Poker is a card game that (probably together with blackjack) is the most played card game worldwide, immensely popular among millions of enthusiasts. The game play basically consists of each individual player assembling, out of a certain amount of cards dealt, certain combinations of cards, called ‘poker hands’, that all have their specific hierarchical ‘rank’. As poker is actually a ‘family’ of card games with several different variations (like Texas Hold’em poker, Stud poker, Omaha poker, Razz, to name a few…) the rules and game play differ per variation. However, in all poker games betting is involved and the player with the highest valued poker hand wins a game round.
What is Poker?
Although among historians there’s no conclusive consensus about the origins of the poker card game, most scholars believe the game evolved from various different card games that were played in ancient China, Persia and Egypt and as early as the 10th century (China). However, an ‘ancestral’ card game that resembled the most the poker game, as we play it today, is said to have been a Spanish game called ‘Primero’ (first described in the early 16th century), and this game is therefore widely regarded as the precursor of modern day poker.
During the 17th and 18th centuries the game spread to and became popular in Germany (under the name ‘pochen’) and in France (as ‘poquer’) and eventually French colonialists brought the game to Canada and the United States (notably the French colonial city of New Orleans in the US state of Louisiana) and from there, it was further spread to the rest of the New World. The game went wherever American settlers went and by the end of the 19th century there virtually wasn’t a saloon in the ‘Wild West’ that didn’t have a poker table at which the game could be played.
From that time on several different variations of poker emerged and the game became (although still considered by many as an ‘obscure’ gambling activity) very popular, both as a game that could be played among friends at home, as well as a (legalised) casino game starting from the first half of the 20th century. In 1970 the first poker tournament (the World Series of Poker, aka the WSOP) was held in Las Vegas but only in the following years the annual event received considerable media attention, subsequently resulting in CBS broadcasting the tournament on television in 1973 (thus further popularising the game).
What is Online Poker?
Although already increasingly popular because of the televised poker tournaments (and later on because of the ‘hole-card cameras’ that made the game a full-grown ‘spectator sport’) the popularity of poker really ‘boomed’ at the beginning of the 21st century. This was due to the development of the Internet, which made it possible to create websites with virtual ‘poker rooms’ to which players could subscribe and play the game against other players (from all around the world) who are also logged in on the same poker website. So, instead of having to go physically to a real-life ‘poker room’ (whether in a private setting or in a casino) players could play the game online (and with real money) from behind a PC and from the comfort of their own home.
Most online poker websites offer their players special (free) poker software, a so-called ‘client’, while on other websites, instant ‘play-in-browser’ poker is available. Nowadays many websites provide special apps that can be downloaded and installed on a mobile device to play online poker while on the move.
Texas Hold’em Poker
The poker game that’s without a doubt the most played all around the world, both in real-life as well as online, is Texas Hold’em poker. In this game each player receives 2 cards after which (with betting rounds in between) first the 3 card ‘flop’ is dealt, then the 1 card ‘turn’ and lastly the 1 card ‘river’. The player who, after the ‘showdown’, has the highest valued poker hand by combining his 2 cards with the 5 open-faced dealt ‘community cards’ is the winner.
Other poker variations that typically can be found in poker rooms are:
- Omaha Hi Lo
- 7 Card Stud
- 7 Card Stud Hi Lo
- 5 Card Stud
Online Poker Websites / Poker Rooms
Currently there are about 600 poker rooms online, on about 20-30 poker networks that offer cash poker games and poker tournaments. Some sites also offer free practice play. The biggest poker room (in terms of amount of players simultaneously playing on any given moment) is Full Tilt Poker, followed by PokerStars.
Best Netent Casinos With Poker Rooms
Several of the best Netent Casinos as listed on our website provide their players also with an online poker room. Notable casinos are:
- Unibet (as the highest ranked Netent Casino on our site).
- BetatHome (that has an extended poker school and very practical poker terms glossary).
- Bet365 (that doesn’t only have a poker school but even a poker ‘university’).
If you’re interested to learn more about online poker playing you might want to take a look on their websites.
Special mention must go to Full Tilt Poker that, as the biggest online poker providing website, has signed a license agreement with Net Entertainment in April of 2014 to also include Netent games on their site. At this moment of writing however no Netent casino games were added to their portfolio yet.
For all other Netent Casinos offering online poker you can have a look on the side bar of this page.