No matter where you are in the world when people think of casino games one that always comes to mind at some point must be poker. From pop culture to global tournaments with loads of media attention – and huge cash prizes — poker is one of those casino games that continues to be popular over generations and hasn’t lost its glamour or draw over the years.
But how has poker translated to the online space? Where does the game come from and what’s driving the industry? And how do poker games online rival the game played in casinos? Read on to find out more about this formidable game, its current state, and it’s future.
A brief history of poker
The exact history of poker and how it came to become such a renowned game played by so many is unclear. Some historians suggest that poker may have originated from a card game played in the 16th Century known as As Nas — and taught to French settlers based in New Orleans by Persian sailors. Played like a modern five-card stud, there were some similar hand rankings that connect this game to the modern-day.
In Europe, the game was called ‘poque’ — evolved in French from the German term ‘pochen’ which means to knock. But while the game itself does have some European roots, it was in America where poker really took hold and became the game we know today. Gambling moved quickly from the frontier towns to riverboats; and while carrying a roulette wheel wasn’t practical, a pack of cards was easy. Which fuelled the popularity of the game across the country. The game began to expand to include different variations like draw poker, stud poker, and straight. These days, poker is still played in many parts of America but around the world too.
Poker in pop culture
Pop culture has been influenced by the game of poker — but it’s also inspired more people to learn how to play. One of the big films as of late that has gotten fans interested in the game is in the James Bond classic Casino Royale. Starring Daniel Craig, a critical moment during this 2006 film is when Bond plays a tense poker match against super villain Le Chiffre. Released during a poker boom, this film really feeds into the drama of poker play as well as the glamour of the world’s top-end casinos.
Another bit of pop culture that saw some poker action was in the television show, Seinfeld. While the show itself wasn’t about poker, it did get featured now and again, including the time when Jerry discussed poker tells with Elaine, explaining his ability to read people. As well as Kramer’s all-night poker game binge.
And who can forget Lady Gaga’s 2008 Poker Face — part of her debut album that sent her soaring up the charts around the world.
Online vs Land-based poker
More people than ever are choosing to play their favorite casino games online. Some statistics show that approximately 1.6 billion people around the world gamble, with a percentage of that online depending on the country and their laws around online gambling. In the UK for example, online gambling counts for almost a third of the country’s gross gambling yield. While in the US the number is significantly lower — although it is growing as more states are allowed to play games like mobile poker.
One of the biggest reasons why online poker has become so popular over the past few years is because of the number of people that own smartphones. A huge percentage of the world’s population are working, playing, socializing, and more through their phones. And with some incredible poker gaming experiences available for mobile phones and devices like tablets, it’s no wonder that so many people are choosing to play online. This is likely due to the convenience of being able to play your favorite game at any time in any location — you don’t need to get dressed up or travel to enjoy a game of poker. You can now do it while on your commute or from the comfort of your own home.
As technology gets better, so do the poker games available to play online. Some elements of the casino atmosphere can even be replicated, especially when it comes to playing live poker online. New technologies like augmented and virtual reality will feed into the exciting virtual poker experience, while video poker is already widely available and an improvement in graphics, audio, animations, and the best gaming CPUs has allowed more people to enjoy poker in this setting. Some younger, tech-savvy generations are getting into poker via mobile too, and may have never actually been to a land-based casino to play the game.
But many land-based casinos, especially in some of the world’s hotspots like Las Vegas and Macau, have remained attractive places to play poker. For those who want a full casino experience, especially in the glamourous likes of Casino Royale, playing poker online might not yet cut it. Land-based casinos also have other attractions that can enhance the poker experience. Fancy bars and restaurants, the thrilling atmosphere of beautifully designed venues with dealers, punters, tournaments, and all the excitement of the space are some of the reasons that people love playing poker — it makes for a fantastic night out.
These are just some of the reasons that the world’s top-end casinos continue to be popular and will continue to draw poker players from all over the world — even as the technology of online poker continues to improve. Both industries are likely to remain successful as more and more people get into this fantastic game.