Going All in on Poker

Hitting the jackpot

From a niche card game mostly played by savvy rounders seeking out high-stakes games, the classic game of poker has well and truly evolved into a massively popular sport with a decidedly international following. While the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is still one of the premiere events in the sport, an increasing number of highly stacked tournaments have been hosted by opulent casinos from such diverse locales as Malta, South Korea, Cyprus, Slovenia, Morocco, Italy, and Slovakia, just to name a few. Furthermore, online poker is now widely regarded as both an auxiliary training tool and an accessible platform to earn satellite seats in live tournaments by winning online qualifiers. Coupled with the prevalence of state-of-the-art smartphones and tablets nowadays, learning the basics of poker and winning a spot in a prestigious international tournament has never been easier.

Online gambling websites have taken full advantage of the popularity of social media platforms to keep in touch with their respective fan bases. Gaming Realms, a company whose efforts to bring casino gaming to mobile and social markets led to the launching of Pocket Fruity in 2012, said that social media platforms accounted for a 29% reduction in their cost-per-player acquisition. These numbers are also reflected by other companies and tournaments, whose online and social games have allowed for increased player numbers, and higher user times. In an effort to reach out to their audiences on a more social scale, online poker operators now give their followers the chance to win everything from iPads to free tickets to live tournaments. A fairly recent example happened on late December 2013, when John Gudger – in his first-ever live tournament in the United Kingdom – converted a paltry $3 sum into a seat at the World Poker Tour (WPT) National UK Milton Keynes Main Event, where he then proceeded to win the grand prize of £12,750. Online poker rooms are certainly helpful in their own right, but there’s nothing quite like feeling and working through the inherent tension and drama of a live tournament. Indeed, navigating a high-stakes poker table requires (and demands) a finely honed sense of intuition, mental resilience, and loads of patience – all of these skills must be inevitably cultivated in the fiercely competitive, high-pressure atmosphere of a live tournament setting.

modern_vintage_rhode_island_state_map_candy_pink_playingcard-r7dc457d871654c398b88e935d1ff079b_fsvzl_8byvr_512Incidentally, one of Rhode Island’s two casinos recently added more game tables to accommodate a growing number of patrons. Back in September 6, 2013, Twin River Casino gained the approval of the State Lottery to increase the number of game tables from 66 to 80; this timely expansion necessitated the hiring of approximately 90 more employees. The former Lincoln Park Greyhound Track is currently the largest casino in Rhode Island with more than 300,000 square feet of prime gaming space. Moreover, there’s a clear demand for Twin River’s table games, which the numbers bear out pretty nicely; the games earned $4.5 million for the state from July through October of 2013, putting total revenue from Twin River and Newport Grand – Rhode Island’s other casino – ahead of the same period the previous year.

One of the world’s finest poker players happened to grow up as a self-proclaimed “math nerd” at Cranston. Anthony Zinno earned $825,099 when he won the Main Event of the grueling five-day WPT Borgata Poker Open at the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, back on September 15, 2013.

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