Online Poker History

Online Poker has transformed the way traditional poker enthusiasts enjoy the game in recent history. While poker has been enjoyed for over 200 years, the escalating use the internet and mainstream TV coverage has turned online poker into a world-wide phenomenon.


The Beginning - First Online Poker Room

Pokerstars History Chris MoneyMaker

It was not until 1998 that the first online poker room was established. "Planet Poker" made history by enjoying the status as the sole destination for virtual poker play for a short while. Realizing the inevitable success of this new technology, many other rooms crashed the party. Better promotions and game play features have evolved in the industry as rooms have competed to attract loyal players.

The Moneymaker Effect
The popularity of online poker today is largely attributed to the good fortune and unique name of one player...Chris Moneymaker.

In 2003, Chris Moneymaker (Yes...his Real Name) began his mark on poker history by entering a $39 satellite on PokerStars and preceding to win. This good fortune earned Chris a seat in a larger satellite, one that had a WSOP Main Event package up for grabs. Chris won that tournament as well; and was soon off to Las Vegas to play in what was to be his first live tournament. Against all odds, Chris made it to the final table and went on to claim the gold bracelet, winning prize money of 2.5 million dollars at the Main Event.

Chris Moneymaker's good fortune sparked a tidal wave of interest in poker, a phenomenon that’s been dubbed the "Moneymaker Effect". Chris Moneymaker holds a special place in history as the man responsible for the initial "online poker boom". After his World Championship score, millions of people flocked to online poker sites and started improving their texas holdem skills.

Mainstream Exposure for Online Poker

With the growing success of online poker, the success of large tournaments such as the WSOP began to rapidly increase. The boom in poker popularity facilitated a market for more and more mainstream TV coverage. WSOP coverage via ESPN, and late night shows such as "Poker After Dark" brought poker to the masses, bringing online poker advertisements along with them.

Poker Is A Sport?

Poker began to receive so much mainstream exposure and coverage from sports focused networks, that the ridiculous notion has been presented that poker is actually a sport. The argument largely uses logic that big tournaments are peer-to-peer competition which are both physically and mentally challenging.

America Fights Off-Shore Online Poker Rooms

In October of 2006, President Push signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act into law. Operating an online poker room within the borders of the United States is illegal, and therefore, members of congress decided that players shouldn't be playing online poker via off-shore sites as well. This law made it difficult for players to deposit money into online casinos and poker rooms by illegalizing USA funding to off-shore gambling providers. This Bill also had a large effect on Canadian Players As Well

As a result, many poker rooms closed services to the USA and Canadian markets, while many others continued to welcome USA and Canadian players. It was during this time, that Pokerstars became the largest online poker room in the world over the former champ (PartyPoker.com - Licensed and Publicly Traded In The UK). Many rooms such as Pokerstars and Bodog.com have stood against this act by working with a wide variety of banking methods for American players.

  • Quick Fact: The USA market currently makes up about 60% of the world's online poker player base
The Passing of the UIGEA has facilitated massive amounts of confusion and mainstream propaganda about whether or not a person is committing a crime at a federal level as an online poker player who lives in the United States. All the while millions of players continue to play and ironically be bombarded with tv commercials from off-shore poker rooms while they're watching American networks such as ESPN.

Full Tilt Revolutionizes Online Poker With Diverse Offerings

Probably the most diverse and revolutionary online poker room up-to-date has been Full Tilt. FTP has made history in many aspects which include a rise to the spot of the 2cnd most trafficked destination for online poker, the signing of the largest team of well known poker legends to publicly represent Fulltilt, implementation of free interactive online poker training through the Full Tilt Academy, and the invention of their very own poker game-format known as "Rush Poker".

Online Poker Today

Online Poker has been steadily growing since the player dip during the initial passing of the UIGEA law. Many Americans are enjoying poker online right at privately owned off-shore poker sites.

The future of online poker in America is all speculation at this point in time. Some States have recently constructed specific legislation against online poker, while other US states are trying to figure out how to completely legalize, regulate, and benefit from the revenue these states are currently losing to off-shore venues.


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