Independent Pursuits: Poker

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The Independent Culture
I CLICKED on the Internet (my new toy) and told it to search for "poker". It listed 31,100 entries. Dedicated to the game as I am, I wasn't sure I could surf through quite so many items, even in a week. Then a friend advised me to try http://eppa.bigfoot.com, which did the trick. Up came a series of buttons listing various topics, some more useful than others.

This is a website run by the pioneering European Poker Players' Association. First I tried the News Update button. This gave the tournament schedule in Europe. Then I got the European poker rankings, rather like the international tennis rankings, as compiled by the EPPA. Several British players feature at the top of the lists for Hold 'em, Seven-card Stud and Omaha. The Irish are also prominent. Two or three players from over the water have taken up residence in Paris, they like the action so much over there. The Irish view is that the French may win the dinner break hands down, but they can't cut it at the poker table

Another way into poker on the net is via the www.Conjelco.com website. This is a gambling books and software publishing company specialising in products for serious gamblers. "In addition we offer high-quality books, newsletters, software, and videos on blackjack, craps, video poker, and general gambling topics from the publishers", their blurb states.

The excellent Conjelco service also provides a blow-by-blow account of each successive event in the World Series of Poker. It is a labour of love performed by Jim Sims, an enthusiastic recorder of poker news, living in Las Vegas. He and his colleagues do this job, which also has some historical value, to promote the bookselling operation. "Poker on the net will never replace books," Sims told me - which is reassuring to those of us non- computer-nerds who have been brought up on the printed word.

Another way into the Net is via the Las Vegas pair of authors David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth. Apart from their series of books, they offer various gambling essays on screen, and challenging items such as a poker quiz. What I have not yet tried is actually playing poker for money (via a credit card) on the Net. If this is on offer, as I believe it is for casino gambling, it would seem to me a very risky business. If any readers have first-hand experience of gambling on the Net, please drop me a line here at The Independent.

I have no doubt that there is much more to learn from poker on the Net, but this is a start.

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