In this blog we will cover two major events that had some significantly negative effects on poker, and how the game has bounced back.
In October 2006 the United States passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). It didn’t specifically prohibit US players from playing online poker, but outlawed businesses from transferring funds to and from gambling sites.
Final regulations weren’t formulated and into effect until later. Some online sites pulled out of the US. Other sites such as PokerStars, Absolute Poker and Full Tilt Poker continued to allow players from the US to deposit and withdraw monies (and to play).
Looking at the upcoming chart of the Chris Moneymaker effect we can see a significant drop in players in 2006 at the WSOP Main event. It was another inflection point.
The next event to injure the poker world occurred on April 15th of 2011 (Black Friday). The US Department of Justice issued an indictment against the executives of Absolute Poker, Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars.
They were the three largest online poker sites in the United States. The event was devastating for tens of thousands of players who made their living online playing poker.
The Chris Moneymaker Effect and the UIGEA
But, you can’t keep good people down, or a good game down! People continued to play No-Limit Hold’em and the number of entrants at the WSOP main event didn’t change appreciably in 2012.
Poker has bounced back and is stronger than ever. The gambling gene is too deeply rooted in the American psyche to destroy such an incredible game such as Texas No-Limit Hold’em. Many other people around the world feel the same way.
In the next blog we will discuss how TV, Movies and YouTube Videos have influenced the number of poker players.
Charles W. Clayton
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The Chris Moneymaker story is common poker lore. Chris played in a satellite event on an online poker site and won a seat at the 2003 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. Moneymaker hadn’t played in a live Texas No-Limit Hold’em tournament before the main event.
Chris Moneymaker was an accountant by trade with a knack for the game and the numbers. He won the main event over a field of 839 players and took the first-place prize of $2.5 million. Word spread like wildfire about this huge underdog winning. It was a true to life Rocky type story.
After Moneymaker’s victory a huge number of players entered the game. They were searching for fame and fortune by playing the elusive and fickle game of poker.
The 839 players at the main event more than tripled to 2,576 players in 2004. The entrants ramped up to over 8,700 players by 2006.
The explosion in Texas No-Limit Hold’em interest after 2003 helped coin the phrase: The Chris Moneymaker Effect.
It was a major inflection point in the participants at the main event (a bellwether of player interest).
Note: An inflection point is when the direction of a curve changes dramatically.
Poker books, hole cams, RFID Technology, the internet & cell phones and the Chris Moneymaker Effect have all contributed to the explosion of interest in poker. However, in 2006 the winds of change started blowing through the poker landscape. These changes were significant.
In the next Blog we will Explore the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and Black Friday in poker.
In this blog we will cover how the poker landscape changed forever with the internet and smart phones.
Free online poker started in the late 1990s. Planet Poker was the first online cardroom with real money games.
Over time, access and ease of use websites increased. People came in droves to learn about this fascinating game and what the excitement was all about. Free access to virtual games and free trials brought in even more players.
Today, a huge number of players invest hundreds (sometimes thousands) of hours playing per year. Many play multiple tables at once.
Beyond gaming websites there are an amazing number of useful resources on the web such as:
In recent years smart phones are another major portal to poker websites, podcasts, blogs, magazines, training sites and social media. And, there are some incredible apps such as the WSOP App, the Poker Heat App and the PokerCruncher App.
The Poker Landscape
The internet has changed the poker landscape forever. All these portals mean that people can get huge amounts of poker experience and knowledge in a much shorter time than in the past. Even though it isn’t face to face, the learning curve has been slashed dramatically.
In the next Blog we will cover the fascinating story of the Chris Moneymaker effect and how massive number of players emerged because of this Rocky type story.
In this blog we will cover the first major books written on poker, the Hole Cams and RFID Technology and how these things helped change the poker landscape to become as popular as it is today.
One of the first major books on poker was Doyle Brunson’s Super System published in 1978. It had many different games including Texas No-Limit Hold’em. It gave away some of the secrets of the poker greats.
Other seminal works were David Sklansky’s book: The Theory of Poker which came out in 1987 and Mike Caro’s: Caro’s Book of Poker Tells in 1999.
Over time what started as a trickle turned into a waterfall of books as more and more pros exposed their secrets. The floodgates of how to play excellent poker is out in print and accessible to anyone with $20 in their pocket, a few hours of spare time, and a hunger to learn. But it didn’t stop there.
Henry Orenstein invented the hole cams that display player’s hole cards. It became popular in 1999. Watching people play poker before this was as exciting as watching paint dry.
Seeing someone’s hole cards coupled with engaging personalities and the romance of being in control of your own destiny made the game a great deal more fun to watch.
Armchair poker players came in by the droves. Many of them started playing themselves.
In recent years a new king of hole card technology called radio-frequency identification (RFID) is being used at some live poker productions. Instead of hole cams, RFID uses special playing cards with radio-frequency identification chips known as “tags.” RFID readers under certain spots on the poker table read the card tags. The readers send the information to tournament or TV production computers.
In the next blog we will cover how the poker landscape changed forever with the internet and smart phones. Stay tuned!
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