Poker is the name given to a number of card games where players wager on the strength of the cards they hold. Poker is a game that involves a communal “pot” consisting of the players’ wagers which is awarded to the poker player who either holds the highest ranking hand or makes a wager which goes unmatched by his or her opponents.At PokerStars, our Seven Card Stud and Omaha poker games are played in both “high-only” and “high-low split” form. In these high-low games, the best five-card poker hand for high wins half the pot, and the best qualifying five-card hand for low wins the other half. Our Texas Hold’em poker games are always played high-only with a No Limit, Pot Limit and Limit option. For a detailed breakdown of hand rankings, visit our poker hand ranks page.All poker games begin with some forced wager over which poker players compete. In Seven Card Stud, there are two forced wagers, an ante and a bring-in. In Texas Hold’em and Omaha, the forced wagers are a small blind and a big blind. In any basic poker game, players strategically wager using a number of actions available to them. The actions are as follows:1. CHECK – If there is no wager on the current betting round, a player may check. The act of checking passes the action to the next poker player immediately clockwise from him or her. A check does not forfeit interest in the pot, only the current right to bet. If all players check during a round of betting, the round is considered complete.2. BET – If there is no wager on the current betting round, a player may bet. If a player bets, the poker player immediately clockwise from him or her (and any subsequent poker players) may fold, raise, or call.3. FOLD – The act of folding forfeits all interest in the pot. A player who folds is not required or allowed to wager any further money for the current poker game.4. CALL – If there has been a wager on the current round of poker play, a player may call. The act of calling requires the player to match the current bet made by his or her opponent(s).5. RAISE – If there has been a wager on the current betting round, a player may raise. The act of raising requires the poker player to match the current bet, and make a greater one. All subsequent players are required to call the raise or raise again (“re-raise”) to maintain interest in the pot.On each betting round, betting continues until the person immediately counter clockwise the last bettor or raiser acts. When this person acts, the next poker round begins, or the hand is complete.When the last bet or raise on the final betting round is called, the “showdown” occurs. This is when it is determined who wins the pot, as players show their hands one-by-one. It may be the case that there is no showdown. This occurs when a player bets or raises, and no active players choose to call the player’s bet (in other words, all players fold). In this case, the player doing the betting or raising wins the full amount of the pot.Basic Poker Play: Table Stakes and All-InBasic poker play is typically played “table stakes”, meaning only the chips in play at the beginning of each hand may be used throughout the hand. The table stakes rule has an application called the “All-In” rule, which states that a player cannot be forced to forfeit a poker hand because the player does not have enough chips to call a bet. A player who does not have enough chips to call a bet is declared All-In. The player is eligible for the portion of the pot to the point of his final wager. All further action involving other players takes place in a “side pot”, which is ineligible to the All-In player.Poker has hundreds of variants. PokerStars features the most popular casino and poker games in the world. For more information about these poker variants, visit our Poker Room page.
When we refer to online games we are normally referring to video type games that we play on a computer via the internet. Some video games are played over the internet using mobile phones and video consoles, but generally speaking online games means computer games that need an internet connection to be played. Simple text-based multiplayer games were the first of these types of games as internet connections were slow and expensive when these games were first introduced in the 1980s. Gradually these games became popular in the 1990s, with today’s online games featuring virtual communities, realistic graphics and multiplayer games where people can even play one to one or in knock out tournaments for cash prizes. We all know that the internet is the fastest growing market place in the history of the world but did you know that there is an online games sector that is growing 4 times faster than the internet overall! Yes! and it’s the “Online Skill Games” market.There are many styles of Online GamesSome of the different types of online games that exist:1. Real time strategy games: This type of game is all about strategy where, for your army to fight successfully against the other internet players you need to develop a game plan by building lots of resources2. First person shooter: Here the players compete with each other one to one. In most first-person type games, the online game allows the death match or arena style of play. In this style of game play the view you see is the one seen from your character’s eyes.3. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG): In this type of game each person has to keep trying to reach the next highest level until he has reached the top one written for that game and these online games can have, simultaneously, thousands of players from every part of the globe, playing in a giant virtual world interacting against or with each other. Gamers can keep playing these types of games for months or even years!4. Browser type games: These are pastime games that are quick, simple and small that are played in your browser. The popular Java and Shockwave technologies are used to develop these games.5. Online skill games: An online skill based game is a web game played in tournament format or one to one. Each player pays a cash entry fee to play with a cash or merchandise prize going to the winner or winners. The outcome of each competition is based on the player’s ability and performance not luck.How Do Online Game Companies Make MoneyAll games today, are playable online. How do we make money? This is the question that companies making the online games have to ask themselves. The majority of companies make single-player games that are played at home and in this the player has to beat the artificial intelligence of the enemy. Today these games normally include an online multiplayer version which can be played against or with other Internet players. By selling their game DVD/CDs is how these companies earn their profit e.g. Warcraft 3 and Counter Strike. Advertising and promotions is how browser game companies make their money. MMORPG companies generally charge their players a monthly fee and continue to add content by programming new scenarios etc in their games e.g. Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft. Some don’t, but survive because their DVD/CD sales are high e.g. Guild Wars.What is the future of online games?Soon there will be a new entry into the online skill games market. According to their Free Online Games Market Report they will be the first company with their new online skill games platform, to launch a business that encapsulates three of the newest phenomena on the internet today. Online Games Entertainment, Social Networking using web 2.0 and a new way of marketing which has been described as Social Marketing 2.0. One of the core differences with this new platform over the conventional models is that we the players can if we want share in the profits while we play our games. With the market today (2007) worth approximately $5.2 billion USD and predicted to rise in the next 3 years to over $13 billion USD that’s $412 per second and with social networking sites already reaching 45% of web users and the 4 major Instant Messengers having more than 400 million users between them this potentially could be a whole lot of money.