The Rise of Professional Poker: How the Game Has Changed

From a gambling game frequented by criminals and outlaws to a pastime only played by wealthy retirees to a thriving competitive sport, poker has changed quite a lot. It’s certainly evolved over the two centuries it’s been around, and players have had to adapt to the changes. Today, poker is more than just a game โ€“ it’s a livelihood. Professional poker players can make a living by playing in tournaments or online games. The top players can earn millions of dollars each year. So how did poker become such a popular profession? And what changes have been made to the game for it to become a legitimate career? Read on to find out!

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The invention of hole card cameras

Poker has been around for many years. Still, it wasn’t until the late 20th century that it began to gain widespread popularity. A big reason for this was the invention of hole card cameras, which allowed spectators to view the players’ holes without the cards being visible to other players. Becoming popular in 1999 thanks to their use in Late Night Poker on British Channel 4, they were eventually adopted by the World Series of Poker and the World Poker tour, the two most extensive poker tournament series.

They revolutionized competitive poker by turning it into an exciting spectator sport. Before poker was boring to watch as the viewers did not know what cards the pros had, so they had to wait for the showdown to understand the pros’ decisions. With hole card cameras, the viewers can see every player’s hole cards live during every round. That makes the game entertaining since you can see how the pros interact without knowing each others’ cards. It also helps viewers imagine themselves in the pros’ positions, further increasing the immersion when watching. Hole card cameras significantly increased competitive poker’s viewership and were a large part of the legendary poker boom from 2003 – 2006.

The creation of the WSOP: Poker’s biggest tournament

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the world’s longest-running and most prestigious poker tournament. Held annually in Las Vegas and broadcast worldwide, the WSOP attracts the best poker players from all over the globe. The tournament features a wide range of events, with buy-ins ranging from $500 to $100,000. The main event is the No-Limit Texas Hold’em Championship, a massive poker tournament with a prize pool worth millions of dollars. To win the WSOP main event, players must first make it through a field of thousands of entrants. The final table usually features some of poker’s biggest names and most experienced players. For many poker pros, winning the WSOP is the pinnacle of their careers. The WSOP is undoubtedly the most well-known symbol of competitive poker and is hugely responsible for the state of the poker scene today.

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The advent of online poker

Poker has been around for centuries, but it wasn’t until the advent of online poker that the game became what it is today. Online poker was revolutionary and was another factor responsible for the poker boom in 2003 – 2006. Suddenly, you no longer needed to go to a physical casino and schedule a game. With online poker, you only need an internet connection, and now you can play from anywhere at any time. This convenience made poker more accessible and famous than ever before, and more people playing online poker leads to more people becoming interested in other aspects of poker, like the competitive scene.

Online poker has cemented itself as the most popular way to play. It has over 100 million players worldwide, many of whom use online poker to make consistent earnings. Besides the overall ease of access, online poker allows you to play many games simultaneously, known as multi-tabling. Multi-tabling is fantastic for experienced players, as it allows you to increase your profits exponentially by winning more games in less time. Finally, many people prefer online poker because of poker tracking software. These programs analyze your games and give you suggestions on how to improve. They also do the same for your opponents, giving you valuable statistics you can use to analyze their play style.

The story of Chris Moneymaker

With all these groundbreaking developments, like the creation of online poker and the WSOP on the list, it can be hard to imagine that a single player has impacted competitive poker and the scene as a whole. That player was Chris Moneymaker, the most influential modern-day poker player who significantly contributed to the 2003 poker boom. How did he do it? Well, he won the 2003 WSOP main event. While that is already an incredible feat, several things about him elevated that win to the extreme.

His journey began with a $39 online satellite tournament win. Satellites are qualifier tournaments, and this one sent him to another $600 satellite. Winning that, he made his way to the World Series of Poker. Turning $39 into a WSOP main event win is ridiculous, but the biggest reason his win was so extraordinary was his lack of experience. He was an amateur, and the WSOP was his first live poker tournament. That 2003 WSOP proved to the whole world that no matter who you are, you can win if you’ve got the talent and dedication. The surge in poker’s popularity afterward became known as the Moneymaker effect, and the number of entries to the WSOP main event increased tenfold from 2003 to 2006.

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Where to play online poker

Poker has come a long way since its early days. Today, it is a true sport with complex strategies and high-level competition. If you want to up your poker game, sign up for an account at GGPoker today. It offers some of the best online poker tournaments and even free poker tracking software to analyze your gameplay!