To the untrained eye, poker looks like a game that has stayed the same since it first began, after all, it is a game played to the same rules and uses the same 52 cards as it always has but there are many subtle differences behind the scenes and how it is actually played. The game in continually evolving.
The first changes of note over the past couple of decades are the games that are popular or no longer played in casinos and home games. Before the influx of Texas Hold’em players, the most popular game played was five-card and seven-card stud. All the best players were experts in this game and from it other games such as stud hi/low and Razz were formed.
Fast forward several years and everyone started to play texas hold’em poker (http://poker.ladbrokes.com/en/poker-rules/texas-holdem) first fixed limit and then when they figured out they could make more money, no-limit Hold’em. More recently the trends have changed again, with the high-stakes pros preferring to play pot limit Omaha and mixed games in lieu of hold’em, with many saying hold’em has nearly being solved.
It is not only the popularity of games that has changed but also the formats at which they are played. Cash games have always being one of the favourite ways to play poker, in fact they were the only way to play any form of poker up to around 50 years ago. At that point tournaments started to become immensely popular, especially with the formation of the World Series of Poker. In more modern times we have seen single table tournaments be the ultimate grinder’s game and then fall again and the current craze at the moment seems to be double or nothing games.
Poker changes all the time and online poker goes through these changes much quicker than in a casino or cardroom. This is why it is important not to just specialise in one form of the game, you should be playing all forms of poker in all formats because you simply do not know which one will become the most played in the coming months and years and being proficient in many forms of poker will give you an edge over your opponents in the long term.