What is the online poker boom? You may have heard this phrase tossed about in your poker experiences, but perhaps you are not quite sure what it means. More importantly, you may not be aware what it means for you. Here is what you need to know.
Before the Online Poker Boom
Before online poker blew up, very few people were playing online poker. The technology for a quality online poker experience didn’t even exist before the late ‘90s, and at that time only hardcore gamblers really knew about it. Once sites like PartyPoker, PokerStars and ParadisePoker began perfecting their software, more people took an interest in the online game, but it was still a relatively low-traffic enterprise.
The Online Poker Boom
That all changed in 2003 when Chris Moneymaker, an accountant from Tennessee, won the main event of the World Series of Poker after winning his seat through an online satellite at PokerStars. Moneymaker’s win was viewed by more people than had ever watched poker before due to new technology allowing watchers to know the cards that each player held. After seeing Moneymaker win millions after getting his start online, thousands of people flocked to the Internet to take their shot at poker glory.
The Online Poker Bust
Poker and online poker especially, grew and grew over the next three years, as evidenced by the number of participants in the main event, which jumped from the hundreds to the thousands. Young players were discovering the game online and becoming expert pros in a fraction of the time it took their predecessors to achieve the same heights. Then in 2006, an exiting Republican Congress shoehorned the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act into a bill designed to protect the United States from terrorism. This made it much more difficult for American players to get money into online poker sites and caused PartyPoker, the biggest online poker site, to withdraw from the U.S. market. This event precipitated a slowing down of the popularity of online poker.
Online Poker Today
Today, online poker is healthy, but the caliber of the competition has gotten much higher. Many of the poker players used the UIGEA as a good opportunity to withdraw from online poker and cut their losses, while others had finally played enough to become skilled at the game and were no longer easy pickings. Today there is plenty of traffic out there for players looking to get into online poker, but being a consistent long-term winner may be more of a challenge than ever before.