There are hundreds of games that can be played with a simple 52 deck of cards, from solitaire and blackjack to patience and teenpatti. However, one of the best known table card games globally to date has to be poker.
While it is a game that has been around for centuries, poker is now experiencing a huge uplift in the number of players, spectators and the amount of interest it receives in the media. Traditionally a casino table game, one of the biggest driving forces behind the rise of poker gaming has been the development of the internet and affordable, accessible internet-enabled devices.
Anyone can play poker but to be successful at the game, a player needs to develop their knowledge of poker hands, betting structures and create their own winning strategy. As the game’s popularity has grown, some of the most experienced players have launched professional careers in the poker circuit, competing at international tournaments.
Winners at some of the major tournaments like the World Series of Poker take home millions of dollars in prize money. At WSOP 2022, Norwegian poker pro Espen Jørstad won a grand prize of $10,000,000 dollars.
Live broadcasting of events such as the World Series of Poker have opened the game up to much larger audiences. WSOP has been shown in real-time on major sports channels like ESPN and CBS Sport Network in recent years, generating significant interest and enticing more players to the game.
The digital evolution of poker
Visiting a land based casino venue is no longer necessary for playing a game of poker, you can experience all the fun of the game at home or any location of your choosing by playing online. Online poker has exploded in popularity over the last decade; ten years ago there were approximately six million online players and this has since grown to around 100 million players globally today.
A whole range of factors have influenced the fast rise of online poker, including the wide adoption of smartphones. For example, in the United Kingdom smartphone usage has grown from 82 percent of the population in 2018 to an estimated 93 percent in 2023.
Furthermore, 5G access and 5G enabled device ownership is growing and so more people are able to play poker online on-to-go interrupted by unreliable connections and slow download speeds.
When poker first emerged on the world wide web in the 1990s, the game was in its most basic form and players would play against the computer. Today, the game is almost unrecognisable with vibrant graphics, impressive features and live interactive gameplay, offering an unparalleled immersive experience to modern audiences.
Technological advancements have redefined the game and innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) have introduced new elements to this traditional card game,
The role of AI in online poker
Artificial intelligence has many uses in the modern poker game. For instance, AI programs can be utilised to analyse a player’s gaming behaviour and help to create a strategy that improves their chances of success. AI can even be used to predict what the opponent is most likely to do next based on the available data and allow the player to adjust their next moves accordingly.
AI isn’t just helpful to the player, it is useful to the online poker game provider. Online casino can use AI technology to make their websites more user friendly and to bolster their security measures. AI algorithms can search for potentially fraudulent activity and flag any activity deemed suspicious for site operators to review and resolve.
VR in poker
Poker game developers are always looking for new ways to give poker players new, improved experiences. VR poker is an emerging interest in the online poker world and the early adopters are already testing out new VR games.
VR headsets have been around for a while and are already used in a range of console games. Virtual reality poker has a number of benefits, it merges the convenience of playing online with the experience and excitement of being in a casino venue.
The experience on the whole is mch more holistic compared to playing on your PC or mobile in the usual way. You can chat and socialise with those at the table like you would if you were there in-person.
Whether or not virtual reality poker takes off is yet to be seen. However, one thing for sure is that poker gaming is in its prime and the growth of the industry and new gaming experiences is guaranteed in the years ahead.