5-Card Draw was similar to Stud Poker but with a crucial twist. After the five cards had been dealt, there would be a round of betting. Then, each player in turn could exchange one or more of the cards in his hand, for new cards from the deck, to try to improve his hand. Then there would be a further round of betting. The result was that players made better hands and there was twice the opportunity for betting, meaning twice the opportunity to try to bluff, bully or seduce your opponents. Some players consider 5-Card Draw Poker the purest form of the game, but it is nowhere near as popular as many other versions.
As the third millennium dawned, the popularity of poker was beginning to expand from the millions who played it regularly in the USA, to hundreds of millions throughout the world. Inspired by television coverage, featuring secret cameras which revealed the players’ cards to the audience, the huge sums of money at stake for the most subtle of decisions and the sheer human drama of the game, poker’s universal charm became irresistible. Moreover, the Internet became the preferred venue for playing, especially amongst those starting out in the game. The ability to practise anonymously, to enter free tournaments and to play against really good players from aIl over the world, without leaving home, has bec orne a fine alternative to watching mindless television or sitting in gridlocked traffic.
In the twenty-first century, there is an abundance of different poker games: 5-Card Stud and Draw, 7-Card Stud, Hi/Low variations, Omaha and, the "Cadillac of poker games", Texas Hold ‘Em. There are also the many home-spun variations with jokers, wild cards, strange betting rules and topsy-turvey last-minute turnarounds. However, most poker players in the world today favour Texas Hold ‘Em. It’s the version which best combines skill with luck, which involves just the right amount of action, and the one which produces the most excitement right down to the very last card.