A Brief History Of Online Poker
Even though the game of poker goes back as fas as 200 years, the online version of the game has boomed the last 13 years and has changed incredibly the face of poker. The first time that an online poker site was launched was on January 1, 1998, with the Planet Poker. In fact, this site still exists today, thought it quit taking real money for bets in March 2007.
It was until 1998 that the first poker room was established. Until then, Planet Poker enjoyed the status as the only online firm for poker just for a short period of time. It was overtaken by other poker online rooms. Meanwhile other online poker rooms emerged. By the end of 1998, the online gambling firms have generate about $834 million in revenues, despite problems like connectivity issues, primitive network technology and slow servers. For example, Paradise Poker was established for the first time in 1999 and soon became one of the leaders on online poker games. During this period, the infamous case of Poker Spot occurred, which was launched for the first time in May 2000, by a successful poker player by the name Dutch Boyd. In a few months, it became the first poker room which offered online tournaments. But the site had some problems and couldn’t pay its players their winnings, so it had to go under. So, the online poker winners couldn’t be paid and the online poker firm was out of business by November 2001. The emergence of e-wallets, such as NETeller, eradicated the problem, that made Poker Spot to shut down.
The online poker industry is growing
The same year (2001), along with Paradise Poker, two other online poker sites enter the industry; the Party Poker and the PokerStars. This way the online poker steadily began to gain popularity. Until 2003, the Paradise Poker remained the dominant poker online business, whereas Party Poker launched its first advertising TV commercial during the World Poker Tour. This was a very successful marketing plan, that immediately spread out the poker network. It was in one of the tournaments that Chris Moneymaker won his entry to the World Series of Poker and it was actually one of the most influential advertising for online poker. You need to know also that by that time online poker rooms allowed the players to play for low stakes and ofter offered a number of freeroll tournaments, so they also attracted more beginners.
By 2005 online poker has exploded and even more people began to entertain themselves on the virtual tables of poker and the industry really ‘flourished’. In fact, the poker industry’s revenues were more than tripled by than time. In addition, new poker businesses emerged, such as Noble Poker and Full Tilt Poker. By the end of 2004, Paradise poker was bought by Sportingbet and at that time other poker businesses became publicly traded firms, like Party Poker, Pacific Poker and others.
Today there are around 550 online poker websites. Around two dozen of them are stand alone sites, while the remaining ones are called ‘skins’ and operate on 21 different networks. The largest one is considered to be iPker, which has dozens of skins that operate on its network. The largest poker site by number of players is PokerStars.com. In fact, this site by May 2012 had increased its market share to more than 56%. By 2013 888poker is the 4th largest online poker network of the whole world, after overtaking Party Poker.