“Poker Night” (CC BY 2.0) by chrischappelear
Caption: Poker chips stacked high
Poker is one of the most popular card games in the world now, but it hasn’t always been the case. In fact, prior to the rise of online poker sites in the early 2000s, the world’s major poker event the World Series of Poker was only attracting players in their hundreds each year. Since 2004, though, the number of entrants has exceeded 2500 every time. In 2017, there were a whopping 7,221 participants, highlighting just how big the game has become. The online revolution has helped poker to flourish, and it looks set to grow even bigger in the years to come. One of the reasons for this success is the fact that online poker rooms can offer so much more than their real-world counterparts.
A game of poker has always been a social event, but some critics of online games believe that there is a lack of interaction between players. This is something that the best sites have tried to address, and now there is a heavy focus on increased player interaction. Most sites offer a chat function in the corner of the game allowing players to communicate with each other, congratulate one another on good hands, or try to antagonise others in an effort to throw them off.
Some poker sites also let players choose an avatar to appear at the table in the game. There are often selected words or phrases to choose from to get your character to say, and it adds to the feel that a group of players are sitting around a table together. It is true that there is less scope for social interaction between players in online poker rooms, but as technology advances, there should be more opportunities for communication.
Easy to Enter Tournaments
One of the main reasons for the immense success of online poker is the fact that it is so easy to get a game at any time. When playing in the real world, players are restricted to the opening times of a casino, or when their friends are available to get together for a house game. Online poker sites have made it possible for players to log on and be playing a hand within a few minutes. Players flock to sites from all over the world, meaning that there are people willing to throw some chips into the middle at any time of day.
At most modern online poker rooms, there is a wide range of games available from low stakes to high stakes, and cash games to tournaments. It has never been simpler to play poker, and the easy access has helped many people develop a love for the great game.
Online Personalities Live Streaming Their Games
One of the reasons why poker has continued to flourish is due to the fact that famous players are relatable to the public. There are also so many ways of watching the pros in action, such as through their YouTube channels. Doug Polk, for instance, is hugely popular thanks to his live streaming of events and commentary. By showing hands then pausing the video and talking about them, Polk passes on crucial information to budding poker players who want to improve their game. It’s entertaining, but there is also an opportunity to learn. Players have access to the shared wisdom of experts in terms of how to act in certain situations. He teaches about playing position, working out the odds, and deciding how much you should be betting.
Other poker experts can be seen online, and players can look to them to replicate their winning strategies. Online poker giants 888poker have over 10 million users, and one of the reasons for this is because they have a number of famous poker ambassadors promoting the brand. These are likeable people such as Jessica Dawley, who can be found in videos online offering up tips to new players. Poker fans can also watch these players in action in major tournaments, and get a feel for how they behave in different circumstances. The fact that a lot of poker pros are normal people who have excelled at events like the World Series of Poker makes people believe that they can also rise to the top.
Promise of Evolution in the Form of Augmented Reality
Augmented reality has the potential to allow poker to evolve further, and for online poker sites to offer another way of playing the game. AR allows the user to see computer-generated images superimposed on their normal surroundings. It was brought into the mainstream in 2016 by Niantic when they released the hugely successful Pokémon Go. Now, developers are scrambling to put the technology to good use in different areas. With the combined augmented and virtual reality market expected to boom to $143.3 billion in 2020, state of the art headsets like the Microsoft HoloLens could present the future of how the technology is used.
In this case, poker players may soon be able to sit around real-world tables together wearing AR headsets and using virtual cards and chips. This would be the perfect combination of online and real-world poker, and would lead players to adapt their skills in order to succeed. Using virtual cards would mean that the deck is always well shuffled, there is no chance of a misdeal, and cards cannot be marked or damaged. It would also make calculating pots easier, along with placing bets. Who knows, developers could even throw in some exciting graphics, such as fireworks when someone wins a hand. There is little doubt that poker and other popular casino games will see a heavy focus on AR in the near future.
Variety in the Types of Poker Available
There’s no disputing the fact that Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker variant on the planet, but some players enjoy mixing things up and playing the game in different ways. This is another area in which online poker rooms have been able to excel. They can offer a number of different poker games to attract players who like variation. The second most popular form of poker in the world right now is Pot Limit Omaha, which requires players to change their playing style in order to succeed.
In Omaha, players are dealt four hole cards instead of the two given in Hold’em. There are also five community cards placed in the centre of the table. Instead of just making the best hand out of five cards, players have to use two from their hand and three from the board. This format creates many different variables which skilled players need to take into consideration. It can be a refreshing change from Hold’em, and pros often switch between the two games to remain sharp. Along with traditional variants, there are original games at certain sites. These involve games that go straight to the flop, or games where winning hands start from a pair of sixes rather than a pair of twos.
After rising to prominence in such spectacular style around the turn of the century, poker has grown in popularity ever since. New technology and advanced ways of playing online are helping it flourish. The future for poker is extremely bright.