It is now approximately twenty years since the big bookmakers started to offer their customers the option to place their sports bets online rather than needing to visit a betting shop or have a telephone account with their chosen bookmaker. The online sports gambling sites also offered a much bigger range of gambling options than the high street betting shops and allowed sports fans to follow a huge array of different sports and sporting events from all over the world, but it was definitely the subsequent introduction of online casinos which had the biggest impact in terms of our betting options. Again it was the major bookmakers who set up the first of what we now refer to as online casinos by deciding to introduce a few casino games onto their sports gambling sites. In the early stages the introduction of these casino games was probably an attempt to encourage their sports gambling customers to spend longer on the sites, but it was so successful that what followed was a mad rush to add more and more games so that the online casino pages of the bookmakers’ online gambling sites grew very quickly indeed. Most of these big online casinos now offer well over a hundred different casino games and many have over two hundred different games for us to enjoy. Nowadays the range of casino games we can play online varies from the traditional casino games you would expect to find in a real casino, to a variety of numbers games based on the ever popular game of bingo and of course hundreds of slots games and video slots. These slots and video slots form the majority of the casino games offered by almost every online casino nowadays, including the more recent specialist online casinos which have now come on stream, but we should not forget just how important the traditional casino games were to the success of the online casino sector, particularly in the early days of their development. Most people in Ireland and indeed the UK did not have the opportunity to play many of those traditional casino games because the real casinos they could visit were generally too small to offer their members much more than a few roulette and blackjack tables. Traditional games such as baccarat and backgammon were simply not on our radar unless we were lucky enough to visit one of the French or Italian casinos whilst on holiday, and playing that old American favourite the game of craps was simply out of the question.
It is clearly easy to understand why online casinos offering the opportunity for us to play these traditional casino games quickly became so popular among existing casino games fans, but they also appealed to the huge majority of the Irish gambling community who never had access to a casino of any description before the internet sites were established. The availability of online casinos also dispelled a few myths about casino games such as baccarat. Partly due to the depiction of the game in many films such as the James Bond series, the game of baccarat had somehow established a reputation for being a very complicated game played mostly by high rollers. We now know of course that although the rules of baccarat are a little complex we don’t actually need to know the rules unless we are taking the role of dealer/banker, which we are highly unlikely to do in any real casino and never when playing baccarat online. There are only two hands in baccarat and all we have to do is predict which of those two hands will win, it’s as simple as that. Backgammon on the other hand does take a bit of skill and experience to play successfully. It is still a game of chance because each player’s moves are determined by the throw of two dice, but the skill lies in how the checkers are moved around the board in response to the numbers on the dice. Backgammon is one of the traditional casino games in which skill and experience generally define success or failure in the long run. The other traditional casino games which falls into that category is of course the game of poker, particularly the more modern versions of poker such as Texas Hold’em poker. Of all the casino games which have come to the fore since the introduction of online casinos, online poker is probably the most popular of all of them. There are now a huge number of people playing poker on the internet, particularly on the specialist poker platforms which enable serious poker players to compete with each other. These online poker platforms have become the focal point for many of the new converts to the game of poker, but we should also point out that professional players also use these sites so we would advise an element of caution if you do not know who you are playing against. Most of us have been introduced to poker when we were watching the old westerns at our local cinemas, because almost every saloon scene featured guys playing 5-card draw poker, which of course was also the version of poker played on the river boats on the Mississippi and in the gold fields of the west. Nowadays most serious poker players are more likely to concentrate on the Texas Hold’em format of poker because it uses community cards and multiple betting rounds. If any of our readers are interested in learning how to play Texas Hold’em poker we have detailed the rules on our individual casino games pages, but we would advise that they play a few games against the house for fixed odds before venturing onto the online poker forums. All the online casinos offer a full range of different versions of poker, all of which can be played against the house for fixed odds and very small stakes. Remember that when playing Texas Hold’em poker you need to complete five betting rounds before you even reach the showdown, so the maximum table stake is usually irrelevant in terms of the money you are likely to gamble.