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The E-casino Industry
Lady Luck's eyes beam generously indeed on cyber-pioneers. Financial analysts from Bear Steams report that of the income statements they've been able to see, e-casinos have an incredible 65 percent return.4 That is unlikely to last; advertising costs in the mobbed Internet are the bane of this industry. But even at the low end of the business where entrepreneurs buy an e-casino for as little as $10,000, profits are said to be better than 10 percent. This, at least according to the outfit GetaCasino.com that is selling them.5 Offshore taxes are generally lower, too. There is so much money to be made online that the Internet domain name "online blackjack games. com" was sold in June, 1999 for $460,000.6 Half a million for the right to name the street where the virtual casino was going up! The price of established e-casinos is also impressive -a September 1999 want ad asked $6 million cash for a place claiming a $460,000 monthly win.7 Not bad for a business that can fit in a dentist's office. Starnet, an industry leader in leasing e-casino software, claims that the April 1999 "handle" (the total amount bet, not the hold) for all of its licensees was $100 million.8

That's a lot, but they're just getting started. The whole Internet is still getting started. Worldwide in 1999, there were about 147 million users of the web, and that is expected to double by the end of 2000.9 Even the poorest countries have rich neighborhoods that are eager to wager online. There is also still tremendous growth potential among those already online, because most people still will not send money over the Internet. Only one-fifth do. Gambling, in particular, has many souls to be won over. Only a tiny percentage of web surfers are willing to have anything to do with it - two percent of more than 65 million Americans online. Compare that to 20 percent of 260 million people who gamble regularly m land casinos, and you can see that if the industry attains a good reputation, the potential for growth is enormous." Reputation is built one player at a time, by promptly paying wins after that first, timid step into a cyber-gambling den.
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Starting Hands
As in most fixed-limit poker games, what starting hands you choose to play and how you play them are critical decisions. Nonetheless, the ability to limp into a Stud hand by paying just the bring-in bet on the first betting round can defer some of that decision until later.
Categories of starting Stud hands are a bit more unveiled than they are in Hold'em, and starting criteria do not lend themselves to the same degree of quantification. But we can still identify some features of a three-card hand that would go into your decision on how to play your starters.
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