The Evolution of Poker
Online gambling has never been so accessible. Mobile and online gaming allows millions of players from all over the world the opportunity to play poker, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and many others regardless of time or location. Poker is arguably the most successful and is really developing into something more than just a casino game.
Poker started out in colonial America and transformed into a traditional group card game with set rules that evolved over many years into variations such as Texas Hold'Em and Stud Poker. It made its way from saloons and gambling houses into casinos and became popular due to the nerve, mental ability and showmanship exhibited by the best players, as well as the exciting outcomes. The game has evolved into more than just a card game and is now treated almost like a sport, with regulated international competitions and even scientific study into the endless theories on the techniques and strategies associated with the game.
As poker became commonplace in the casinos of Europe and eventually Las Vegas and the Far East, the glamorous image of high-stakes poker has made its way into film, music and literature. Everyone from James Bond to the gambler in Kenny Roger's eponymous song have helped to ensure that Poker is seen as an exciting game enjoyed by the rich, famous and mysterious. With more people wanting to play, gambling organisations have seen an opportunity and have turned Poker into big business.
Poker's major international tournament, the World Series of Poker, is an event that sees some of the best players in the world competing to win substantial amounts of money. In 2016, Qui Nguyen of Vietnam took home just over $8million after winning the main event in Las Vegas. Some of the mote promising competitors are backed by investors, who will take a cut of the winnings in exchange for footing the buy in fee. The tournament is even televised and broadcast online by sports channels like ESPN. It's safe to say that poker is no longer a dusty old card game and is now closer to an NFL or NBA match.
There are many reasons why poker fits so well into the sports format. There is a lot at stake, so there is a very high level of competition and pressure, resulting in exciting situations and jaw-dropping results. It's possible for the underdog to come out on top and there are great characters who appear at tournaments across the world. Games are held in glamorous locations and celeb stars like Gabe Kaplan, Dan Bilzerian and Lisa Tilly, who have all picked up impressive winnings from major tournaments, contribute to popularity of the poker brand. These factors all add up to create a spectacle that makes for compelling viewing.
Poker crosses boundaries easily and is finding popularity in new territories. Tournament set up costs are low and promoters are actively looking for new markets. Poker has become especially popular in countries like India, where demand for new sports events is growing significantly. The World Series of Poker expanded its brand to Africa and Asia Pacific in 2010 and 2013 respectively and has been running a European event since 2007. Europe is something of a poker powerhouse and both online and real-poker tournaments are extremely popular. This international growth in popularity is easy to see with huge events like the 888Live Kings Festival in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. The event features Europe's biggest poker room and will draw competitors from across the globe.
Poker's rise in popularity is projected to increase. As gambling becomes more accessible in new territories, we can expect to see further big money tournaments and an increase in quality as the competition becomes hotter.