Despite popular belief, poker is not as old of a game as some people think. Some historians claim that it derives roots from 10th-century Chinese domino games. Yet, its current-form inception began somewhere in mid-18th-century Louisiana, attaining a decent degree of popularity during the US Civil War. It was not until the 1970s that it began going mainstream, hitting its first boom period in the mid-2000s.
Back between 2003 to 2006, poker was all the rage. Its emergence as a global pastime stemmed from the movie Rounders and amateur player Chris Moneymaker winning the 2003 WSOP Main Event. In 2011, the US government cracked down on online poker brands, freezing their domains and player accounts. It took a while before this industry recovered. However, it could not come near to achieving its previously attained heights. That is until now. The ongoing global pandemic and its accompanying stay-at-home measures have caused casual gaming enthusiasts to rediscover US and UK poker sites.
Why & How Much Did Poker Explode in 2020?
As mentioned, there is no doubt that online poker’s surged in popularity in 2020 due to government-issued lockdowns. Amidst everything shutting down, people were left to seek entertainment options from home. Thus, many turned to digital social games. Online poker’s resurgence was a byproduct of this trend.
Flutter Entertainment recently reported that PokerStars, their premium card brand saw an increase in revenues of 23% in 2020. The platform’s average monthly player numbers grew by 26%, with an average hovering around a million and a half active players. New Jersey’s online poker operators reported month-on-month records throughout 2020, a trend that continued in 2021. In January of this year, the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement announced that they passed the $3 million poker revenue mark in a single month.
Naturally, convenience is also a massive factor in why people choose to play on online platforms. Other enticing reasons include generous Rakeback, sign-up promos, and a unique loyalty scheme.
Interest in Social Poker Is Rising as Well
What is social poker? It is playing the game for fun, with no real money on the line. Such mobile poker software has been available on Google Play and the Apple store since both platforms opened. Perhaps, iPhone users remember the legendary Texas Hold ‘Em app, which got launched alongside the App Store in 2008? It was a smash-hit and recently received a makeover on account of the tenth anniversary of the App Store. However, since 2008, dozens of such mobile games have overflown the internet. Zynga Poker dominates this market, and recent events have caused new contenders such as Poker Face to appear. These are mobile games that provide video and audio feeds during gameplay, so players can trash talk while they play.
The famous chat app Discord is trying to cater to the growing pool of poker enthusiasts by incorporating a poker feature into their software. Much like Poker Face, it too allows webcam and microphone integration. Discord Poker Night attempts to give the app's users a social game that combines voice/video chatting with online poker action.