Get Into the History of Poker Online

Keenan Constance via Unsplash

Although live poker has been a beloved game for centuries, poker online is still in its infancy. There have certainly been numerous highs and lows within the past two decades of technological advancement, from increasing popularity to unfortunate scandals. However, each year, we see more improvements as technology evolves.

In the dawn of online poker, a new era was born. Players around the world found themselves captivated by this thrilling and dynamic game. A newfound sense of competition, possibility, and excitement drove millions to explore their skills in this ever-evolving digital arena.

The Formative Years

In 1994, the first ever online poker game between humans transpired on Internet Relay Chat. It signifies a milestone in the history of internet poker, and people flock to play poker online–with over 20 different variants available (including Omaha High Double Flop and Holdem Hi/Lo), IRC-poker was popular for quite some time before Planet Poker came along as the world’s initial actual money cardroom operator. On January 1, 1998, Randy Blumer made his mark by dealing with Texas Holdem Poker Online at $3/$6 blinds; this marked a significant moment in technology and entertainment!

2003: Moneymaker and the Subsequent Poker Boom

Moneymaker was picturing a reality where someone could win against the most seasoned poker competitors playing online poker real money. Miraculously, he then qualified for the World Series of Poker Main Event through a satellite tournament, which became possible after television broadcasts switched to showing visible hole cards. It is precisely what happened in 2003 when an accountant from Tennessee won a qualifier and took home his WSOP bracelet: Chris Moneymaker was the first champion to do so successfully via online qualification.

Millions of viewers were enthralled as they watched the Main Event unfold on ESPN, with Chris Moneymaker eventually emerging victorious against his poker professionals competitors. This win earned him an impressive total of $2.5 million in prize money and immediately triggered a surge in traffic to poker sites. People worldwide wanted to follow in Moneymaker’s footsteps! 

Poker rooms rapidly filled up with players eager to experience their triumph as he did–who could blame them? Aspiring poker players nurtured the dream of achieving recognition by participating in tournaments. There was minimal government aid for US citizens to make direct deposits and withdrawals from USA-friendly websites. Yet, this obstacle only fueled celebrities’ aspirations to become ambassadors for online poker sites–thus creating an ideal setting for a perfect storm.

Chris Moneymaker’s 2003 victory in the Main Event ignited a golden age for online poker that spanned from 2003 to 2006. Professional players were given superstar treatment, and it appeared like this period of prosperity would persist indefinitely. Unfortunately, impending disruptions awaited just beyond the horizon.

2006: UIGEA

In 2006, the online gambling market was chaotic and unpredictable. President George W. Bush brought order to this chaos when he enacted the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in October 2006, which prohibited American banks from processing any transactions relating to illegal forms of internet gambling. 

The Department of Justice enforced this law to include all forms of online poker. This monumental shift has established a new baseline for legal gaming regulations nationwide. In the aftermath of UIGEA, many publicly traded corporations offering online poker quickly cut off US players from their sites. Major companies closed up shop for American customers. On the other hand, some private corporations decided to stay and serve United States citizens despite government restrictions. Neteller ceased providing services to Americans, leading to millions in player funds being seized by DOJ.

Bitcoin poker

In 2008, Bitcoin was created by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. Not long after Black Friday in 2011, Seals With Clubs opened their pioneering online poker site utilizing this revolutionary currency. Unlike other payment processors keeping records of deposits and withdrawals, all transactions on their platform occurred only in Bitcoin, allowing increased anonymity to its players.

Online poker in terms of recreational players

In 2017, the emergence of mobile poker apps significantly boosted the club-based poker model. As recreational players shifted away from casinos and poker rooms to private home games, both live and online, they began joining numerous clubs on popular platforms. Interactive elements, such as throwing items, were increasingly sought across mobile and desktop versions of these software programs. 

Thanks to all these technological advancements, playing poker has never been more exciting or accessible! Home games and private poker clubs are excellent for amateur players to avoid exploitation by expert gamblers. In recent years, significant poker operators have begun providing the option of hosting a home game with your buddies. Mobile poker apps now offer features like minimum VPIP tables and password-protected exclusive tables that are extremely popular nowadays.

The making of the modern poker player

The transformation of the contemporary poker player is drastically different from its live-only era. Instead of smoky saloons filled with cowboys playing cards, drinking whiskey, and puffing on cigars, when poker hit the internet, it was like suddenly turning up the music in an almost empty bar; everyone wanted to dance! 

Now that online poker is a reality, the techniques to become better have evolved, too. Several players have begun using software such as solvers and trackers to refine their approach. Are you interested in catching an inside glimpse of how some top names play? Simply select one of the Twitch streaming poker channels and explore their decisions!

A Final Word

Poker has come a long way since its inception in the late 1990s. What started as a game played in smoke-filled rooms by grizzled veterans has become a multi-billion dollar industry enjoyed by people of all backgrounds worldwide. The popularity of online poker is undeniable, and it doesn’t look like this trend will change any time soon. If you want to be a part of this exciting industry, sign up for GGPoker now and start playing today. Who knows, maybe you could be the next big winner!