The Poker Revolution
By Chris Ferguson
It wasn’t too long ago that casinos considered poker to be a loss leader; a place for men to play a man’s game while their wives fed the slot machines. Many casinos were in the process of closing poker rooms altogether to make room for other, more profitable games. Today the pendulum is swinging the other direction. Casinos across the are adding poker rooms or expanding the existing ones. And as with so many revolutions right now, the two primary catalysts for this explosion are television and the Internet.
Poker TV shows, such as The Travel Channel’s World Poker Tour, ESPN’s The World Series of Poker, Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown, and UPN’s Ultimate Poker Challenge, can fill a Tivo with nothing but poker every month. But while poker has always been an interesting game to play, watching it has been likened to watching paint dry, so why the sudden fascination?
Like all great games, the rules of poker are very simple. You are limited to five decisions: check, bet, raise, call, or fold. But the resulting strategies and the game itself are extremely complex. The most interesting aspect is the bluff, and it’s what makes poker unique.
Without it, the game is meaningless. Some think of bluffing as lying, but it is in fact a legitimate strategy that can make you or break you. Whether you use it sparingly or liberally, timing is everything. Where else in life is a successful bluff not only rewarded, but revered? But it’s the addition of hole card cameras –which reveal each player’s cards to the audience while the action is taking place-that bring those bluffs into your living room.
All of a sudden, poker is compelling. There’s tension. There’s drama.
2000 Poker World Champion
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