In recent years, the game of poker has exploded, going from a popular card game to an international sensation. It’s not that the game of poker itself did anything new. In fact, poker has been around, unchanging and popular for many, many years, and has always been a main attraction on casino floors and in private homes all over the world. However, the past decade has brought us a great deal more exposure to competitive high stakes poker through the televising of the World Series of Poker, as well as the spread of online poker. And in fact, it is Internet poker that, when examined in a historical context, gives the clearest picture of how much the game has grown and expanded.
Interestingly enough, poker was being played via the Internet before the Internet as we know it even existed. This early computer poker was called IRC Poker, because it was played via the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) communication network, essentially an early form of modern day messaging systems. This system enabled players to compete against each other without actually being in close proximity to one another, and the growth potential for this idea was enormous.
In 1998, with technology having advanced to the point at which real games sites could be launched, Planet Poker became the first mainstream poker gaming platform online, and was almost immediately followed by a number of others. Some of these early gaming sites included those which are still popular today among serious online poker players: Paradise Poker, Party Poker, and even PokerStars were all active fairly early, and have since become wildly popular online gambling sites.
Inevitably, people began to have success gambling online through Internet poker sites, and Chris Moneymaker – whom many people know for his success at the actual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas – made a specific name for himself by earning the opportunity to compete on poker’s biggest stage simply by succeeding online. In the years since then, online poker has become an explosively popular industry, and as more and more sites become regulated, and more and more governments legitimize online gambling, poker only seems to be expanding more. If you head to http://www.partypoker.com/ today, for example, you will be entering not only an incredibly active online poker community, but a website that is part of a gaming company that generated over $1 billion in revenue in 2011 alone! The success of this company (the Bwin.party ga ming company) is merely one of many indications as to just how many people now play online poker, and just how high the stakes really are.
In the United States, online gambling is still illegal, but there are many working to change this fact, and it seems as if this is the last hurdle to virtually unlimited growth of the industry. As the history shows, the game builds off of its own success, and it is fascinating to imagine where online poker may be ten more years from now.