The year 2020 is one of the most remarkable moments of human history. What started out as a minor outbreak of a pneumonia-like virus turned out to be a deadly pandemic that ravaged the whole world.
As the pandemic surge worsened, a lockdown was enforced in America, leaving US veterans stuck in their homes all day long. With almost nothing to do at home, US vets turned to online casino gambling for the thrills and entertainment. One of the top casino games that stood out was online poker.
Unlike other card games like blackjack and baccarat which mainly relies on luck to hit a win, Online poker is strictly based on skill. Poker rules are also easy to understand even as a newbie. To succeed at the game, you’ll have to apply tips, strategies, and techniques – all of which depend on an individual’s experience and mental sharpness.
For US veterans with several years of combat training and exercises, there isn’t any better card game that fits so perfectly.
In the first month of lockdown, Online poker experienced unprecedented growth in the US. Operators in New Jersey reported an increase of 90.9% year over year in terms of revenue just from online poker in a single month. The numbers continued to grow higher in subsequent months.
Types of Online Poker
While the pandemic lasted, US veterans tried out all the main types of online poker games available. Among the leading variants, below are the main types of online poker popular among US Veterans.
This is the most common variant of online poker at online casinos. Chances are, you will always find Texas Hold’em poker at any online casinos serving poker games. This poker variant is played with two hole cards and five community cards. The aim is pretty simple – players are required to create the best hands during several rounds of betting. The best hand at the end of the round wins.
Also called Omaha Hi/Lo, this poker game variant sees players combine two of their four-hole cards and three of their five community cards to create two separate five-card high and low hands.
The rules of regular online poker remain the same in this variant. Players need to construct the best hand possible using five cards, however, they get the option to replace some of their cards in a draw phase.
Stud poker variants once held the industry until the emergence of Texas Hold’em. It still remains a popular pastime for US veterans. Here, players will have to create the best five-card hand from the seven cards (two down, four up, one down) they are dealt at the beginning of the round.
This variant bears numerous similarities to the Seven-Card Stud game. In this game, players are dealt seven cards and will be required to make a five-card hand from them. Unlike most variants, the aim is to create the lowest hand possible.
The horse is a poker variant that combines the features of every other poker variant. This variant is constructed by cycling hands of Razz, Texas Hold’em, Seven-Card Stud, Seven-Card Stud High/Low, Split-Eight or Better, and Omaha High/Low.
How to Play Poker
While each variant comes with its own perks and gameplay quirks, you might need a guide to help you get started. Below are the steps to playing Texas Hold’em poker. These steps also apply to most poker variants.
Step 1: Place Your Bets
To start the game, players are required to place their bets. There are ante bets (where players make equal bets) and blinds (where the player to the left of the dealer places a small bet and the next player to the left of them places a large one). With all bets placed, the game kicks off.
Step 2: Cards are dealt
Players will then be dealt two holes (face down) cards each. As a participating player, you can decide to check (decline to start the betting), bet/call any bets (match another player’s bet) or fold if you sense that you have a weak hand. If you decide to check, the opportunity to bet or check will be passed on to the next player. When a player makes the first bet, all other players must call to match that bet amount.
Step 3: Next round
With betting concluded, the flop (three face-up cards) will be dealt. After this, the turn (the fourth face-up card) is dealt and can be used by players to create a better hand with only five cards. Betting continues after this.
Step 4: The winner is decided
The river (the fifth face-up card) is dealt. Players that are still in the game can easily tell if they have the winning hand. With that, betting ends, and players are required to disclose their poker hands to see who has won the pot. If there is a tie, the kicker (the highest card) will be used to decide the winner.
Winning Poker Hands
- Three of a Kind – This indicates three cards of the same rank
- Flush – Flush means any five cards in the same suit, not in sequence
- Two Pair – This translates to two different cards of one rank, and two cards of another
- Royal Flush – A, K, Q, J, and 10 all in the same suit
- Straight – Five different cards in succession, not in the same suit
- Pair – Two cards of the same rank
- Full House – Three of a kind and a pair
- Jacks or Better – A pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings, or Aces