In recent years, poker sites have come up with a number of new ways to encourage players to part with their money; they have also recruited celebrity players.
The latest such big name to be signed up by one of the major sites is Rafael Nadal, who has been recruited by PokerStars, the world's biggest site.
This could be a smart move; the Black Friday domain seizures and resultant shock waves have killed the American market, and there is no realistic prospect of any of the major sites returning, at least not for many years. This has led of necessity to them seeking to recruit clientele elsewhere, and although the Far East has enormous potential, Europe is the most logical place for them to start, and the Spanish speaking market - which of course extends far beyond Spain - also has enormous potential.
The major poker sites have also been experimenting with new games and new variations on old ones. Our hero stumbled onto a time tournament yesterday. I thought I'd registered for a slightly later one and was surprised when this appeared on my screen, but it was only a $1 + 10c buy-in, and I made the money too, so who's complaining? Apparently these have been running since last October, the shortest lasts for 15 minutes, and the idea is that everyone left in at the end of the fixed period gets a share of the prize pool. Obviously there will be no big pay outs, certainly not for a $1 buy-in, but for those short of that most precious of commodities - time - it's not a bad idea.
A time tournament on PokerStars; what do you do if you are short stacked with a playable but none too great hand and faced with a big pre-flop raise? Hope the guy has a big pocket pair rather than AK or some such, whack it all in and pray. Here, the prayer was answered.
A $1 time tournament played on PokerStars, June 23, 2012. Only 6 minutes left to run.
Badugi is a poker variant that has been around longer but not that much longer than time tournaments. On PokerStars you can play fixed limit as well as pot limit, and the occasional freeroll, but it is a game that will not appeal to all. Including me.
A badugi in a low limit game on PokerStars, June 18, 2012.
You can play razz on PokerStars, but Ladbrokes appears to be the only place you can play pot limit razz. You can also play pot limit 5 card stud on this site, though pot limit razz remains my personal favourite for purely selfish reasons.