The year 2010 was certainly a turning point for online poker. The poker world experienced a boom thanks to the Moneymaker effect that witnessed Chris Moneymaker qualify for and win a World Series of Poker event. Poker also began to trickle down to pop culture with films like Rounders. It generated a curiosity that translated to a ginormous demand online for the game.
Nearing 2010, the poker industry seemed to be thriving with online rooms offering a gamut of games. However, there were glitches, which still needed fixing. Some sites were forced to pay players to help fill tables while others offered free games until they got enough players subscribed before switching to a money option. Whilst these were problems facing the owners, players had plenty of choices and still felt relatively secure while playing. The bubble then exploded with numerous incidents of sites cheating customers. It was the Black Friday of Poker and the most popular sites in the industry were shut down.
The online poker ecosystem needed a complete revamp. American states began to take the initiative and offer regulated games online. The first regulated hands of online poker dealt in the United States came on April 30th, 2013, just over two years since the Black Friday bombshell.
With regulation came safety for players across the world and as the years rolled by, poker players have found a host of changes to the way the game is played online. Making online platforms more secure and protecting both the platform and its clients. Here’ s look at the major factors that were vital for this resurgence.
In 2010, there were a handful of big players in the industry and smartphones weren’t as prevalent. The rapid growth of digital technology gave online poker it’s own advancement. The number of online poker platforms increased, as has the method by which players can take part.
The Skill Gap
The skill gap is a crucial factor that changed the landscape of the game. Back in 2010, there were fewer players who had mastered the skill and it was easier for these experienced players to find a game in which they were much better than their opponents and take advantage.
However, it’s harder than before now since it is a level playing field for newcomers and experienced professionals alike. Players can no longer be labeled in distinct groups since everyone has access to books, videos, etc.
Furthermore, the usage of apps and HUDs to help understand your opponent has increased as technology has allowed, making it easier for lesser skilled players to increase their chances of winning.
Socially, online poker has developed at an alarming rate. Social media had only begun to introduce the idea, but the community was always tightly knit. Players wanted to feel connected, not just to those who on their tables, but to local players in their area.
The success of Chris Moneymaker is still a driving force. The chance to play against people online and then perhaps even test your skills around the felt for real is a huge win for the poker world!
With legislation comes regulation and since 2010 many of those problems have been addressed and resolved. With more players comes far less chance of facing those being paid to play. Online poker platforms now look to protect players by revealing if two online people are sitting close together in the real world. There are also regulations around how sites can take cash from you and how you withdraw, further fastening the safety belt.
Despite the Black Friday and poker being subject to more stringent regulations, the game has thrived once again and online games are becoming the way to play.