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How Online Poker Evolved Over the Years


Online poker has changed tremendously over the years. It experienced a boom in the early 2000s after Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker in 2003 despite qualifying through an online website.

Chris’ quick success alongside popular films such as Rounders created a thirst for online poker, resulting in the launch of more and more online poker sites. Today, the online poker market is quite different from what it used to be.

This article delves into the evolution of online poker over the past decade. Let’ find out the major industry changes.

The History

The industry seemed to be thriving with multiple options and sufficient room for more players in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. While online players could enjoy various poker variants across different online casinos, some problems were bubbling under the surface. Some sites had to offer free games until they had gotten enough subscribers before introducing the real money option. Other operators found themselves paying players to fill tables.

While most of these problems were facing the online casino owners, players were enjoying a plethora of options, and the safety of online casinos was great. However, at the turn of the past decade, the thing began to change, and cases of online casinos cheating players began to pop. This impacted the belief players had in online casinos.

Black Friday saw most popular sites close their doors, and in April of 2011, the Department of Justice closed major sites offering to pay online players in the U.S. This crippled the entire industry.

With the entire market having felt the blow, new changes began being implemented. The federal and state authorities moved in to regulate online games—regulations revolved around players’ safety.


There were just a few big players in the poker industry fifteen years ago, and smart devices were not as prevalent. However, a lot has changed since then with the advancements in digital tech.

The number of online casinos has increased. The number of players and poker variants has increased as well. Playing at Partypoker in 2021, for instance, is an entirely different experience from players in 2011 had.

According to Statista, iPhone sales increased from 39 million globally in 2021 to 231 million in 2015. With mobile technology rolling out in such high numbers, that meant more opportunities to attract more players by easing access for those who would want to play.

Although the sale of iPhones has dropped since 2015, it is not an indication of fading interest but a reflection of an evolving digital world. Subscriptions from fresher technologies are increasing day by day.

Skill Gap

The skill gap between online players has changed over the years. In 2010, an experienced player could find games where they were much better than the opponents and take advantage.

Well, all that has changed. One of the most successful poker players, Talal Shakerchi (Raidalot), who has won over $7.6 million in the online tournaments, claims that the playing field has been leveled for professionals and newcomers alike.

Today, most players are well educated on online poker, with all digesting the same resources. This means that there is a balance in the playing style. The range balancing is also way better, and players understand how to handle weak and middle hands post-flop.

Ten years ago, there weren’t many skill tips and video guides. Over the decade, players became savvier when beginning online poker. The use of HUDs and apps to help understand the opponent’s strategy has also evolved with the relevant technology’s aid. This has made it easy for amateur players to improve their odds.

 Social Aspects

Online poker has been developing at a fast rate in the social space. Before Black Friday, social media had just introduced the concept of how communities across the world are linked online. This means that online poker was two years behind other online communities by the time it was back to its feet.

However, this gambling space has socially developed at a rapid rate over the decade, with sites now appreciating the need to offer more than just a handful of poker games. Players want to feel more connected to others besides those they meet around tables.

 According to a recent Yahoo article on the rise of online poker to prominence, the game’s social revolution involves blurring lines between land-based poker and online poker. Online casinos are putting the power back into the players’ hands by allowing them to set up leveled games with family members and friends under their parameters.

 The success of players like Chris Moneymaker is still driving new players into joining the race, and this has inspired online poker sites to offer tournaments aligned with the needs of these new players. New players can practice and sharpen their skills online poker by playing free games with a touch of reality. This is a huge magnet drawing more and more players into the market.


When the authorities began regulating the online poker market in 2010, problems such as fraud ceased. Online poker players in 2021 feel more secure knowing that the games are not weighted in favor of an operator that uses underhand tactics.

With more players joining the online poker space, the chances of facing paid players are far less. Players are more protected while playing online because the problems associated with players sitting close to each other in real life poker are mitigated. We can confidently say that online poker is safer today than it used to be ten years ago.

There are heavy regulations on how online casinos collect your deposits and how you make withdrawals. Players are now more protected with no incidences of people winning big but not receiving their cash.


 Online poker has evolved and addressed major issues facing players since Black Friday. With stringent regulations in place, online poker is thriving again, and it has even become the preferred way of playing poker. Sites are now offering a wide range of poker games and options.

One can easily set up an online poker game among friends or even host one at home. With modern technology, players have unlimited access to resources needed to succeed in the online poker market. The playing environment has become safer, improving the online poker experience.

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