Poker is a party, for some

The sorry saga of the American Government’s criminalising of legitimate on-line gaming businesses has hit some harder than others.

Screenshot of an on-line poker site.

“Wow, what just happened at The cash games and tournaments are blowing up! Every day, more and more people choose to play poker here.

I can think of several reasons why...” so quoth the lovely Kara Scott in the August newsletter of Party Poker, but others are on tilt. In particular, Full Tilt.

A word of explanation for non-poker buffs. You’re playing No Limit Hold ’Em, and heads up against the biggest fish on the table you have AK of spades on a 7-9-Q-4 board. After making a sizeable pre-flop raise, you have flopped the nut flush; you figure this guy must have a set to have taken a pot sized bet on the flop; now you are all-in on the turn, and he calls. A lump rises in your throat, but you heave an audible sigh of relief when the 8 of spades hits the river. He has no full house; you are home and dry. Then, you watch in utter horror as he turns over the 6-10 of spades showing a straight flush.

He has called a pre-flop raise with rubbish, and believing he is in front with his 10 high flush he shovels it all in, only to hit the absolute card on the river. Do the math. On the turn you have two cards, he has two, and there are four in the middle, leaving 44 unknown. Of those 44, there is one card he can hit, one. And he hits it. Now you are on tilt; you are calling with garbage; drawing to gutshots; it’s as though you’ve never heard of the fold button. Tilt is a well-recognised psychological phenomenon. The ability to be able to deal with tilt is one of the factors that separates great poker players from merely good ones.

Up until recently there was a poker site called Full Tilt Poker; at present it is in limbo, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission had revoked its licence, but now it has been resurrected by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. Some poker players are said to be angry because they have been unable to withdraw funds from the site, but whoever is to blame, it is not Full Tilt.

Other sites are doing reasonably well in spite of the ongoing American limbo after Black Friday, and new ones are still emerging. There have been calls to strengthen the regulation of British poker sites, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Ladbrokes and William Hill among others are still doing brisk trade, and their high street presence through their betting shops rules out any cut and run tactics under pressure from Uncle Sam or anyone else.

Having said that, the only thing that can be said of the future of on-line poker is that it is uncertain. Non-US players are advised to make hay while the Sun shines, so if you want to get paid to play, sign up with world’s biggest rakeback affiliate, the British-based RakeTheRake. Use this link. And an even bigger tip for non-players; if you can’t play poker – don’t learn!

[The above article was published originally August 4, 2011. The screengrab was uploaded by Silverberg].

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