An Introduction To Online Poker

Introduction

Poker players who are used to gambling at land-based casinos will find it easy to transition to online poker. While there are certain distinctions, the premise remains the same.

Online casinos employ a random number generator (RNG) to “shuffle” and guarantee that all hands are “dealt” fairly rather than by dealers shuffling and handing out cards.

Another distinction is that in land-based casinos, you compete against other players, but at internet casinos, you compete against the house. The lack of other human players may be quite beneficial to players who are just starting out in poker and do not want to be distracted or feel intimidated by other players.

In this blog post, we are going to explore the basics of online poker and how you play it. By the end of this article, you will be ready to dive into the wild world of online poker at your casino of choice!

What Is Online Poker?

Online poker is essentially a version of the conventional card game of poker that is played via the Internet. There are several online poker sites like ทางเข้าUFABET that all provide various variants of poker with a wide selection of games and stakes accessible.

For many years, poker was restricted to land-based casinos, but everything changed in the first few years of the 2000s when the internet propelled poker to primetime status. Prior to the year 2000, the majority of online poker was played in chat rooms and was, obviously, purely recreational. 

That changed as technology evolved and secure online poker sites were established that could safely keep players’ money safe while allowing them to gamble against other players.

Getting Started

The prerequisites for online poker are relatively low, and you may be able to play on even a very basic computer or smartphone. Online poker does not place a high demand on your computer’s RAM, and if you have a laptop or desktop that can connect to the internet, you almost certainly have more than adequate processing power. 

There are several real money poker applications for smartphones and tablets these days, so you may play on the move. Android phones, iPhones, and iPads are all supported by most poker sites.

Before playing, it is important to check casino reviews to confirm that the site you have chosen is trustworthy. The first thing to look for is whether or not the casino is licensed. If so, you might consider additional variables such as game selection, customer support, bonuses, and deals, supported banking methods, and any issues other customers report.

Moving On To Real Money Poker

You may begin by playing free games on a variety of websites. After you’ve gotten your fill of that, most folks deposit between $50 and $200.

Before you start playing real money poker, look into the available promotions and see if there is one exclusively for poker. If this is the case, check the terms and conditions before claiming it if you believe you can fulfill the playthrough criteria. Bonuses provide you with additional chips to play with, allowing your money to go further.

Online Poker Strategy Tips That Will Improve Your Game

Playing poker online for real money requires patience, skills, discipline, and hours of practice to improve your skills. You’ll need to develop your betting strategies to deal with the uncertainties of playing poker. 

As a beginner, you’ll need to be familiar with the different poker variations, the buy-ins, and how to make winning bets. That shows it’s crucial to have a proper poker betting strategy and familiarize yourself with the rules of poker in different variations. Here are four online poker strategy tips to help you master the game and improve your winning chances.

Carefully choose your starting hand

It’s tempting for rookie poker players to play every hand they get. After all, why do you need to fold and sit to watch others having all the fun? Well, there’s a reason why you need to be careful when selecting your starting poker hands. 

Choosing the right starting hands is the foundation of every reliable poker strategy. Choose several premium cards for raising in late position and fold a huge portion of the limited preflop holdings you get. Hands like K-K and A-A are comfortable for raising in late positions as they can be raised early, making you among the first players to take action after the flip. 

Learn basic math

Before you click here to check out top non-Gamstop poker sites, learn some basic math. While many players think that poker is a game of chance, it’s based on accurate judgments, basic math concepts, and probability. 

Take your time and understand how to calculate the poker odds of your hands striking, the number of outs you have, and compare everything to the wager size you are going against. This knowledge will allow you to make better betting judgments based on mathematical concepts instead of guessing what your opponent holds. 

Play in ranges

Being able to spot an average novice player on a poker table is crucial when playing live poker online. Observation is a crucial skill in online poker. Most beginners put their thought on a specific poker hand, while advanced players think in terms of the ranges. Thinking in terms of ranges is especially useful in calculating pot odds. 

A range is basically the scale of your poker hands in a particular situation. For example, a poker player may have a flush, a bottom pair, a middle pair, high pair, an ace-high, and a draw. In that case, skilled poker players can anticipate that their opponent will reveal their whole range of hands. As such, they not only focus on winning a single hand but also try to figure out what’s the best poker hand to play. 

Recognize betting patterns

While the starting hand can dictate the whole gameplay, it’s not the only poker strategy that you can use to win online poker. Getting the best starting hand is normally the best way to play a poker hand, but several factors can sway your game. 

One way to sway the game is by identifying its flow, reading your opponent’s poker strategy, and making fair judgments of your opponent’s cards. Analyzing your opponent’s betting patterns closely will help you figure out their mindset, which helps you boost your winning chances.

Get Into the History of Poker Online

Keenan Constance via Unsplash

Although live poker has been a beloved game for centuries, poker online is still in its infancy. There have certainly been numerous highs and lows within the past two decades of technological advancement, from increasing popularity to unfortunate scandals. However, each year, we see more improvements as technology evolves.

In the dawn of online poker, a new era was born. Players around the world found themselves captivated by this thrilling and dynamic game. A newfound sense of competition, possibility, and excitement drove millions to explore their skills in this ever-evolving digital arena.

The Formative Years

In 1994, the first ever online poker game between humans transpired on Internet Relay Chat. It signifies a milestone in the history of internet poker, and people flock to play poker online–with over 20 different variants available (including Omaha High Double Flop and Holdem Hi/Lo), IRC-poker was popular for quite some time before Planet Poker came along as the world’s initial actual money cardroom operator. On January 1, 1998, Randy Blumer made his mark by dealing with Texas Holdem Poker Online at $3/$6 blinds; this marked a significant moment in technology and entertainment!

2003: Moneymaker and the Subsequent Poker Boom

Moneymaker was picturing a reality where someone could win against the most seasoned poker competitors playing online poker real money. Miraculously, he then qualified for the World Series of Poker Main Event through a satellite tournament, which became possible after television broadcasts switched to showing visible hole cards. It is precisely what happened in 2003 when an accountant from Tennessee won a qualifier and took home his WSOP bracelet: Chris Moneymaker was the first champion to do so successfully via online qualification.

Millions of viewers were enthralled as they watched the Main Event unfold on ESPN, with Chris Moneymaker eventually emerging victorious against his poker professionals competitors. This win earned him an impressive total of $2.5 million in prize money and immediately triggered a surge in traffic to poker sites. People worldwide wanted to follow in Moneymaker’s footsteps! 

Poker rooms rapidly filled up with players eager to experience their triumph as he did–who could blame them? Aspiring poker players nurtured the dream of achieving recognition by participating in tournaments. There was minimal government aid for US citizens to make direct deposits and withdrawals from USA-friendly websites. Yet, this obstacle only fueled celebrities’ aspirations to become ambassadors for online poker sites–thus creating an ideal setting for a perfect storm.

Chris Moneymaker’s 2003 victory in the Main Event ignited a golden age for online poker that spanned from 2003 to 2006. Professional players were given superstar treatment, and it appeared like this period of prosperity would persist indefinitely. Unfortunately, impending disruptions awaited just beyond the horizon.

2006: UIGEA

In 2006, the online gambling market was chaotic and unpredictable. President George W. Bush brought order to this chaos when he enacted the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in October 2006, which prohibited American banks from processing any transactions relating to illegal forms of internet gambling. 

The Department of Justice enforced this law to include all forms of online poker. This monumental shift has established a new baseline for legal gaming regulations nationwide. In the aftermath of UIGEA, many publicly traded corporations offering online poker quickly cut off US players from their sites. Major companies closed up shop for American customers. On the other hand, some private corporations decided to stay and serve United States citizens despite government restrictions. Neteller ceased providing services to Americans, leading to millions in player funds being seized by DOJ.

Bitcoin poker

In 2008, Bitcoin was created by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. Not long after Black Friday in 2011, Seals With Clubs opened their pioneering online poker site utilizing this revolutionary currency. Unlike other payment processors keeping records of deposits and withdrawals, all transactions on their platform occurred only in Bitcoin, allowing increased anonymity to its players.

Online poker in terms of recreational players

In 2017, the emergence of mobile poker apps significantly boosted the club-based poker model. As recreational players shifted away from casinos and poker rooms to private home games, both live and online, they began joining numerous clubs on popular platforms. Interactive elements, such as throwing items, were increasingly sought across mobile and desktop versions of these software programs. 

Thanks to all these technological advancements, playing poker has never been more exciting or accessible! Home games and private poker clubs are excellent for amateur players to avoid exploitation by expert gamblers. In recent years, significant poker operators have begun providing the option of hosting a home game with your buddies. Mobile poker apps now offer features like minimum VPIP tables and password-protected exclusive tables that are extremely popular nowadays.

The making of the modern poker player

The transformation of the contemporary poker player is drastically different from its live-only era. Instead of smoky saloons filled with cowboys playing cards, drinking whiskey, and puffing on cigars, when poker hit the internet, it was like suddenly turning up the music in an almost empty bar; everyone wanted to dance! 

Now that online poker is a reality, the techniques to become better have evolved, too. Several players have begun using software such as solvers and trackers to refine their approach. Are you interested in catching an inside glimpse of how some top names play? Simply select one of the Twitch streaming poker channels and explore their decisions!

A Final Word

Poker has come a long way since its inception in the late 1990s. What started as a game played in smoke-filled rooms by grizzled veterans has become a multi-billion dollar industry enjoyed by people of all backgrounds worldwide. The popularity of online poker is undeniable, and it doesn’t look like this trend will change any time soon. If you want to be a part of this exciting industry, sign up for GGPoker now and start playing today. Who knows, maybe you could be the next big winner!

How to Win at Poker

If you’d like to win at live or online poker, you should master the fundamentals of the game and develop a strategic plan. Good strategic planning will help you beat your opponents in ways that they’re not aware of. It’s all about winning the wars that no one else is fighting and imposing your will on your opponents.

Know the Rules

The first step to winning at poker is understanding the rules of the game. This might sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people try to win at poker without really knowing how it’s played. There are different variations of poker, so make sure you know the rules of the specific game you’re playing. Once you know the basic rules, take some time to learn about strategy and advanced concepts.

Develop a Strategy

A big part of winning at poker is having a good strategy. You need to know when to play your cards and when to fold them. A lot of this boils down to experience and understanding the odds, but there are some general tips that can help you develop a good strategy. For example, you should generally raise when you have a good hand and fold when you have a bad hand.

This is especially important when you play online, as there are dedicated pages for new players to learn about the different techniques. Poker strategies aren’t just based on the cards but also on the decisions you make. However, these strategies don’t necessarily work online, so you’ll need to practice against real players in order to improve your skills.

First, you’ll need to learn to categorize your opponents. Essentially, there are four basic types of poker players. The key is to learn the common tendencies of each one of them. Using this information will help you win more hands and tournaments.

Hands dealt

You can do certain things to improve your chances of winning when you’re dealt bad poker hands. If you do it on a regular basis, you’ll get better at it. You’ll become faster at dealing with hands and develop habits and routines to overcome problems.

Betting range

There are many ways to win at poker, but one of the most effective is by balancing your betting range. This is important because it allows you to continue with your value hands while folding out your opponents’ lower equity bluffs. You can use this method in a variety of situations, including bluffing, raising, and folding.

The range you choose will depend on many factors, such as the position and actions of your opponent. You can also use a post-flop concept, which can help you narrow your range. Having the right range means playing with less panic when your opponent bets or raises.

Calculating the odds of winning

Knowing the odds of winning a hand is important in poker. The odds of having a particular hand are based on the size of the pot and the size of your bet. By understanding the odds of winning a hand, you can make the most informed decisions when drawing a hand. You can use a cheat sheet to help you with the calculations.

Knowing when to fold

In poker, knowing when to fold is an important part of your strategy. However, knowing when to fold depends on the situation. If you are in a position where your chances of winning are low, you should consider folding. In general, you should only fold when your odds of winning are not favorable.

Poker players who are experienced in the game know when to fold. Although it may not be intuitive to a new player, with practice and time, it will become more natural.

Developing quick instincts

Developing quick instincts is an important part of the poker game. This ability allows you to react quickly to specific situations and read the other players better. This ability can be developed by playing the game with purpose and practice. You can also watch and observe experienced players. Try to imagine yourself in their situations and try to decide how you would react if you were in their position. Then, develop a strategy to deal with such situations more effectively.

As the popularity of Internet poker has grown, players have begun to rely less on their intuitions. Many players turned to statistics to develop their strategies, while others relied on their own feel. However, poker instincts are not lost, and can be developed into an accurate strategy.

Conclusion

Poker is a game of skill, strategy, and luck. The key to winning is to learn the basic concepts, develop your skills, and practice against real players. With time and practice, you can develop quick poker instincts that will help you win more hands and tournaments.

Top 5 Biggest Poker Wins

Poker is a game played by many. For years, poker has seen many champions win tournaments and poker matches. Some players have walked away with an unbelievable amount of money by playing the game. The best part of it is that you can play the game online from your home and win cash. You can look for demo slots online if you want to play. 

With so many champions, there have been billions of dollars won in poker games. This article is about the biggest wins in poker in the history of the game. You can read it to know about the lucky, talented players who won the amounts.

Why Do People Love to Play Poker?

Poker has been played for centuries by people. It involves skills, strategies and gambling money. The more you play, the more skills you will have. There are several reasons why people love this game. Here are some of them:

  1. You can download poker for free on your smartphone. All you need to do is open your browser. 
  2. You can have a lot of fun by playing the game. It can be a good pass time for you. 
  3. You can play the game and compete with people, but connect with them as well. 
  4. You shall improve your mindset if you play poker. You can improve your skills and strategies and thus enjoy winning. 
  5. Playing games help in socialising. You might get to know a lot of people through the games. 

These are some of the reasons why people love the game poker, and many people play it. 

Tips on Winning in Poker

Poker is fun if you play with skills and techniques. You can try to follow a few tips if you want to make sure that you win the match. To begin with, you should never think about hands. Always think about the rangers. It would be best if you ditched the favourite hand you have. It would be best to keep in mind to know when you have to fold your aces. You do not need to play bad games. These are some of the quick poker tips which you can try to apply. 

What Are the Best Strategies for Poker?

To play poker, you need to have some skills and techniques that can make you win the game. There are some strategies that you can apply while trying to win the match. It would be best if you always played fewer hands. It would be best if you aggressively played them. You can try to avoid being the first person to limp. You might bluff a little with your draws to create pressure on your opponents. It would be best if you tried defending your big blind, always using your right hand. Never take a considerable risk, and always fold if you feel unsure about the game. These are some easy strategies you can try applying to your games. You might get skillful and lucky enough to win. In addition, having all these skills may help you win in many other games and even get the best casino offers.

The Five Biggest Poker Wins

Poker can earn you a lot of money if you know your game and have good luck with you. Here are the biggest wins in poker in the history of the game, which are as follows:

  • Sam Trickett 
  • Jamie Gold
  • Elton Tsang
  • Daniel Colman
  • Antonio Esfandiari

5. Sam Trickett

Sam Trickett won $10,112,001 in 2012. His nationality is English, and he is a professional poker player. He currently holds fifth place for the biggest wins in the history of poker. He was initially a football player, but he suffered an injury to his knee. In 2005, he decided to restart his life as a professional poker player. It seems like he took the right decision because he is the twelfth richest winner now as he owns a total of more than $20,000,000 from all his matches. He is also the most successful poker player in Great Britain.

4. Jamie Gold

Jamie Gold won about $12,000,000 in the year 2006 on the WSOP event. WSOP is a reputed event that gained players rapidly with time and even paid a gruesome amount of $82.5 million as the most significant prize. The sudden success of Jamie Gold made him famous overnight because of his poker skills. He is currently the fourth most crucial winner in the history of poker. He has excellent techniques, which made him win such a massive amount of cash. 

3. Elton Tsang

Elton Tsang won $12,248,912 in 2016 and is the third position holder in the biggest poker wins in history. He won it from Monte Carlo One Drop Extravaganza. Elton is one of the most skilled Asian poker players and got famous because of his talent and living in Hongkong. He founded the first live tournament of poker in Macau. Elton got more established in poker after this tournament and has a name in the poker game to be aggressive while betting and putting pressure on the opponent. 

2. Daniel Colman

Daniel Colman won an amount of $15,306,668 in the year 2014. He is a professional poker player who mainly plays online games. Daniel came into the spotlight and became famous internationally when he won the massive prize at the Big One for One Drop tournament. Danie has a nickname he uses when he is playing online. It is mrGR33N13. He got a healthy reputation as a poker player when he won an extraordinary amount of $1,000,000 within nine months of gameplay. He has shown extreme sensibility of the game and can read the table too. It is why he got so successful in the poker game. 

1.Antonio Esfandiari

Antonio Esfandiari holds the biggest win in the history of poker, who won an amount of $18,346,67 back in 2012 at WSOP. His massive success came from the Big One for One Drop tournament. He is a professional poker player and has earned the respect of his fellow players and colleagues with his skills and techniques. He is a high-roller poker player and has gained the nickname ‘The Magician’ in the poker industry.

These are the top five winners of the biggest poker prizes in the history of the game. They have earned a lot of money and have inspired several people with their journey. 

Final Words

Poker is a card game played by many across the world. Some play it as a hobby, while some play professionally. There have been several notable wins in poker in the history of the game. The winners were lucky and highly skilful to have attained the positions. If you love playing poker, you can read this article and get inspired by the best players. 

Is Poker an eSport, or Something Else Entirely?

The synergy between eSports and professional poker seems to be getting more obvious than ever. The decision by the WSOP to give eSports a huge presence at the 2018 games just goes to show that more and more people now believe that the connection is making sense. The Rio Hotel and Casino which is based in Vegas has been the home of the WSOP since the year 2005 and they have decided to go ahead with a centrepiece around the schedule for poker as well. The UMG eSports stage was then unveiled and this gave poker players the chance to step up and take part in some of the most famous games out there. The games included Fortnite as well as FIFA and even Hearthstone. Right now it would seem that the WSOP is an institution. To unveil this information shows how dedicated they are to eSports in general.

Source: Pexels (CC0 License)

Embracing eSports

When you look at sites such as GGPoker, you will soon see that they started bridging the gap between poker and eSports some time ago. They started hosting live and virtual tournaments for people and this is done in a very similar way to the popular gaming site Twitch. People then started to see that the two were very similar and this has helped to bring them together in more ways than one. Elsewhere in Vegas, which is still one of the biggest poker hubs around, it would seem that eSports is now being embraced hugely.

The Luxor, which is at the southern end of the strip, is capable of staging  huge eSports tournaments. You also have Poker Central. They are due to make their broadcasting area available for those who want to stream eSports events. The mental attributes that you need to have in order to play both poker and eSports are indeed very similar. Some of the finest poker players in the world are now migrating onto the card.  Starcraft has captured the imagination that Asia has and now the game has been scrapped so that people can work on games such as Overwatch 2.

ElkY

ElkY who is a professional poker player has taken the time to try and get involved with other eSports games. He has chosen to sign a deal with the Team Liquid division so that he can partake in the Hearthstone tournaments. This is very similar to the game of poker when you think about it because nobody knows what cards their opponents have. Hearthstone is a sporting game that has been able to enchant poker greats such as Daniel Negreanu as well. He had to go up against ElkY in a game that was hosted in 2015. This game was hosted in California.

A Big Transition

Many professionals have been able to make the transition from eSports to the game of poker very easy to do. Their ability to analyse and then process data before making quick decisions has helped them to branch out into a whole new industry. When it comes to unlocking secrets and strategies, it would seem that there are not many minds out there like James Mackenzie. He has been confirmed as being part of the team Pokerstars. They have a background in games such as Runescape and even Hearthstone, meaning that he has the ability to create strategies that are able to utilise the newest forms of gaming online. This is fantastic to say the least and it just goes to show how things have transitioned. Some might even say that poker is now an eSport in itself.

Best Online Poker Bonus Kinds in 2021

One advantage of playing poker online is that you get to enjoy exciting bonuses and promotions. Poker platforms compete for your loyalty by offering you special bonuses. They hook you up with free cash, welcome bonuses, cashback, free bets, and much more. That said, below are some popular poker bonuses.

Welcome Poker Bonuses

Welcome bonuses in online casinos come in different sizes and shapes. Most welcome bonuses follow almost a similar system across all casinos. That is, the casino matches your deposit amount with a particular percentage up to a given amount.

For example, playing Poker at GGPoker platform for the first qualifies you for a 100% welcome bonus of up to $600. This means that if you deposit $50, the site will match your deposit with an extra $50. More so, some poker sites have a fixed welcome bonus amount to all players. In such a case, your deposit amount doesn’t determine how much you receive.

Reload Bonuses

These are similar to the welcome bonus. The primary difference between the two is that only new players receive welcome rewards. For reload bonuses, your poker site rewards you each time you deposit. This can be on the first few deposits or for all deposits you make at the site.

Further, reload gifts can be match deposits or a fixed amount. If it’s a match deposit, the casino boosts your bankroll with the specified percentage. If it’s fixed, you receive a specific amount no matter how much you deposit. The bonuses are a great way to give you extra funds to play.

Cashback Promotions

Your bets may sometimes fail to go as you had anticipated. Hence, your poker site will give you a cashback to shield you from such losses. The offer covers up to a certain percentage of your total losses on all poker bets.

Some sites may give you daily cashback. Others offer this bonus weekly. Besides, for some platforms, none of your wagers should have won for the bonus to apply. For others, it doesn’t matter, provided you have incurred some losses from poker.

Further, the sites can offer you a cashback in the form of bonus funds or free cash. Always ensure you check out the terms accompanying the offer to know how to qualify for this reward from your casino.

Refer a Friend Bonuses

The perk is gaining fame across poker sites. In this, your chosen poker site will reward you for referring friends to the platform. It’s that simple. Better still, you and the person you refer will receive a gift. Amazing, right?

You need, however, to note that for the casino to release your bonus, your friend should create an account and make their first deposit. If your poker site has this promotion, contact them for a referral link. It’s this link that your friends should use to join the casino.

One exciting bit about these bonuses is that you can refer as many friends as you wish. And for every person who joins, the casino rewards you. It’s such an excellent method to earn some cash rewards or free bets.

Poker Tournaments

Poker sites today have poker contests. They are thrilling competitions that allow you to compete against other poker players. You qualify for these contests by betting on specific poker games or any.

The website specifies how to be eligible. Although rules may vary, you will find that all sites follow almost similar rules. The goal is to accumulate points. In the end, the player with the most points wins. Exciting, right? Especially since qualifying is simple.

Besides, the tournaments award many players. For example, a platform can have up to 25 or 50 winners. It’s time to put your competition skills to test with poker tournaments. You never know; you could win thousands or paid trips. As you can see, it’s never a dull day playing poker.

VIP Rewards

If you are like many iGamers, you look forward to being rewarded for being a loyal player. It’s understandable to want recognition from your poker site. Fortunately, many platforms today have VIP reward programs.

You receive exclusive and superb rewards. They could include free bets, VIP account managers, and firm customer service. What’s more, the sites celebrate your special days with you. For example, some websites give you birthday bonuses.

Moreover, others allow you to deposit or withdraw high amounts. Usually, this is above the site’s normal limits. Besides, some casinos organize VIP Poker Tournaments. You will love these competitions.

So, why are these bonuses fantastic? Well, most have very high rewards. We mean cash prizes that reach thousands of dollars. If this doesn’t excite you, we don’t know what will.

No Deposit Bonuses

Visualize getting a bonus without depositing even a penny. No deposit bonuses work in the same way. For these bonuses, you don’t deposit to qualify. Your poker site will add some money to your account.

You can use these funds to place bets on your favorite poker games. Some platforms offer only new players no deposit bonuses, while others gift even existing players. For example, if you haven’t deposited for some time, a site can give you this offer is to encourage you to play.

Further, loyal players benefit from no deposit bonuses a lot. The bonus, in some cases, requires you to deposit before you withdraw money. Mainly, this applies if you are new to the website and haven’t deposited even once.

Poker Bonus Terms

All poker sites have conditions that accompany their bonuses and promotions. While most of them don’t have much effect, you need to be keen on some before you claim an offer. Take, for example, wagering requirements.

Essentially, they are the terms that let you know the number of times to play through a bonus. It’s essential to meet these requirements. If you fail, you can’t withdraw your winnings. It’s that simple.

Casinos have varying requirements, but for most, they range between 35x and 60x. Another thing to keep in mind is the expiration duration. That is, the time the casino requires you to use up the bonus and clear wagering terms. 

Poker’s growing popularity in Estonia

Rising to the top of most sports brings with it financial security, but on top of that, a fame that extends beyond your immediate fanbase. The likes of Serena Williams, Cristiano Ronaldo, Tiger Woods and Lewis Hamilton are literally household names, and even those with no interest in their sport know who they are.

Where things get interesting is when a new sport suddenly captures the imagination. We’ve seen this recently in Mixed Martial Arts, where the formerly fringe activity was catapulted into the limelight, and suddenly everyone was talking about Conor McGregor. Poker is all set to follow a similar if less violently dramatic.

A new sport for a new world

In the internet age, physical location becomes an irrelevance, and this brings unprecedented opportunities for those in some of the less famous parts of the world. If you want to rise to the top in football or tennis or Formula 1, you need to get yourself to the UK or USA at a young age. But to be a poker pro, it really doesn’t matter. As a result, nations that do not ordinarily have a high sporting profile are becoming unexpected hubs for poker excellence.

Estonia, the smallest country in the Baltics is a case in point. Its capital, Tallinn, has built a reputation over the past decade or so as a place that mixes rich history, great nightlife and cheap prices. Where better to go to play poker?

Tallinn’s growing reputation in this regard has come at the same time as poker’s gradual transition from barroom game to sport. The World Series of Poker initially attracted the attention of sports network ESPN in the late 90s, and 20 years on it is now on the International Olympic Committee’s radar. Over the same period, public interest in poker has been piqued by online poker groups. All this has further enhanced interest in the game in Estonia, where there is an increasing availability of online gaming platforms where people initially visit to play simple slots but are then tempted to try out more sophisticated card-based games.

Estonia’s top poker pros

The net result is that Estonian players are rapidly appearing ever closer to the top of the world poker rankings. They might not be raking in the millions enjoyed by the likes of Justin Bonomo or Daniel Negreanu, but it is only a matter of time.

Markku Koplimaa is top on Estonia’s all-time money list, having taken home more than with more than $1.25 million in career winnings. The 33-year-old hit the headlines last year, winning more than €500,000 by beating all comers at the EPT Barcelona.

Second, on the list is crowd favourite Madis Müür. Unlike Koplimaa, who is mostly New York-based, Muur still lives in his native land. He’s amassed career winnings of almost $800,000, which could go some way to explaining the big smile that makes him so popular.

Estonia is also famous for its female poker pros. Catlin Müür became the first female champion last year and is one of many young female players shaking up the poker scene in Estonia and the wider world.