The History of Poker—Online Poker



The internet is perhaps one of the most significant inventions of the 20th century. As technology progressed, all aspects of life started being affected, for good or bad. Online poker might be one of the minor consequences of the internet, but it became one of the significant online industries with revenues going over a billion dollars in 2005.

IRC Poker, a free online poker game that did not involve real stakes, was played as early as the 1990s. Over time, companies like Party Poker, PokerStars, and Full Tilt Poker would create online poker sites with much better features and the ability to play for real.

Chris Moneymaker’s WSOP victory in 2003 would catalyze the online poker boom in the USA. By 2006, the regulators noticed the growing industry, and the US Government passed the UIGEA, which prohibited financial entities from working with online poker sites. However, the actual attack would come in the form of Black Friday when the US Department of Justice would seize the websites and bank accounts of the biggest online poker sites in the country.

The attack from regulators had several consequences on the online poker market. First, publicly listed companies had to withdraw from the market in 2006 due to the newly passed law, while privately-owned companies would be stopped finally in 2011 when the US government would file a lawsuit against the sites and their founders for nefarious activities.

As the case progressed, it became evident that there was something fishy going on with Full Tilt Poker regarding player funds. Finally, the case was settled when PokerStars decided to buy Full Tilt Poker fully and agreed to pay back player deposited funds.

While most states in the country do not have any favorable legislature on online poker yet, some states like New Jersey now allow legal online poker to their citizens. Even though the online poker industry in the USA has had a bumpy ride; however, it’s still an extremely important part of the poker spectrum.