poker is the game of poker played over the Internet. It has been partly responsible
for a dramatic increase in the number of poker players worldwide. In 2005, revenues
from online poker were estimated at US$ 200 million per month.
venues, by contrast, are dramatically cheaper because they have much smaller overhead
costs. For example, adding another table does not take up valuable space like
it would for a brick and mortar casino. Online poker rooms also allow the players
to play for low stakes (as low as 2¢) and often offer poker freeroll tournaments
(where there is no entry fee), attracting beginners.
poker online was played as early as the late 1990s in the form of IRC poker. Planet
Poker was the first online cardroom to offer real money games. The first real
money poker game was dealt on January 1, 1998. Author Mike Caro became the "face"
of Planet Poker in October 1999.
major online poker sites offer varying features to entice new players. One common
feature is to offer tournaments called satellites by which the winners gain entry
to real-life poker tournaments. It was through one such tournament on PokerStars
that Chris Moneymaker won his entry to the 2003 World
Series of Poker. He went on to win the main event causing shock in the poker
world. The 2004 World Series featured three times as many players as in 2003.
At least four players in the WSOP final table won their entry through an online
cardroom. Like Moneymaker, 2004 winner Greg "Fossilman" Raymer also
won his entry at the PokerStars online cardroom.
October 2004, Sportingbet Plc, at the time the world's largest publicly traded
online gaming company (SBT.L), announced the acquisition of ParadisePoker.com,
one of the online poker industry's first and largest cardrooms. The $340 million
dollar acquisition marked the first time an online cardroom was owned by a public
company. Since then, several other cardroom parent companies have gone public.
June 2005, PartyGaming, the parent company of the then largest online cardroom,
went public on the London Stock Exchange, achieving an initial public offering
market value in excess of $8 billion dollars. At the time of the IPO, ninety-two
percent of Party
Gaming's income came from poker operations.
market appears to be currently in a consolidation phase. In early 2006, PartyGaming
moved to acquire EmpirePoker.com from Empire Online. Later in the year, bwin,
an Austrian based online gambling company, acquired PokerRoom.com. Other poker
rooms such as PokerStars
and Poker.com that were rumored to be exploring initial public offerings have
of March 2008, there are fewer than forty stand-alone cardrooms and poker networks
with detectable levels of traffic. There are more than 600 independent doorways
into the group of network sites. (Credit: Wikipedia).