My, how hard it used to be to find a game of poker. You could call round all your friends to see who was available - but you needed a large pool of friends who knew how to play the game, and enough of them free on the right night. Even if you managed that, you were stuck with the awkwardness of taking your friends' money. Or - worse - them taking yours. And if three people got bored and went home, the game was over.
Or, you could go to a casino. But you needed to live near a casino that offered poker. You needed to not mind setting off at night, walking into a room full of strangers, and travelling home alone - often in the small hours, sometimes with a bundle of cash that made you nervous. And you were always stuck with the stakes offered by the house, which could easily be too high for you to enjoy, or too low for you to care.
When internet poker was invented, 10 years ago now, it felt like a sort of miracle: 24-hour games, with thousands (and then millions) of people all over the world, at any stakes you liked, in the comfort of your own home.
I couldn't imagine it developing any further. But the world has changed again, and PokerStars.co.uk has now launched a version for mobile phones! You can literally play anywhere. Poker used to be underground, and now you can play it on the underground.
I say that; I don't know what phone reception's like on the underground. But you can definitely play on the bus. This quirky, challenging, infinitely fascinating game is now less of a secret lover, more of a constant companion.
Be careful out there. With this kind of permanent access, you'd better make sure to play for sums you can easily afford. And for God's sake don't play it while crossing the road....
Vicky Coren is a Team PokerStars Pro
The PokerStars Mobile App allows you to play poker on the world's largest and most secure poker site anytime, anywhere.
To download please visit: www.pokerstars.co.uk/mobile/
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