How Technology Is Changing the Way We Play Poker
In the U.S., about 60 million people play poker, making it the most popular card game in the country. With offshore options like Bovada, BetOnline.ag, and Ignition Casino, and a growing legal industry, technology drives the game forward.
Gaming developers work to improve platforms by studying user experience. Players get access to websites and apps from the latest smartphones.
Internet speeds enhance gameplay, creating incentives with 24/7 cash games and daily tournaments.
Let’s look at how technology is changing how we play poker.
When Did Poker Become Popular?
In the early 1970s, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) created what became the most famous tournament in poker.
The WSOP started as a single-table Texas Hold ’em competition at the former Horseshoe Casino in downtown Las Vegas.
For the 1971 WSOP Main Event with six entrants, first place took home $30,000. By 1982, the top prize was $520,000 among 104 participants.
In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, the tournament highlighted some of today’s most well-known poker professionals. Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Phil Helmuth, and Scotty Nguyen each won Main Event bracelets.
What began as a single-table, winner-take-all poker game burgeoned into one of the world’s top poker tournament brands. Between 2000 and 2007, annual WSOP bracelet events doubled from 25 to over 50.
A 2003-2006 poker boom began with Chris Moneymaker’s historic WSOP Main Event win. Moneymaker became the first WSOP world champion who qualified for the tournament via an online poker site.
Technological Advancements for Poker in the 2000s
One of U.S. poker’s most significant technological advancements came in the 2000s. A “pocket cam” allowed viewers to see a player’s hole cards. Before, commentators had to guess what cards players might have during a live game.
That culminated in ESPN’s broadcast of the 2003 WSOP, borrowing a style developed by the World Poker Tour (WPT).
Moneymaker turned his $86 PokerStars satellite win into $2.5 million at the 2003 WSOP Main Event. The “Moneymaker Effect” boosted interest in live tournaments and online poker sites.
In 2006 and 2011, however, the U.S. government established legal precedents that drove poker companies offshore. That made those online poker sites more in demand with new and traditional players.
Operating today with millions of players per month, Bovada grew out of that crackdown. The online casino, sportsbook, and poker site gained licensing from Costa Rica. They retain a headquarters in Canada via a parent gaming company on Mohawk Territory.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 WSOP hosted various online tournaments. That trend continued in 2021 and 2022.
Legalizing sports betting and online casinos also created a new boom period for the gaming industry. A new generation of poker players gets to use the latest software, platform features, and streaming technologies.
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Online Poker Games
Poker used to be an entertaining hobby at land-based casinos. Today with online poker sites, players can access tables at any time. That brought new professionals into the poker sphere.
Players at online poker games may implement more aggressive strategies. Since players remain faceless, bluffing might happen more often online. There may be more preflop raises that lead to larger pots too.
Games get played faster online. With no chips to count or cards to shuffle, gambling companies get to earn more rake. It also means players get to engage in more hands.
Multi-tabling became popular among poker enthusiasts as well, increasing the total number of hands per hour.
In-Game Features at Poker Sites
Playing online poker today via desktop applications means multi-tasking. The multi-table concept allows players to sit at more than one table.
Bovada permits players to sit at up to four cash games simultaneously. Players may compete at up to 15 tables when playing in tournaments.
Users can also monitor tracking software for statistics on specific tables or individual players. Players may also watch recorded versions of themselves and others to learn from mistakes.
Hand history tracks each hand of every table once a player sits down. They can refer to previous wins and use a section for keeping notes on other players.
Safety Features and the Use of Cryptocurrencies
Aside from in-game features that help to refine strategies, it’s incumbent upon poker sites to provide safe gambling environments. These companies must act responsibly for their customers to keep them coming back.
Anti-fraud systems with encryption technology protect player privacy. They also prevent artificial intelligence bots from disrupting games and cheating players.
Another added security feature for online poker players comes from using cryptocurrencies. The traditional banking system might act as a roadblock when making deposits at gambling sites.
With crypto, players make international deposits and withdrawals in less time with lower fees. Most offshore sites accept popular crypto options like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and more.
Using crypto at poker sites means anonymity. Players don’t need to provide personal financial information or social security numbers. They can scan a QR code associated with their digital wallet and the casino they choose.
Ensuring security with easy deposits and withdrawals allows players to enjoy their online gaming experience.
What Is the Future of Technology in Poker?
The future of technology in poker may come from AI and virtual reality (VR). Online casinos already use AI chatbots as their first line of customer service. Players may one day use VR goggles to engage with opponents online, too.
For now, live streaming is one of the most popular technologies in online poker. Players use Twitch or YouTube to live stream cash games or tournaments. They also create online poker tutorials to help beginners.
Heads-up display software (HUD) is also standard with online poker players. Data analytics helps players predict future outcomes.
What’s your favorite technology in poker?