In November 2002, I entered my first World Poker Tour® event at Lucky Chances in Colma, California. The interesting fact about the town of Colma is that it’s filled with dead people; it’s reported that 90% of its residents are buried in the surrounding cemeteries. It’s always a little eerie and bizarre to drive past headstones to enter a card room named Lucky Chances.It was the early days of the WPT® so no one expected the huge crowd that descending upon that small casino on a Sunday morning. As I made my way to my assigned table, I spotted Phil Hellmuth being interviewed by the WPT announcer Shana Hiatt. And, there were poker pros all over the place-it was very cool.By the time I sat down, the cards were in the air. As I settled in, seated immediately to my left was Daniel Negreanu, nicknamed “Kid Poker.” His big smile signaled a champion who knew he was about to control the action. After all, Daniel’s charismatic personality and winning style had won him fame and millions of dollars. Today, he is probably the most popular poker player in the world.I viewed this as a prime learning opportunity. And, Daniel did not disappoint. He craved action, and entered almost every hand. I sat back as Daniel scooped pot after pot. He was beating everyone at the table, except for an older gentleman.This grey haired fellow was unfamiliar to all. His style of play demonstrated that he was not experienced at poker. When he played a hand, he would limp and just call all the way to the river. Sometimes he’d win, but more times he’d lose. Surprisingly, the only player at the table he was beating consistently was Daniel.Four times Daniel went to the flop heads-up against this player. The betting pattern was the same each time. The man would limp, Daniel would raise, and everyone would fold except this one guy. Daniel would bet every street, and the old guy would call every street. At showdown, the hands would flip over and the guy would beat Daniel with a monster.The fifth time they were heads-up, Daniel just checked the river and asked, “Okay, what do you have this time? Another set?” Sure enough, this old man had Daniel’s number, as he dutifully flipped over a set of 8′s.A few hands later, I was dealt 10`-10c. The grey haired novice was under the gun and he limped into the pot. I just called being in an early position. Daniel raised, and the old man and I called.I was more than a bit nervous playing my first hand against Daniel. I’ve never played against a poker pro before. I don’t know why, but I figured he must’ve had pocket Aces.The flop came with three rags, all 8 and under. We both checked to Daniel, who bet almost the size of the pot. To my surprise, the older man folded. I had an over-pair, but I was intimidated. I wanted to fold. But, I called.The turn was another rag. I checked again, and Daniel instantly bet the turn. This was not good. Now, I knew for sure he had pocket Aces. If I called this bet, I’d have half my chips in the pot. What should I do?I thought about it for a while. I decided to try to find another 10 on the river. I called.The river was a Q. I stared at that card, hoping it would somehow change. How could I possibly have tried to hit one of the two remaining 10′s on the river? It’s like a 25-1 shot. I realized that I’d lost half my chips on a poor decision.Sadly, in a defeated tone, I said, “Check.”Daniel sighed softly. Paused. “Check.”Huh? Did I hear that correctly? Daniel checked his winning hand?I’m stunned. I took too long to show my cards, so Daniel turned over his A-K. My 10′s won.Wow! I beat Daniel Negreanu.I know it was just one hand. But, it was the first time I played a hand against a poker pro. I felt alive. Sure, I got knocked out later in the event, but as I drove past those dead folks and headed home, all I could think of was that one hand of poker.
When we refer to online games we are normally referring to video type games that we play on a computer via the internet. Some video games are played over the internet using mobile phones and video consoles, but generally speaking online games means computer games that need an internet connection to be played. Simple text-based multiplayer games were the first of these types of games as internet connections were slow and expensive when these games were first introduced in the 1980s. Gradually these games became popular in the 1990s, with today’s online games featuring virtual communities, realistic graphics and multiplayer games where people can even play one to one or in knock out tournaments for cash prizes. We all know that the internet is the fastest growing market place in the history of the world but did you know that there is an online games sector that is growing 4 times faster than the internet overall! Yes! and it’s the “Online Skill Games” market.There are many styles of Online GamesSome of the different types of online games that exist:1. Real time strategy games: This type of game is all about strategy where, for your army to fight successfully against the other internet players you need to develop a game plan by building lots of resources2. First person shooter: Here the players compete with each other one to one. In most first-person type games, the online game allows the death match or arena style of play. In this style of game play the view you see is the one seen from your character’s eyes.3. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG): In this type of game each person has to keep trying to reach the next highest level until he has reached the top one written for that game and these online games can have, simultaneously, thousands of players from every part of the globe, playing in a giant virtual world interacting against or with each other. Gamers can keep playing these types of games for months or even years!4. Browser type games: These are pastime games that are quick, simple and small that are played in your browser. The popular Java and Shockwave technologies are used to develop these games.5. Online skill games: An online skill based game is a web game played in tournament format or one to one. Each player pays a cash entry fee to play with a cash or merchandise prize going to the winner or winners. The outcome of each competition is based on the player’s ability and performance not luck.How Do Online Game Companies Make MoneyAll games today, are playable online. How do we make money? This is the question that companies making the online games have to ask themselves. The majority of companies make single-player games that are played at home and in this the player has to beat the artificial intelligence of the enemy. Today these games normally include an online multiplayer version which can be played against or with other Internet players. By selling their game DVD/CDs is how these companies earn their profit e.g. Warcraft 3 and Counter Strike. Advertising and promotions is how browser game companies make their money. MMORPG companies generally charge their players a monthly fee and continue to add content by programming new scenarios etc in their games e.g. Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft. Some don’t, but survive because their DVD/CD sales are high e.g. Guild Wars.What is the future of online games?Soon there will be a new entry into the online skill games market. According to their Free Online Games Market Report they will be the first company with their new online skill games platform, to launch a business that encapsulates three of the newest phenomena on the internet today. Online Games Entertainment, Social Networking using web 2.0 and a new way of marketing which has been described as Social Marketing 2.0. One of the core differences with this new platform over the conventional models is that we the players can if we want share in the profits while we play our games. With the market today (2007) worth approximately $5.2 billion USD and predicted to rise in the next 3 years to over $13 billion USD that’s $412 per second and with social networking sites already reaching 45% of web users and the 4 major Instant Messengers having more than 400 million users between them this potentially could be a whole lot of money.