Online Poker is a form of gambling that allows players to wager real money with the convenience of their own computers or mobile devices. This burgeoning industry has created a robust ecosystem of software developers, providers of age and identity verification, financial services, anti-money laundering solutions, cyber security, responsible gambling advocacy and more. The industry is also highly regulated on a state-by-state basis.
The first online poker site was launched in 2001 (Weston 2022). Its popularity rose dramatically when amateur player Chris Moneymaker parlayed a $86 buy-in at PokerStars into a $10,000 entry to the 2003 televised World Series of Poker Main Event where he beat several well-known professional players to win a $2.5 million prize.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic most live casinos and other venues have closed, a significant number of recreational players who normally prefer live games have shifted to online poker. This has boosted online poker traffic and is expected to continue well beyond the end of the pandemic.
Although many states have legalized the game of poker, it is still illegal in some countries. The reason is that the laws are not clear on whether the game of poker is considered a form of gambling or not. However, there is hope that the laws will be clarified in the future.
Research on poker expertise has been largely qualitative (Bjerg 2011; Jouhki 2011; Radburn and Horsley 2012) and quantitative (Weinstock et al. 2013; McCormack and Griffiths 2014). A growing body of literature is now exploring how concepts from the disordered gambling literature might map onto a group of elite online professional poker players.
Another aspect of the online poker ecology that is attracting interest from researchers is how the game is changing with the development of new software applications. These applications are allowing for a greater variety of betting structures and can be used to create innovative strategies. It is important to be familiar with the different betting structures when you play poker.
The online poker ecosystem is made up of a large number of niches where expert players can thrive. Some of these niches are small and specialized, while others are much larger and more competitive. The online poker environment is also constantly changing due to the availability of new software and hardware.
Some of these changes are driven by the need to keep players engaged and competitive. For example, new software enables players to interact with the game in a more social way than was previously possible. This can result in players having to develop new skills in order to stay competitive. Other factors that drive the growth of online poker include a greater diversity of game types, increased competition and higher stakes. This has resulted in more opportunities for experts to make large sums of money. This is especially true if they are able to play multiple tables at once.