How Online Poker Keeps Growing

The first online poker game involving real money began in 1998 on a website called Planet Poker. Over the years, the popularity of online poker has grown and grown. The experience has changed a great deal too. If you are familiar with the graphics of computers from the 1990s, you can imagine that the first poker games would have been a totally different experience from what they are today. The the rate of growth of online poker has been an average of about 11% every year. Today, more than 100 million people play poker online.

1998 - 2003: The Beginning

In the few years following 1998, more and more portals began to appear offering real money online poker. The variety on offer increased, as more sites began to offer Texas Hold'em, Omaha and other types of poker games. Sites like Partypoker and Pokerstars launched with a great deal of advertising. The industry became much more high stakes, with the launch of million dollar online poker tournaments.

2003 - 2006 Poker Boom

While online poker popularity had been consistently rising, it went through a particular surge between 2003 and 2006. During these years, the player pool of online poker at least doubled in size each year. There were two main triggers to this boom: in early 2003, the World Poker Tour debuted on American cable television. In May 2003, an amateur, Chris Moneymaker, won the World Series of Poker Main Event, after winning his seat on a satellite tournament on the Pokerstars online poker room. The first event brought the excitement of poker into the homes of Americans, and the second event showed them that they themselves could win big with online poker. Over the next few years, the number of people competing in the Main Event doubled several times over.

2006: End Of The Boom

This massive boom ended in 2006. This is generally thought to be due to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which was passed in October in the USA. The Act forbid financial institutions from processing payments for online gambling. This meant that many poker sites left the USA, including the most popular one, Party Poker. Online poker remains illegal in the United States, although the specific laws have changed.

Today: Consistent Growth

Although the boom ended in the USA, which was once the largest market for online poker, it continued to grow elsewhere in the world, most notably in Europe. Today, online casino NZ dollars sites and other online poker sites globally are encouraging the growth of poker.

The rise of online poker in fact mirrors the pattern of the rise of the Internet. A slow, nearly unknown start, with only a few enthusiastic users, followed by a massive explosion, followed by stable, consistent growth. The difference is the legal aspect: in some countries it is strictly forbidden, in others it is totally legal, and in others there is a wide grey area. However, one thing is certain: online poker is not going to stop rising in popularity any time soon.
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