The game of poker is the one that is easiest to identify with gambling. Unlike in the case of the slot machines, you do not need to take yourself to a casino if you want to play a game of poker. All you have to do is call some of your poker-playing friends over and sit down with a few mugs of beer and a decent amount of money to throw away.
As with all modes of gambling, an amateur generally starts out by putting in a small amount, but with every win he becomes more confident, more reckless, and every loss thereafter merely eggs him on to throw in even more cash.
A large number of movies have very dramatic scenes where the protagonists get together to play a game of poker — which often becomes a symbol of a full-out battle, replete with anger, jealousy, fear, hope and strategy. In his Essays on Elia, the eighteenth century English author Charles Lamb had said, “Cards are war, in disguise of a sport.”
The game of poker is easily one of the most popular card games of all time. And this is evident not just in the number of casinos that have sprung up, or in the number of people that play the game, or even in the number of movies that have poker game scenes. The games popularity is also evident in the number of phrases that began as terms in a poker game, but went on to entrench themselves in common everyday speech in the English language. Phrases such as “call one’s bluff”, “when the chips are down” and “beats me” had their humble beginnings in the poker games of yore.
The game of poker became a full-fledged sport in 1970, which saw the beginning of the World Series of Poker in the United States. Amarillo Slim and Johnny Moss were among then earliest winners of this tournament.
Today, with the emergence of online poker as a way of playing the game, we can play poker on our computers as well. There are countless websites urging us to throw away our money by “upping the ante” or “calling someone’s bluff”.
If you are new to the game of poker, or are surrounded by ace players, make yourself the wild card by reading up on some of the tips and tricks that the best of poker players swear by. It is easy to call it a game of luck, but it also involves a great deal of strategy and psychological manipulation. It certainly isn’t a sport for the faint-hearted.