlo. ... (read more)

Don't Tell Others How to Play

19 July 2014
Follow casino players will love you when they win after you helped them. They will love you even more as they win hand after hand based on your advice. However, when they loss, even one hand, even after five wins, they will sometimes turn on you. “Your suggestion made me lose” will be their comment. ... (read more)

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John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

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