“Online” (The Technology)
This book uses the terms “online poker” and “Internet poker” more or less interchangeably. Being online means being on the Internet, or connected to the global network of networks that links computers and allows you to surf the Web, send e-mail, download music, and of course, play games.
There are many, many ways to play online poker right now. In fact, you can dart over to Yahoo!, MSN, or any of the other major portal sites and be playing in, literally, seconds. You’ll be playing real poker with real opponents for play money. The thing to keep in mind here is that, at this level, you’re playing an online card game just as if you were playing bridge, hearts, rummy or—a Detroit favorite where I grew up—euchre. Internet card games have been around virtually as long as the World Wide Web itself, which brought interactivity and graphics to the Internet.
|& Euchre is a four-player ”trump” game popular in the U.K., Canada, and the northern U.S.; it's also a popular U.S. Navy game.
So if you’ve played any kind of multi-player game on the Web before, you’ll find that online poker works much the same. The game designers create a virtual environment intended to simulate a real table game. You get a top-down view of a casino-style poker game, with two to ten players seated. You’ll see yourself represented there as well as your opponents, who could be from anywhere in the world. The cards in your hand and any community cards on the table are displayed clearly, as is the “money” that you have in play. Throughout this book, we will refer to these Internet poker games as online cardrooms, online poker rooms, or poker sites. Figures 1.1 to 1.4 show four examples: Yahoo! Hold ’Em Poker, Party Poker, Ultimate Bet, and Poker Stars.
::: Figure 1.1: Pacific Poker.com :::
::: Figure 1.2: Party Poker.com :::
::: Figure 1.3: UltimateBet.com :::
Anything you’d want to do in a real game, you can do at these virtual tables. I’m talking here, of course, about actual game-related actions such as posting a bet, raising the pot, folding your hand, and so on. If you want to holler for another whiskey or aim for the spittoon across the room—well, you’ll have to make other arrangements. To check, bet, raise, or fold, you simply click the corresponding on-screen buttons with your mouse. The virtual “dealer” keeps the action moving, all day, every day—forever.
As graphics and game design have grown more sophisticated, so has the virtual “ambience” at these web-based table games. You can hear the cards being shuffled or the clicking of chips being thrown in the pot. Some sites have added motion graphics so that you can watch the dealer fling cards around the table or see other players fold their hands to the center.
No poker game is truly complete without table chat, the players’ endless running commentary of cheers, groans, jokes, and small talk. With online poker, table talk means typing messages back and forth on your keyboard. These messages appear in the chat window for everyone to see, just as if you were speaking aloud at a cramped casino table.
(© 2005 Deal Me In! Online Cardrooms, Big Time Tournaments, and The New Poker Book. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)
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