Innerpsy – The rise of poker to crypto poker
There’s no doubt about it poker has become one of the world’s most popular games. As a card game, poker has over 500 variations and the most famous variety is No Limit Holdem (NLHE).
There are many opinions about how poker may have originated. Some say that the first poker games originated in China around 900 AD when Emperor Mu-Tsung played ‘Domino cards’ with his wife during their New Year´s Eve celebrations. Others state poker started in France around the year 1480, while others say it was Germany where it all started. Yet it is extremely difficult to say exactly where poker originated.
What wasn’t difficult was the increase of popularity in poker. However, fast-forward to this century and it wasn’t until 1970 when the World Series of Poker (WSOP) was founded in Las Vegas. A World Championship for poker players!
POKER AND THE ONLINE WORLD!
Poker gained popularity through television shows and live TV broadcasting major tournament events, but amongst the younger generation, it fell short. This was mostly down to the fact that casinos and poker rooms were intimidating for new players. As a result, players would prefer depositing $1,000 into an online cryptocurrency poker room rather than a casino near their homes. Modern times have caused this to happen more and more.
Also, Casinos were reluctant to promote poker because it was difficult for them to profit from it. Although the rake or one-off burden of traditional casinos is often high, the alternative costs of running a poker room are even higher. As a result, casinos often make much more money by bringing additional slot machines at the expense of poker rooms.
This is a well-known fact!
By contrast, running an online poker website is dramatically cheaper because there are smaller overhead costs in comparison to a live poker room in a casino. For example, adding another table doesn’t take up space as it would in a casino.
Online poker rooms also allow players to play for as low as 1 ¢ / 2 ¢, and they even often offer poker freeroll tournaments (where there is no registration fee), depositing bonuses, Rake back, and rake races, as well as many other promotions on offer which are designed to attract recreational players into their system. In a live poker room, there are very few promotions to entice new players, so in a way, online poker offers more incentives for players. Potential customers aren’t priced out with buy-ins starting at $1 or $2.
Another amazing offer online poker rooms started to implement to entice the registration of new players was the launch the offer of a new type of tournament called “satellites”. These satellites allowed players to win tickets (and sometimes even complete packages) to much higher buy-in tournaments.
These tournaments quickly grew in popularity, especially with the World Series of Poker (WSOP) around the corner. Online poker rooms were offering tickets for the Main Event, and everyone wanted to watch it. Poker players and enthusiasts adore the WSOP as it’s the ultimate paradise for any poker player that is genuinely passionate about the game.
This year, the WSOP offered 89 events, which is staggering! However, the WSOP Main Event is by far the most famous poker event in the world! It´s a $10,000 buy-in tournament played under NLHE rules and it’s the most televised poker tournament in the world. Ratings reach new records every year, and not many tournaments can boast about that. It’s opened the door to what would later be known as the “BOOM” of online poker.
Thanks to those satellites tournaments, Chris Moneymaker, a young accountant from Tennessee won his entry for the 2003 World Series of Poker after entering a $86 online satellite that gave him an entry to another much bigger satellite that was giving away tickets to the WSOP Main Event. As a result of the entry, he won and was able to go to Las Vegas and participate in poker’s biggest event – the WSOP main event!
Surprisingly, the newcomer managed to win the main event and bagged $2,500,000 in cash! It was the biggest shock in the poker world, and started the “Moneymaker Effect” which marked the beginning of the poker BOOM!
It was thought that the following WSOP’s main event, managed almost three times the players as the previous year. It’s astonishing and truly amazing to see the popularity of poker increase so much within such a short period of time.
Surprisingly enough, there were four ‘amateurs’ at the final table of the following tournament and it’s amazing to see how far those players were able to progress. They followed the footsteps of Moneymaker, and it goes to show how unpredictable poker can be.
The 2004 winner of the Main Event, Greg Raymer, was a Lansing, Michigan native working as a Patent Attorney, and won $5,000,000 in cash! Like Moneymaker, Raymer also won his entry to WSOP Main Event thanks to a satellite tournament! It snowballed and it seemed as though nothing or no one could stop the force behind poker.
However casino profits started to decline every year while online poker (and online betting in general) was on the rise! By the end of 2010, the online gambling market was valued on $973.3 million and over 1.5 million active players every month in the US alone. Everything was great in the online betting industry and in particular, in the poker industry – until the fateful day of April 15 of 2011. That day was soon to be remembered forever as poker´s “Black Friday”!
The DOJ filed an indictment against the top 4 largest poker rooms, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet; under a law passed back in 2006 called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act or UIGEA. Basically stating that most forms of online gambling were illegal in the US, and therefore, all profits gained from gambling activities constitute “profit laundering”. However, these allegations were not only limited to poker rooms but also extended to payment processors. Payment processors were accused of receiving millionaire bribes and to “look the other way” to participate in these activities.
Shortly after, the FBI embargoed the domains of each company and the rooms ceased to operate within the American market. However, the least affected by this was PokerStars. Not only because it was the most solid financial room of all 4 but because most of their funds were NOT deposited in accounts in the US but abroad.
This allowed them to continue operating globally by moving their activities from a .com domain to a .ue one. On the other hand, and even though Full Tilt Poker also had its headquarters outside the US, most of its funds were in hands of US payment processors.
It was the same story for both UltimateBet and Absolute Poker, and therefore, they had no choice to but close down their entire operation. It created a “domino effect” that resulted in a significant reduction in live broadcasts of some of the most important poker events, such as the WSOP. Many poker games and shows were sponsored by the big four such as PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, and as a result, they went into decline.
Also as a result of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker ceasing operation on the US market, the WSOP 2011 edition brought a significant reduction of players across all events because a good portion of the players participated in the WSOP qualifying. The reason why was because a significant portion of players participating in the WSOP qualifying stages came from satellite tournaments. Surprisingly, poker still remained popular in this turmoil.
However, in the US, other forms of online betting remained “legal” such as horse bets and fantasy games, among others. Some say the real reasons behind this movement were down to politics.