Jan 4 2010

The History of Online Poker: Just 12 years old!

written by: John under Poker Comments: Comments Off

Remember playing at this site?

Remember playing at this site?

The popular game of poker can be traced back as far as 200 years, but with today’s technology, online poker has become a 24/7 worldwide passion played by millions of people of all walks of life.

Here’s how it all began:

1998 – Planet Poker is born. Founded by the legendary poker professional and writer, Mike Caro, aka “Mad Genius,” it was the first established online poker room. The first real-money hand was a $3/$6 Texas Hold ‘em hand.

Also, by this time, all online gambling has generated $834.5 million in revenue, as reported by Frost and Sullivan, global market research firm. Jon Kyl, senator from Arizona, introduces the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act (IGPA). This act opposes online gambling and wants to make it illegal to offer online gambling products to the citizens of the United States. It fails to pass.

1999 – Paradise Poker is established in Costa Rica by three unnamed Canadians. This poker room quickly takes the number one spot. Not only do they offer Texas Hold’em, but Seven-Card Stud and Omaha, as well. For players, this room offers more action, better software, and a reputation for friendly support and overall improved safety.

2000UltimateBet comes on the scene. With the help of some high-stake poker players as silent partners, Greg Pierson and Jon Karl implement No-Limit Hold ‘em games, allowing the average pot size to be seen in the lobby. They also hire Russ Hamilton to promote the site and attract some big-name players. The player sponsorship model was invented when Russ brought 11 time WSOP winner and “Poker Brat,” Phil Hellmuth, on board.

2001PartyPoker comes on strong offering tournaments. During the summer of 2001, they ran a large series of tournaments that culminated on a cruise ship with the main prize being one million dollars, which is a tradition known today as the PartyPoker Million. This promotional-style strategy gains them much popularity and great financial success. Mike Sexton, host of the World Poker Tour (WPT) television show, is the site’s promoter, but a certain female lawyer is its founder. FYI, presently, she resides in Gibraltar (a tax-friendly country).

2002 – Now things really start to pick up momentum! Paradise Poker begins losing ground since they still have not offered multi-table tournaments; they are no longer the industry leader. Additionally, for the first time, the Travel Channel begins televising the WPT. PartyPoker takes advantage of this opportunity to advertise, and they see a big pay off with the attraction of many new players. Now what was once just a few players sitting at one rotating Limit Hold’em table suddenly, as if over night even, becomes millions of players, worldwide. PartyPoker becomes the leader of the pack; advertising dollars are well spent and paying off big for PartyPoker.

2003 – Chris Moneymaker wins the 2003 World Series of Poker (WSOP) on PokerStars online poker room. The prize is $2.5 million, making an otherwise average Joe a multi-millionaire instantly. Moneymaker, still a novice, inspires a world of poker players when he takes the most prestigious poker title and becomes the world champion of poker after only preparing and practicing by playing online!

After Moneymaker states on PokerStars that anyone can win big, the site enjoys more players than all other sites combined. New players are attracted to the idea that even online poker players who haven’t ever stepped foot in a land-based casino have a shot at winning the big game, making poker everyman’s sport. Moneymaker gives the online poker industry, as a whole, more publicity than any costly advertising campaign or marketing strategy could have ever hoped to accomplish.

2004 – PartyPoker is now earning more than $1 million profit in one day. The poker craze is at full force. Its popularity grows and several poker TV shows featuring celebrities are being watched by main-stream America. An increase in online poker sites are being born daily. It seems everybody wants in on the action.

Full Tilt Poker is now one of the new kids on the block; they advertise heavily on TV using several top poker pros as spokesmen. The biggest names in poker are used to convince Americans to try their hand at poker by visiting Full Tilt online. The publicity stunt works. Full Tilt successfully becomes one of the big guns in online poker.

According to Christiansen Capital Advisors, industry researchers, 51% of the $8.5 billion in online gambling revenues generated worldwide is generated from within the United States.

2005 – An estimated 55 million Americans played poker this year; 15 million played with real money (according to the PPA website).

2006 – In the fall of 2006, the US Senate passes the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). US banks are prohibited from transferring monies to online casinos on behalf of their players. PartyPoker immediately bans US players from playing real money poker online, along with a number of other online poker rooms and gambling sites. However, many online poker rooms choose to ignore the UIGEA.

Democrat US Congressman, Barney Frank, kick starts legislation to overturn the UIGEA. The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) takes a stand for the millions of Americans who have been locked
out of their online poker accounts or are being forced to play illegally.

2007 – Online poker rooms continue to register and facilitate US players. PartyPoker remains out of the US online gambling market. Online casinos begin to emerge and are becoming more and more popular. Whether or not an online gambling site accepts US players is the question of the year.

The fight to regain the right to play poker online is gaining ground.

2008 – Barney Frank continues his fight to overturn the UIGEA. The 32-32 vote is considered a no-result condition, as the bill needs one more vote to pass Frank’s bill. With the optimism of a new presidential administration ahead, the future seems bright for online poker advocates. Repeal of the UIGEA is actually used in political campaigns, most notably by Texas Republican Congressman and presidential candidate, Ron Paul.

2009 – Congressman Jared Polis states, “The nail in the UIGEA coffin is the fact that the law doesn’t prevent Americans spending over $100 billion every year on foreign gambling sites.” He suggests the estimated $42 billion in tax revenue that would be generated per decade from online gambling should be pumped into programs benefiting American Society.

What Will Online Poker’s Tween/Teen Years Be Like?

The answer to this question is obviously unclear. However, what is clear is that online poker isn’t going anywhere. The online poker rooms that exist today are so numerous and global that you can play anytime you want, day or night from your mobile phone, your home, your work, or where ever. New players can relax and learn at a speed that is comfortable to them without the stress of a live casino. Every day more and more US citizens become of age to gamble, and more and more players find a way to play poker and gamble online. The industry is so big that there has to be some sort of regulation in the future for the US. How long it will take is unknown. For now, though, US players who want to play poker online are doing so and having no problem doing it. The online poker business will continue to progress and mature, as it is not a baby anymore—it’s not new. The business is so big and has grown so much, so quickly, that it is virtually impossible to prohibit it or restrain its expansion. It’s almost unfathomable to even believe the US government could wrestle this dragon considering the administration’s track record so far…

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