Although it may be hard to imagine reading this in 2023, back in the day, online casinos and poker rooms weren’t nearly as popular as they are now. Think the 90s, when the era of dial-up connections was in full swing and the internet as we know and love was still in its infancy.
At the time, visiting a brick & mortar casino to get some poker action was simply the preferred choice in most people’s eyes. Alternatively, inviting your friends over for a night of poker was an option as well, but that takes effort – real money casinos, on the other hand, deliver in an instant. You just show up and play and that’s it.
So what’s the state of online poker today and, most importantly, how has it evolved through time? Let’s take a look!
Online Casinos in the USA
The list of online casinos in the USA where you can play poker with a live dealer is impressive, as discussed in detail here, there are more online casinos in the USA than you have the time to go through. Since the country is progressively moving in a pro-gambling direction, the numbers are going up every year.
Another contributing factor is the general affordability of smart devices and the fact that connectivity is so readily available nowadays, allowing you to take your favorite games with you no matter where you’re headed.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, we’ll cover where it all started.
The Origins of the Game
Poker as a genre is believed to have originated in China in the 10th century where it was originally called As Nas. Although it wasn’t quite the same design-wise, it bears several similarities to today’s version of the game.
In the 16th century in France, there was a game called poque, a name with obvious similarities. The French colonists eventually brought it to America.
Over the course of time, certain rules have changed and other variations of the game have sprung up such as Seven Card Stud, Five Card Draw others like Omaha, a game that can be tricky to master. With that being said, Texas Hold’em remains the most popular one by far.
The Online Revolution
Although the early internet dates back to the 60s, it became publicly accessible to most households no earlier than the year of 1993. This was the time when it finally fell in the public domain. This turned out to be a fantastic opportunity for various businesses to put themselves on the digital map, including casinos.
Even the best online casino sites were pretty basic at the time by today’s standards, but they were the pioneers of the online gambling industry nevertheless. In 1998, Intercasino and The Gaming Club were the very first real money casinos that started operating in the online space. Since then, other online casinos have started entering the market, which made the overall landscape much more competitive, leading to expedited growth.
The year 2003 was another important milestone. Chris Moneymaker, a relatively unknown poker player at the time, not only qualified for the Word Series of Poker event but also went on to win the entire thing. Eventually, he became a known figure in the industry, representing numerous brands. Naturally, this inspired many others to follow in his footsteps, embarking on a journey of becoming poker pros themselves.
Mobiles Take Over
Do you still remember the year 2007 when the first iPhone saw the light of day? For the first time, people were introduced to the concept of controlling their phone with a touchscreen and it didn’t take them long to realize that a smartphone can do most things equally as well as a traditional keyboard and mouse combo.
Soon, a consumer-grade phone became more than just a tool for calling and messaging someone, evolving into an advanced IT gadget capable of browsing the internet and running native apps you can download from the best online casino sites.
The 2011 Shakeup
In 2011, the US Department of Justice came after some of the best online casino sites and poker rooms at the time for various offenses. For instance, they were being criticized for accepting players from regions where gambling wasn’t legal.
Some of the operators ended up paying a hefty fine, yet still surviving, while others were forced to close their digital doors for good.
The Modern Online Poker Scene Is Booming
Having learned from their past mistakes, modern online poker operators have managed to rise from the ashes and come back even stronger than before.
The industry is gradually evolving, adding new ways to play. An example of this is using live streaming technology in conjunction with AR/VR to make it seem as though you were physically present at the casino.
Perhaps the most noticeable change is the shift in perception; nowadays, online casinos are a socially accepted pastime activity that no one is going to look at you sideways for participating in, save for a few minorities.
Online poker is an evolving sphere. It’s hard to predict where we’re going to go from here, but it’s clear that the online poker room offerings have jumped leaps and bounds since the first online operators started popping up. Considering the advanced state of technology and the ease of its accessibility, we’re living in inspiring times indeed.
The post Reflecting on the Origins of Online Poker: A Look Back Through Time appeared first on iGaming.org.