It's hip, it's cool, you can wear sunglasses or hats - it has this dynamic image! Welcome to the brave new world of poker in the 21st Century. Forget smokey bars, underworld gangsters. For decades, poker did have that reputation of being a game for the tough and often less than honest players. But today poker is the game of the trendy. It's gone from being the back room mobster's distraction to hitting the top of the TV ratings.
And leading the pack?
The online world of course! You can go on any number of sites and learn online without losing money. For some it's a way to unwind, for others it's all about learning tactics, seeing how people change their gears and their game. And of course if you get really good, there's money to be made out there too.
What's grown too is the notion of a group of friends getting together for a poker game-evening. The stakes are low and for say the cost of a cinema night out, you can enjoy a few beers, play a couple of games and, if you're lucky, walk away with the winning hand and a few extra euros.
Online vs Casinos
This is where it gets interesting - the difference between those who play online and those who head to the casinos. In the online world, things move a lot faster and it seems to be more of a mathematical exercise with players re-evaluating their odds by the second. When you come out of the virtually world and onto the "real" tables things change greatly as you face your opponent. The gear slows down and it becomes more a test of how well you can psyche-out the other player and how well you can read him or her. It's where you can watch someone over a long period and take time to judge carefully how they make their moves.
Quelle : APA EPA
A case in point is Annette Obrestad (or to give her her poker name "Annette 15"). She started learning and playing poker online at the age of fifteen (hence the "15"). Last year she won the World Series of Poker Europe and pocketed about 1.5 million euros. I guess I've missed my calling in life - when I was fifteen I was listening to the Smiths and trying to grasp Newton's Second Law of Motion!
For this Saturday's Reality Check, we sent John Cummins over to one of the poker tournaments to tap on the shoulders of some poker players to find out how seriously they were taking things and to receive some tips. Back in the studio, we got the lowdown from poker champions and experts like Thomas Kremser who organize poker tournaments all around the world.
I'll be the first to admit I'm no expert but I'm fascinated at the way poker has grown and morphed into something exciting for a new audience. If you want more, listen to "Reality Check: The Poker Boom" at 12 midday on Saturday or you can listen to the Reality Check Special after the show as podcast.