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jan
31

Online Poker's 20th Anniversary

Tags: poker history.
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 by "T".

January 1, 2018 is the 20th anniversary of online poker, ever since Planet Poker became the very first virtual card room to host real-money games. Planet Poker ran online poker games at approximately nine months before the film Rounders launched in movie theaters. If you have played at Planet Poker in the past, you will surely feel those nostalgic, and for sure you have been one of those who patiently played online poker via dial-up modems!

Planet Poker was the very first virtual card room to accept real-money deposits on January 1, 1998. Even though poker and other types of card games were available in various forms on the Internet, 1998 was the first year ever that Planet Poker provided real cash games to players. Before the start of 1998, Planet Poker offered only play-money tables. When they decided to transition to real cash on January 1, 1998, well, the rest is history.

What has happened within the past two decades:
- Poker has "boomed" and "busted", online websites have risen to stardom while some have failed
- Fortunes have been made, while some have been lost
- Multi-million-dollar cheating scandals have surfaced
- Outrageous prop bets became popular amongst pro players
- Government crackdowns, legalization efforts, and indictments

Let's take a look at US Poker and how poker has come to what we now know about it today.

How Online Poker Began
There's always someone who first started it, and in the topic of online poker, it was none other than Planet Poker. However, we should be aware of the fact that online poker has actually started many years before Planet Poker launched their version.

A group of hardcore poker players and enthusiasts were playing what was called IRC poker. IRC is the abbreviation for Internet Relay Chat, a chatroom created in the late 1980s. The IRC poker script was created by Greg Reynolds and Todd Mummert around the early 1990s.

Of course, IRC poker was definitely free to play and appeared like a written hand history. The way it worked was that players will receive 1,000 chips each day and instead of clicking buttons like we do now, they would type in their commands and action would then move to the next player. Obviously, IRC had several limitations. Players would have to first beat Limit Hold'em games if they wish to play No-Limit Hold'em, and IRC could not support multi-table tournaments, so as many as 23 players may possibly be playing the same hand!

For those who played through IRC, it sure was primitive, but oh well, at that point you just have to make do with what you have. The good thing that came out of this, is that it gave Mike Caro, Randy Blumer and some other early pioneers the inspiration to construct a real-money poker game online. The end result was: Planet Poker.

In today's standards, the software of Planet Poker is quite bad; however, compared to IRC, it was a significant step forward, even though it was glitchy and buggy. Planet Poker may have had the original idea, but it would be the second generation of online poker sites that would make online poker a successful product for the whole world.

Online Poker Second Generation
The rise of second-generation online poker sites that launched from 1999 to 2002 was amazing. Consider the fact that poker had not boomed yet at those times.

The first rival ever for Planet Poker was called Paradise Poker in 1999, which obviously surpassed Planet Poker as the number one poker site, but Paradise was just the beginning of a seriously long list of more poker sites, such as Pacific Poker, Inter Poker, Prima Poker, Ultimate Bet, and current giants like PartyPoker and PokerStars.

The very first site to feature multi-table tournaments was Poker Spot, created by Dutch Boyd, a three-time WSOP bracelet winner.

Poker Spot was also the first scandal-filled online poker site. Poker Spot encountered payment processing problems, and instead of informing customers, the site and Boyd thought they can endure everything. In the end, Poker Spot shut down, and unfortunately they owed players in the neighborhood a sum of $400,000. This story is told in detail in Poker Tilt, Boyd's biography book about his perspective of the poker boom and surviving the brutal world of poker.

Planet Poker simply could no longer sustain its business model, and so they ultimately ceased all online poker action on January 26, 2017. The site is still open, but only if you just need a refresher on poker rules.

Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA)
It was September 2006 when a piece of legislation was included to the Safe Ports Act that gave a lasting blow on online poker in the US and all over the world, the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

Simply put, UIGEA made it a crime for all financial institutions to process illegal online gambling transactions.

The legislation forced publicly-traded online gambling companies like PartyPoker to exit the US market. This move made PokerStars and upstart Full Tilt Poker a massive gain into the global market, and they both became the number one and two sites in the online poker industry.

The War of the Online Poker Sites
Around 2008, online poker is basically a heads-up battle between two sites.

Insider cheating scandals that surfaced at Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet has enabled PokerStars and Full Tilt to reach for the top spot of the online poker industry.

Both companies were competing for each and every player, and that meant offering incredible bonuses, rewards, and promotions for all new and regular players. PokerStars constantly won the battle every time.

However, the dark times will soon befall them, and unfortunately for Full Tilt Poker, it will be their demise when the US Department of Justice swooped down on them on 2011.

Black Friday
On April 15, 2011, UIGEA has made its presence clear again five years later, when the Department of Justice used it to seize the major US-based online poker sites and indict their owners.

Known as Black Friday in the poker community, this spelled the end of online poker in the US.

It was also the end of Full Tilt Poker, and the end of Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet.

Full Tilt Poker had been using up player deposits to cover their operational expenses, so when Black Friday turned up, there was the unavoidable run on the bank by European customers and Full Tilt ended up bleeding profusely, owing hundreds of millions of dollars to its customers.

On the other hand, PokerStars survived and not only did it made good on all player deposits, it also purchased Full Tilt Poker and settled it debts when PokerStars reached a settlement agreement with the US Department of Justice.

Modern Era of Online Poker
Online poker returned a few years later to the US when four states legalized online gaming: New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

Today, the online poker industry is significantly more mature, with player pools and signups being more stable. With the constant influx of fresh players, operators have shifted their business strategies from growth to maintenance.

Online poker in the modern era:
- With two decades of experience, operators ended the practice of "bonus whoring" through their optimized rewards and promotions
- New hybrid products such as Spin & Gos are created
- Today's online poker sites have been consolidated to a few reputable operators, all of which also offer sports betting and online casino to their games roster.
- More and more countries legalize online poker

Bright Future Ahead for Online Poker
Nobody can predict where online poker will be in the next years, but there are reasons why we can be optimistic about it:

- US expansion efforts continue
- International and interstate liquidity sharing agreements are beginning to take form
- There's this potential "poker war" brewing between partypoker and PokerStars.
- As of this 2018, people get caught up in the cryptocurrency craze as more and more poker sites embrace the blockchain technology (either investing in cryptos or using the tech to offer players to play virtual poker at their site).

Source:
https://www.legaluspokersites.com/news/9913-2/9913
https://www.highstakesdb.com/8398-online-poker-turns-20-years-old.aspx


 


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34 comments for "Online Poker''s 20th Anniversary "

 doubletop7771/31/2018 9:40:57 AM GMT
I really thought that Online poker had been around for more than 20 years because i can't remember a time that it wasn't there. Happy Birthday to online poker and may there be many more!!
 CALICUL1/31/2018 10:04:49 AM GMT
very interesting this article, tells who was the pioneer who launched real money poker. Another thing to remember is that UIGEA made it a crime for all financial institutions to process illegal online gambling transactions. To understand that almost online gambling is illegal or were at that time? now institutions can track this money much easier if they do their job well and large rooms have been legalized in many countries. I'm curious that there is Planet Poker or they have disappeared. I will now look to see their story.
 Mober1/31/2018 11:28:51 AM GMT
That was some interesting info.
I didnt know that online poker was up for that long, neither the first site,
that started the revolution Smile
lots of things have changed since then, with the scenery being clear the last couple of years.
 waoz1/31/2018 11:58:41 PM GMT
Happy Birthday to online poker
 Sandmanilo2/1/2018 7:05:17 AM GMT
During this 20 years online poker have gone through various times. Let's hope that the best times are still ahead! I've been introduced to online poker in 2010, and very happy that discovered such a great game.
 CALICUL2/1/2018 10:01:47 AM GMT
The most beautiful thing would be like these big poker rooms to make some freerolls with good prizes in honor of 20 years anniversary, to respect players by offering some exciting sums of money. Is a thing to be taken into account by pokerstars, 888 poker, party poker, full tilt or others but of course this will not happen.
 Mober2/1/2018 11:47:32 AM GMT
If it could all start again.
With all the sites we had available and all the freerolls.
You could win good money daily by playing all the freerolls.
At some point you couldnt keep a track on them, and play them all together Smile
 Calmplay2/1/2018 3:43:17 PM GMT
Online poker compared to 10 years ago is very tough now, the competition is hard. Happy Birthday to it the only sad thing is the Black Friday the day online poker changed.


 bowie19842/1/2018 4:04:55 PM GMT
It was always hard being a consistent player, but after every boom there were a truckload off new players who's ability to loose was greater than ours. Then they've gotten schooled and either became seasoned regulars or gave up playing online altogether.
 pochui2/2/2018 12:15:44 PM GMT
I fcukin remember planet poker, I played there for fun, and also sit and go freerolls, this was the place I started paying online poker then moved to absolute bet und ultimate bet again only freerolls, then party poker and then full tilt and pokerstars...
 bowie19842/2/2018 4:45:43 PM GMT
Posted by pochui:
...this was the place I started paying online poker then moved to absolute bet und ultimate bet again only freerolls, then party poker and then full tilt and pokerstars...

I started at Party, with only just playmoney. Back then I did not have the necessery funding during college to do it for real. Then came UltimaBet, PS, FullTilt, Unibet etc.
 dule-vu2/2/2018 8:11:12 PM GMT
well cant believe that already passed 20 years after dealing first online poker card!I had only 12 years,so cant tell that I knew something about it,but when I look at this moment it looks like we have online poker for lot more years!just can hope that this new generation wont change normal poker with this new stupid ways of online playing,like many sites have now!
 Sandmanilo2/3/2018 7:34:20 AM GMT
Posted by bowie1984:
Posted by pochui:
...this was the place I started paying online poker then moved to absolute bet und ultimate bet again only freerolls, then party poker and then full tilt and pokerstars...

I started at Party, with only just playmoney. Back then I did not have the necessery funding during college to do it for real. Then came UltimaBet, PS, FullTilt, Unibet etc.

I also remember AP/Ultimate Bet. This was a poker room in which I had managed to win my first tourney back in 2010. The prize was about $100, and I was very happy about that Big Smile Sad, that their history finished so badly
 CALICUL2/3/2018 10:06:22 AM GMT
the first time when i played online poker he was in the full tilt poker room. A friend came to me to help for create my account and after this i played in Romania Freeroll. It was before the black friday in 2008 or 2009 . Few countries each with her freeroll. Beautiful times which i would to see again with original full tilt software.
 T3ddyKGB2/3/2018 5:30:42 PM GMT
Posted by doubletop777:
I really thought that Online poker had been around for more than 20 years because i can't remember a time that it wasn't there. Happy Birthday to online poker and may there be many more!!


acutally im surprised its been around for so long, if you consider internet exisits since 20 years (or least it started to be a mass-medium). i started very late with online poker - 3 months before i signed with BRM - because i never trusted these poker providers and if you see the history.. i wasnt that wrong Big Smile untill BRM sponsored me a few Dollar to start off which im still thankful else i probably still wouldnt be playing online.
 bowie19842/4/2018 12:30:22 AM GMT
Posted by T3ddyKGB:
acutally im surprised its been around for so long, if you consider internet exisits since 20 years (or least it started to be a mass-medium)

Dunno about that mass medium thing, I fairly remember having internet in my elementary school around 95-96 and we were not even a fancy school at all. The popularity of it grew exponencially when more and more families could have afford having personal computers at home closer to the millenium.
 T3ddyKGB2/4/2018 11:38:05 PM GMT
Posted by bowie1984:
Posted by T3ddyKGB:
acutally im surprised its been around for so long, if you consider internet exisits since 20 years (or least it started to be a mass-medium)

Dunno about that mass medium thing,The popularity of it grew exponencially when more and more families could have afford having personal computers at home closer to the millenium.


thats what i meant with mass medium. started after win95 came out with its userfriendly interface (or win 98, around that time anayways) aproximatly 20y now. internet exist longer ofc but only a handful had it.
 bowie19842/5/2018 2:46:59 AM GMT
Posted by T3ddyKGB:
Posted by bowie1984:
Posted by T3ddyKGB:
acutally im surprised its been around for so long, if you consider internet exisits since 20 years (or least it started to be a mass-medium)

Dunno about that mass medium thing,The popularity of it grew exponencially when more and more families could have afford having personal computers at home closer to the millenium.


thats what i meant with mass medium. started after win95 came out with its userfriendly interface (or win 98, around that time anayways) aproximatly 20y now. internet exist longer ofc but only a handful had it.

Oh, sorry my bad - I did not get your sentiment right.
 Mysik862/5/2018 7:20:28 AM GMT
Happy Birthday to you...
Happy Birthday to you...
Happy Birthday Online Ppoker
Happy Birthday to youuuuuu... Big Smile


PS. Admin - why word "p o k e r" is banned?
 Mober2/5/2018 10:00:18 AM GMT
It is not banned. At least from BRM.
I bet you have an ad blocker on and blocks that also along with the adds.
And it is not only the word poker that it blocks, but at some point names of sites also Smile
Try with ti disabled.
 Mysik862/5/2018 12:57:27 PM GMT
^^
You're right. On BRM, those words are connected with adds, so there are blocked... It's pretty odd.
 pochui2/6/2018 9:41:52 PM GMT
now when I read a few posts from forum dudes and/or dudettes regarding whether it's been long time that online poker exists or vice versa... I kinda lean towards that it's only 20 years. it looks to me that it's been there for ages and a few years more, but hey it's only 20. happy to be able to see it all right from the start
 godoy2/7/2018 2:48:59 AM GMT
What to say about oline poker who would say that planet poker will open to post them giant market giants today billing billion and billions per year
live poker live the planet poker
 Tony_MON7ANA2/10/2018 1:36:16 AM GMT
Wow, online poker has been around for two decades? I didn't know that. The online game I frequently played in the late '90s on my Vaio desktop and ThinkPad was "Interactive Online Chess." I guess that was a Java based game. I would need to restart my computer once every two hours because of a resource deficit...
 dule-vu2/10/2018 11:56:16 AM GMT
when you remember how slow was internet in 90's and dial up system and everything,it couldnt be much earlier!I had only 12 years then,but arround my 18 everything was much different and better,especially about connection and sites for gambling!
 Mober2/11/2018 11:13:07 AM GMT
The poker world has shrunk the last few years due to the new laws and regulations.
But all the ones operating now, have the necessary licenses, so you can say,
there are no more troubles on the horizon.
It is all about competition now.
 CALICUL2/11/2018 1:37:00 PM GMT
this is true, but not for all poker rooms. There are many names in the online games industry which are not so strong and can not afford to pay the license. If in my country most of them gave up the license and were blocked this means they are not legalized in many countries where they are currently operating. Until and full tilt gave up the license in my country so neither did they want to activate here. There are only 3-4 rooms and it is frustrating. Not full tilt, party poker, all i poker network.
 dule-vu2/11/2018 2:01:54 PM GMT
who know what kind of poker will be in few years and how many countries will ban online poker sites,because they dont pay tax in that country!its sad that this happen,but we cant do nothing and we cant expect that poker rooms will open site for every specific country,especially small countries!
 Sandmanilo2/11/2018 5:35:49 PM GMT
Calicul, I see that there are lots of casinos, poker rooms and sportsbook sites, which have no romanian license. Why that happens, is it too expensive for them to buy a license? Or something else? It should be a disaster for romanian gamblers, not being able to play their favourite games.
 CALICUL2/12/2018 1:28:13 PM GMT
Yes because the license must be purchased with real money. After that there are the taxes for every year. Pokerstars is licensed until 2026, 888 poker and Unibet also have a license but the rest of poker rooms or casinos not. So there is a problem for the rest of the poker rooms, they do not want to buy the license. They can no longer function in Romania, not even illegal. Are permanently blocked if they do not have a license. Is not a disaster for the romanian players as long as they have stayed with these 3 rooms.
 godoy2/12/2018 5:51:04 PM GMT
that this has happened all this time poker has really grown and grown up with big corporations and big players thanks for starting all this poker thanks and wishes many years come very lucky
 Sandmanilo2/12/2018 6:04:29 PM GMT
Posted by CALICUL:
Yes because the license must be purchased with real money. After that there are the taxes for every year. Pokerstars is licensed until 2026, 888 poker and Unibet also have a license but the rest of poker rooms or casinos not. So there is a problem for the rest of the poker rooms, they do not want to buy the license. They can no longer function in Romania, not even illegal. Are permanently blocked if they do not have a license. Is not a disaster for the romanian players as long as they have stayed with these 3 rooms.

Thank you for the answer, Calicul. Now I understand the situation a bit more. We in Russia are also have lots of sites blocked, but we're able to connect to the gambling sites via proxy servers and VPN, and if poker room accepts players then we are able to register and play.
 Mober2/13/2018 12:12:11 PM GMT
And why you would wanna connect to a site using vpn or a proxy?
It is a waste of time if you ask me, and money probably.
Since there are laws any site that you are playing at, with VPN can refuse to pay you...
And they will be right about it.
 CALICUL2/13/2018 1:33:04 PM GMT
I do not want to connect with proxy servers or VPN because in the situation when i deposit money or withdraw transactions can be seen by taxiers and the national gambling office. In this situation my money will be confiscated, i will pay a fine, and me get criminal file. This is not good. If i leave the country i will be able to play in many rooms.

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