“Why Poker?” by Alan25main
What’s kept you busy while at home? Many people have turned to online games to fill the time. Alan25main shares his thoughts on why poker stands out from the crowd.
Especially over this past year of the pandemic, a lot of people have been searching for a way to keep their minds active and focused while sitting alone with only a computer to keep them company much of the time. After all, there’s only so much house or yard work we can do.
Crossword puzzles have helped some folks. Reading or watching movies has occupied others. Music has helped and is often used as an accompaniment for additional activities to still more. People don’t enjoy boredom and everyone seeks their own way to fill that void. Almost everyone has turned to various sorts of online games, at least now and then.
Some of those people are now playing chess against live opponents online, but the game seems cold to many, and not terribly competitive as one player is usually much better than the other. Many of our childhood board games can now be played online, but there’s really not much challenge because there’s so little strategy and so much chance involved. No one aspires to be a professional Monopoly or Sorry player.
There must be at least a few hundred play money gambling sites with craps/dice games, slot machines, or other sheer chance games available. None of them really satisfy that competitive itch to earn a victory. The opponent is just a machine, after all.
On the other hand, card games offer both the randomness of chance and generally involve some strategy or skill and seem more fulfilling. A reader might be amazed at how many card games can be played on line. It takes very little effort to find games of Euchre, Whist, Hearts, Crazy 8s, Pinochle, or Bridge via the internet. There’s even Old Maid for those so inclined. [Notice I skipped over Blackjack because I think it fits into the “gambling” area better than the strategy/skill area–no doubt, Arnold (the Bishop) Snyder would disagree.]
All those games can be fun. Some can even be played by teams or partnerships, indeed, some must be played that way–Pinochle, for example. But, all these games are minor contestants compared to the Grand-daddy of them all: poker.
Almost every variation of poker is available at one of the numerous sites offering it. (I confess I know of no site currently offering Pai Gow. That’s possibly just my ignorance, but I googled it with no live results.) Both Five card draw and stud, Seven card stud, Omaha, and other variations are easily found, most with high, low, or high-low split winners available for play.
One of the few “live” features you’ll miss from home play is that none of the casino or online games offer a declaration of which part of the pot a player is competing for. That simply isn’t practical in online play, and most casinos avoid it because “cards read” is far simpler for the dealer to adjudicate when dividing the pot.
The only other difference I’ve noticed is that virtually all casinos and online games that have high-low split games have a qualifier for low–usually 8-low or better–unlike Razz, where the lowest hand wins even if it happens to be QQQQ below KKKK. One other variation–always clearly indicated–is that the Low hand may be defined differently as Kansas City (7-5-4-3-2 of two or more suits), Eastern (6-4-3-2-A of two or more suits), or Lowball, also known as Western (5-4-3-2-A, suits are ignored) [Replay only counts Lowball or Western lows in our games with Low winners.]
All the poker variations require knowledge and strategy. If you simply show up and throw chips at the pot, you’ll lose pretty quickly. It isn’t the fault of the cards if the player plays them poorly.
Every new player would be well-served by investing some time in both watching games and reading some articles [check out the Replay Poker Knowledge Base] about the game before trying to play with the top players. The games seen on TV or the internet are not typical–that’s why they’re being shown on the internet or TV–“dog bites man” isn’t news, but “man bites dog” is. The first is ho-hum, the second is unusual.
Good luck at the tables!