The Rapid History of Online Poker

History of Online Poker

Poker, the card-game that requires one to bluff, has been around for more than 200 years. Whereas the history of online poker begins in the late 1990s, around the dawn of the internet, back when dial-up ruled the scene, and it sounded like a Decepticon was attacking your computer every time you accessed the internet.

The Beginning

Although the exact date of the first online poker game played is a mystery, many believe it happened circa 1994. The earliest versions of online poker were text-based games on IRC (Internet Relay Chat), a technology developed in the late 1980s for setting up chat rooms.

The first online poker games utilizing graphics, non-text, didn’t come around until about 1997. The technology boom of the ’90s paved the way for online poker to take off and enter the households of millions of new subscribers.

The 2000s

With the turn of the new century came a surge of interest and investment in online poker sites. The increased interest in online poker had been attributed to the increased number of players attending the 2004 World Series, which featured three times as many players as were in attendance in the 2003 World Series.

The early 2000s ushered in a new era for the card game, online tables began filling up, and players could find a game anytime. 

Brief Timeline

  • ~1994 – First text-based online poker game is played
  • 1998 – First modern equivalent online poker game enters the scene
  • 2003 – Satellite tournaments offered for the first time
  • 2008 – Less than 40 stand-alone poker networks and card-rooms
  • 2010 – ~ 545 websites still host online poker

Online Poker Today

As with everything else, the pandemic caused by COVID-19 has affected the game, but in this case, it was a beneficial way. A newfound surge of online poker players has taken up the game around the world. 

The social distancing guidelines introduced due to the pandemic forced many professionals and enthusiasts to turn to online poker to continue to play and hone their skills. While it’s unsure if these trends will continue, it’s been confirmed that a new interest in the game has been created.

IRC Poker Today

Even though the technology has been around since the late 1980s, Internet Relay Chat poker games are still around.

Here are a few of the available game options:

  • Five stud high, low, or high/low
  • Seven stud high, low, or high/low
  • Five-card draw high, low, or high/low
  • Hold-em high, high/low

A reminder of how much technology has progressed, it’s always interesting to view firsthand a precursor to modern online gaming and what would eventually become known as e-sports.

So, whether you’re just a simple poker aficionado or you’re a dedicated player. Online poker has been around for more than 25 years. First, it was a text-based endeavor that you played in an obscure 1990 chat room; now, it’s a worldwide pass time with millions of players from dozens of countries. The history of online poker, like that of anything else.

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