Despite being in existence since the early 19th Century, poker was a niche pastime played by a select group of people for nearly two hundred years. Indeed, without the internet, it may have remained in the background as one of the less frequently played card games. The popularity that poker enjoys today is thanks to the online poker boom of the early 2000s.
The internet made the game accessible to everyone with a computer, and Texas Hold’em became the variant of choice. Even though some poker purists will say that live poker is the only way to enjoy the game, the booming industry that exists now wouldn’t be there without the online strain. Now technology is doing, even more, to shape the future of poker and change the way people play.
Increased Varieties of Poker Available
Before the internet boom, the most-played variants of poker were 5 card and 7 card stud. Perhaps the reason why this type of poker didn’t catch on was because it was harder for players to understand. Texas Hold’em became the most-played variant at online poker sites because the rules were simple, and also because it relied less on bluffing and trying to read opponents’ body language. Hold’em players have a lot more information available to them with the community cards in the center, which makes it possible to play against people you can’t see.
Stud poker could be about to make a comeback.
The simplicity of Hold’em and the fact that a lot of televised poker such as the World Series of Poker uses this strain of the game has helped it act as a gateway to other forms of poker. Players learn their trade by playing the popular variant, and then move on to other types of poker to enhance their overall skill set.
Online poker providers have realized that players want a diverse set of options now, and have made different forms of poker available. Stud poker is making a comeback, and Omaha is gaining a lot of followers. Then there are modern forms of the game which are geared to the younger mobile scene. These include poker games like SNAP, a fast-fold variant designed to decrease waiting times between hands. In addition to all the different types of poker on offer, players have the opportunity to choose between tournaments and cash games. There are even fast-paced tournaments now, which feature fewer players and force them to go all in after a specified amount of time.
Games are Transferable between Devices
There is little doubt that accessibility has been the key to online poker turning into a global sensation. Before the internet, if players wanted to find a game of poker they would have usually had to go to a casino. The problem with this is that a lot of places in the world don’t have easy access to a gambling house, so residents of those locations didn’t have a way to play.
Now, however, anyone can log on to the web from anywhere in the world and get dealt a hand within a matter of minutes. There are millions of people playing all the time, so finding a seat at a table is seamless. With technology advancing at a truly astonishing rate, accessing poker sites is now easier than ever. Indeed, the flourishing mobile market has led a lot of online poker operators to gear their products to the smaller screen.
SNAP poker is an example of a game which is purely designed for the mobile crowd, who only have time to play games in short bursts. Integration in technology and synergy between devices has also helped the ease of playing. Players can start a game on their computer and then switch to mobile if they need to go somewhere. This is helpful when playing a long tournament.
Diverse Choice of Opponents
In the old days of poker when players went down to a casino to play, there would usually be an eclectic mix of players. It would include some beginners, some professionals, and a few in the middle. This would make for odd games where it was hard to get a read on players, as everyone would be playing with a different strategy. The internet has made finding the right opponents much easier.
Beginners can go to an online poker site and match themselves against a similar level of opponent by selecting low stakes or free to play games. This can be a great way to get the hang of the game and learn about all the different hands. From there, players can gradually up the stakes and, in doing so, meet increasingly more skilled players as the price goes up.
Playing against expert players can often lead to more predictable games. This is where the mathematical side to the game plays a much stronger role, as players need to judge their odds of winning in any particular hand. Amateur players often play a wide range of cards in a loose style, hoping to get lucky. This makes it harder to guess what they could be holding. But experts will muck low value hands pre-flop and only play cards which have a good chance of hitting something. This makes it easier to assess their range.
When playing against experts it can sometimes be easier to put them on a hand range.
In addition to playing against beginners and experts, players can even choose to play live casino variants of the game against croupiers. For practice play, there are offshoots of the game in which players can play against a computer.
Technology and the internet has turned poker into a larger game than it had been before. There are numerous variants of the game and ways to play, and this has helped it become one of the most popular card games on the planet.