The History of Online Poker

Poker itself has been played for well over two centuries but the online version of the game has changed the face of poker forever. Traditionally the game was regarded as the pastime of lowlifes and crooks, but the advent of online poker has leant credibility and integrity to the game for the very first time.

Online Poker timeline

  • 1998 – The first online poker room was established.
  • A year later Paradise Poker was launched and soon donned the mantle of industry leader.
  • The year 2000 proved to be an enormous learning curve for the industry. Professional poker player, Dutch Boyd, joined the throng and launched Poker Spot. It was the first online poker room to offer cash tournaments but problems soon ensued as Boyd was unable to collect monies deposited by the players from the credit card processing firm. This in effect meant that none of the cash deposited and played with was in the system, and consequently Poker Spot was unable to pay out the winnings. The result was liquidation. Fortunately the emergence of e-cash, where funds are transferred directly to the online poker industry without using credit cards or wire transfers, has alleviated the problem.
  • 2001 saw the emergence of the real big guns of online poker – Poker Stars and Party Poker. For the first time television ad campaigns, run during the WPT, were used by Party Poker to promote the online poker industry. The marketing campaign proved to be a remarkable success as Party Poker currently represents about 50% of the online poker market!
  • The defining moment in the history of online poker is considered by many to be the rags to riches story of rank amateur Chris Moneymaker. In 2003 he qualified for the biggest and richest land-based tournament in the world, the WSOP, via a small buy-in satellite, and went on to crush 839 other entrants to win the $2.5 million main event. Moneymaker’s success enhanced the integrity of online gambling and encouraged millions of amateur poker players to try their luck online.