80 million now playing poker in the States
By abigail
The rise in popularity of Poker continues, with it now being estimated that as many as 80 million Americans now play the game- either in tournaments, online or just at home. Many reasons have been cited for the growth of the game- celebrity support, televised tournaments, the rise in popularity of Texas Holdíem and of course the increased availability of the game over the internet.

There is now an additional theory to be added to the list- that pokerís rise is also a result of the wane in popularity of other games, that were previously seen as more exciting or glamorous alternatives. Howard Schwartz, proprietor of Las Vegasí Gamblerís Book Shop explains this theory: 'The dotcom generation loves poker. It gives you a sense of control you don't find in other games. It's a roller coaster with an adrenaline high. Blackjack players have gone to poker because the casinos are breathing down the necks of anybody who counts cards or increases their bets substantially. They're so afraid that these M.I.T. kids are going to take them down for a million dollars a day that they've made blackjack a difficult game to enjoy.'

Ben Affleck, a famous player of the game, and one of the great advertisements which may draw in interest from people who have previously never contemplated poker, also recently tried to explain the poker bandwagon. He pointed more to the drama inherently involved in the game, something heightened when taking into account the level of control as player can exercise, as described by Schwartz above: 'It has exploded. There's elimination, there's victory, there's defeat and there are real stakes involving everyday, normal people.'

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