Poker has become a big-time sport

By Bob Sweeney

By Bob Sweeney

I’ve been enjoying recent poker columns in The Gambler and have played a few times at a friend’s house.  Along with the poker, the hosts provide a great assortment of pizza and nibbles that make the evening very entertaining.

A second great option of this home game is that losers start a “cash game”. So, when knocked out of the regular game, where the three top winners split the $25 per person pot, there is something to do besides go home mad—or at least distressed over those bad “river hands,” where that last card beats your two pairs.

Anyway, in my neighborhood, there are two weekly free poker games going on at a local café and another one at a golf club. These are not done for profit by sponsors, but as just-fun-games for customers. I would assume that there are hundreds of poker games being played across the metro area on a regular basis, along with charity poker events.

Courts have ruled that poker really is a sport and should be treated as such.

Most of the avid poker players travel to Black Hawk, Central City or Cripple Creek to engage in real poker at major poker parlors located within some of the largest casino properties.

Poker has now become so big across the nation that we have major tournaments coming to our local casinos. Arriving here March 23 through April 2 will be the Mid-States Poker Tour, returning to the Golden Gates Casino in Black Hawk.

Players who desire to learn poker can start at the local café, and if they find this sport to their liking they can graduate to the larger cash games at our casinos. One major difference between the café buy-in tournaments and the casino cash games is that a player can quit anytime. That’s hard to do in a friendly neighborhood game where the prize goes to the last players at the final table.

Another way to play poker is online 24/7, right from your computer at home. It’s a good way to learn the ropes, but there is nothing like actual cash play in a casino environment.

I’ve advocated for years, especially after Colorado law raised the limits, that players can have great time right here in Black Hawk and Central City. Even a drive down to Cripple Creek is less expensive than a trip to Las Vegas or Reno.

For the experienced poker player, the annual World Series of Poker is starting up soon at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, and Colorado players will be competing. In fact, one local man won the big money a few years ago.

The bottom line is that there is a poker game for everyone at all levels, gender and age. Playing poker is an individual sport, not team play, and this is not a spectator sport, but a game to play.

“Deal, deal” cried the losers as the midnight time limit draws close.

The smart player has already left with most of the money.

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