As the Internet is such an integral part of our lives today, a great deal of activities, games, events, and other informational resources have also made the jump to the digital world and have grown ever since. With the currently ongoing pandemic, this process has only been accelerated and more people from around the world are spending their free time gambling online.
If one were to look at the popularity of online poker, it’s easy to think that the gain in popularity of the game is largely due to the restrictions that have been placed on many in-person gatherings.
While it’s certainly true that the pandemic has played a part in increasing the popularity of online poker, it’s growth and adoption is over twenty years in the making. In this article, we’ll explore how online poker went from obscurity to a major player in the gambling industry.
The Birth of Online Poker
Online poker first came into existence around 1997, when the first online-card games emerged on the Internet. It wasn’t until 1998, however, that the first fiat money was spent on an online poker game. The history making institution, Planet Poker, was heavily endorsed by Mike Caro, often dubbed the “Mad Genius of Poker.” This firmly entrenched Planet Poker as one of the biggest poker sites for years to come.
While it did take until the early 2000’s for the site to take off, the increasing use of Planet Poker’s site revolutionized the online poker world, drastically raising the standard in the industry and encouraging its competitors to up their game. Back then, the most popular games on the site included games like limit-hold ‘em, 7-card stud, and Omaha lo-hi, which is quite different from today, where the average site will see no-limit hold ‘em and pot-limit Omaha as the favorites.
The MoneyMaker Effect
What really grew the online poker world is what is today known as the MoneyMaker Effect. It all started in 2003, when a 27-year-old accountant named Chris Moneymaker (yes, his real name) came onto the scene. Before the conclusion of the 2003 World Series of Poker, Chris was a relatively unknown figure, still working his job as an accountant. He won a seat at the main event of the World Series of Poker through a $80 satellite tournament at the online Pokerstars poker card room, and went on eventually to win the whole tournament, netting a cool $2.5 million dollars. From there, he quit his old job as an accountant and went on in his life to promote gambling platforms, even once publishing a controversial children’s’ book that dealt with the topic of gambling and mathematics.
His victory inspired a new wave of poker players, who saw that it was possible for an amateur to best the professionals, and then have the financial freedom to leave the shackles of their old job. His unlikely story is credited with drawing in millions of hopeful poker players. The craze continued until 2006, when the US government passed a law that banned online gambling. Now, with online gambling becoming more common throughout the states, online poker is also experiencing a resurgence in popularity. With its ease of access, availability of free games, convenience, and much more, it’s no wonder why online poker is as popular as it is. Especially considering the fact that you can now gamble from the comfort of your own home with just a few clicks of a button. If you’re interested in trying your hand at Poker, make sure to have your bluffing face ready.