From Card Tables to Computers: The Evolution of Poker

From Card Tables to Computers: The Evolution of Poker

The number of poker players is larger than you think. In 2019, around 40 million people, or 6.8% of the net adult population, played poker on a regular basis. This base of enthusiasts started growing after the implementation of social distance restrictions. Online poker in the US and UK boomed, and the Super Circuit Series even had to increase its prize money from $1.24m to $4m after a higher-than-expected turnout of players.

Does this sound surprising? Industry experts who have followed its evolution may claim otherwise. Keep reading to know why.

Casual pastime to global industry

Many would trace the formal beginnings of poker to the first casino in the world. This is the Casino De Venezia in Venice which was opened in 1638 by rich merchants. However, the casino was able to materialize because of a pre-existing culture of gaming. The earliest concrete evidence of betting as a pastime is from 2300 BC.

Many scholars thus posit that gaming has been an intrinsic concept of human nature. Society has merely progressed to allow people to organize and form communities out of mutual interests. This gave birth to the Casino De Venezia, which was succeeded by hundreds of casinos before world poker tournaments in 70’s Las Vegas glamorously promoted the sport.

Developments in poker legislation

Poker becoming an industry led to a higher need for regulations that promote fair and equal play. That is why the Casino De Venezia, originally known as The Ridotto di San Moise, was immediately taken over by the Venetian government to provide a controlled gaming environment.

Today, illegal gaming activities are still rampant and legislators are struggling to keep up. Current poker legalization in the United States for live gaming spans more than half of the states, meaning that live poker is allowed and regulated in card rooms, casinos, or on indigenous lands. However, October 2022 saw the US government cracking down a $300 billion illegal gaming market in over 20 states.

Regulating live poker is only half the problem. Part of the illegal gaming market consists of illegal websites, and as of 2022, only seven states in the US have specifically legalized state-licensed internet poker.

Advancements in tech

As the technology evolved, enthusiasts found means to create a platform for poker online. This development would be a pivotal moment for many players who were limited by physical logistics. The years 2003 to 2006 are associated with the “Poker Boom” due to the doubling number of online players each year.

Online poker is more difficult to regulate because of the expansiveness of underground websites and organizations. Gaming on handheld devices has also rapidly risen to allow gaming while on the go — which is tricky for locations with varying legislations per state or city. The legislation thus tends to limit its focus to anti-money laundering and other financial crime regulation norms.

This persistence for illegal platforms threatens the stability of the poker industry entirely. Enthusiasts remain optimistic, however. Latest tech innovations, like the Metaverse, allow players around the world to enjoy the sport without being held back by any form of legal tender as the usage of cryptocurrency means an immutable confirmation of ownership. Macau citizens are already advised to keep up with the metaverse development trends as Monaco has.

Poker fans can look forward to the future development of the poker industry as new ways to safely enjoy the game are explored. To stay updated, check back on where we also share tips about business, tech, and everyday life.