Poker has been a popular form of spending time with friends or alone for tens of years. It has a long history and has been traced back across Europe, with beginnings in France and Spain.
Poker traveled and morphed into what we know and love as poker today.
But what made poker see a sharp rise in popularity through the 70s, and the meteoric rise of the online adoption of poker only?
There are a few key moments in pop culture, and in the lifespan of poker that changed the course of a game.
What started as small gatherings and small bets has turned into billions in revenue, and here is how.
The Big Event in 1970
The first World Series of Poker kicked off in the 1970s and sparked a worldwide interest in the game.
One of the most exciting things about The World Series of Poker is that the gathering was tiny when pitched against any other sporting event at the time.
Binion’s Horseshoe Casino was the venue of choice, and over the space of a few days, many games took place.
One the roster was a five-card draw, ace-to-five lowball, and five-card stud.
In 1971 six players put up $5,000 each, putting the grand total at a whopping $30,000 for the time.
In today’s money, that equates to $193,764.44 (factoring in inflation of 3.80% per year and a cumulative price increase of 545.88%).
By 1979 The World Series Poker had grown to 54 main entrants and $270,000 in winnings.
Imagine the excitement of these original players with the prospect of online poker, no deposit bonus, and global playing on the horizon!
In the space of just nine years, poker had captured the interests of many, and that would grow to millions in the next few years.
Moving poker to the online arena
In 1998 the real money games were online where internet worked as a sprinkler system layout which sprayed games all over the world , and the first real money game was on the first day of the year.
Poker came online at the same time as blackjack and roulette.
In the early days, there were fewer choices, but now we have a more comprehensive range of variations. When it comes to online poker, there is something for everyone.
Seven-card stud, Omaha online, Pai Gow Poker, and Texas Hold ‘Em are all online to be enjoyed by poker-loving players.
Different poker and sports betting websites were fighting for the attention of players who were switching to online playing—offering big bonuses, celebrity poker players, and something called satellites.
A satellite is where online players play tournaments to win a seat at a real poker table in poker terms.
Online poker was growing, but in the next few years, popular culture would set fire to the rocket and send it into orbit.
Critical figures for online poker:
In 2020 it was estimated that 40 million people played online poker with regularity.
According to a research paper, in the USA in 2009, 650.0 million USD revenue was made by 1,428,823 players.
The total number of player accounts for online gambling in the UK on 30th April 2020 was 14,834,583 (including players with multiple accounts)
Active poker players during April 2020 in the UK is 626,304 with a total of 226,548,896 poker bets placed.
The rise of poker popularity
Poker tournaments were being aired on TV more often as were poker advertisements. Combined with the increase in hacker, gambling, and fast-paced movies, this made poker look and feel exciting.
Rounders (1998) is one such movie. The plot is quick wit, cons, scams, psychological and ingenious. Casino (1995) came a few years before and took viewers on a journey through a gambling empire.
Ocean’s Eleven, the remake (2001), secured the idea that poker and gambling are embroiled in a particular lifestyle.
Are there benefits when switching to online poker?
Since the inception of poker, we have seen multiple different versions of it. However, online you have even more options. It is not just in the style of the game that you play but also in the theme and where you play it.
What makes playing poker online so much fun, and why do so many people do it?
Playing a fast and fun game of poker has never been more convenient than it is now. You can play a game whenever you like via your mobile phone or your desktop.
Even more convenient is that typically at a table, your ‘tells’ might be showing other players. Behind a screen, your ‘tells’ are hidden, and it can lead to a better game for many.
What is ‘tell’ in poker? A tell is a change in behavior that can indicate to other players that you have a high or low hand. The tell will become reliable throughout a few games and let other people know what you have.
Online poker is the more convenient way to avoid letting everyone know your tell.
Online poker has some of the best bonuses that you can find in the online gaming world. You can have 100% and up deposit matching (limits of $100 – $1000 usually apply), free money, and VIP games for regulars.
Betting companies want to be as competitive as possible and still profitable, so that they will offer new sign-ups and regular players incredible bonuses for loyal players.
Gaming developers can use the traditional poker rules and gameplay but add exciting themes, twists, and play styles.
Could online poker decline in popularity?
Online trends tend to rise and fall quickly, and online poker is no exception. There are a few indicators that online poker may decline over time.
Many countries have multiple and often confusing regulations. Those regulations could easily stifle the growth of online poker.
If the regulations change due to different political parties and voting, it could reduce the number of people playing online.
Without the ability to play online freely, there are some places that online poker just can’t flourish.
The rapid growth of poker was party due to poker being shown regularly on mainstream media. There is also a dramatic decline in advertisements too.
Those advertisements were a vital part of the growth of poker over the years.
Poker is a skill-based game, and with the internet giving people access to tutorials and guides, the skill base has increased exponentially.
Once the base skills for poker are mastered, it is not surprising that people will then search for other games to feel rechallenged.
The future of poker
With over 10 million players worldwide, it isn’t hard to see that poker is here to stay. Will it grow over the next few years? Most likely. The USA has several states that need to solidify their stance and regulations on online poker, as do several African countries too.
Poker is safely ensconced in the online gaming world, and it is a space that has plenty of room for growth.