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
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
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
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, PartyPoker,
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 postponed them.
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: