Thanks to the digital age of ever accessible internet, the online gambling industry boomed in 2005, as did the popularity of Online Poker. It literally exploded, but bear in mind this was before the closure of the the American Market.
Land Based Poker Rooms and Clubs
In the past, live venues for playing poker, such as land based casinos and poker rooms, could be a little intimidating for beginner or novice players plus were often located in geographically challenged locations that sometimes were not accessible to the masses. Also, brick and mortar casinos are reluctant to promote poker because it is difficult to profit from them. In land cased casinos the rake is often high yet still was hard to make a decent profit from having poker rooms so a lot of land based casinos would often remove poker rooms and add more slot machines.
Online poker did away with all those problems. You could play from the comfort of your own living room, if you were new or a ‘fish’ then you didn’t have to face a live table and battle through until you learned better, you could do it all from the privacy of your own place. Plus usually the rake or buy ins (commission from each hand the house takes to cover costs and make profit from the game) was a lot lower to pay than you’d find at live casinos. The buy in’s online now meant you could choose to play really tiny buys-ins (Micro) or go head on with some serious poker professionals across the globe with some high stakes. The choice was yours, and all available from the lobby.
A Brief History of Online Poker
In October 2004, SportingBet, at the time the world's largest publicly traded online gaming company,announced that it was to acquire ParadisePoker.com, one of the online poker industry's first and largest online poker room at that time. It was a huge $340 million acquisition and marked for the first time that an online poker room was to be owned by a public company. Since then, several other card room parent companies have gone public too, such as 888poker.
In June 2005, PartyGaming, the parent company of the online poker site PartyPoker (which was the biggest online poker site at that time) went public on the London Stock Exchange, achieving an initial public offering market value in of $8 billion. At the time of the IPO, it’s estimated that ninety-two percent of Party Gaming's income came from its poker operations.
As of March 2008, there are were fewer than forty stand-alone online poker rooms and poker networks with detectable levels of traffic. There were however, more than 600 independent doorways or 'skins' into the group of network sites. It was the time of the ‘Skin Boom’.
As of January 2009, the majority of online poker traffic occurs on just a few major networks, among them PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and the iPoker Network (PlayTech).
As of February 2010, there were approximately 545 online poker websites. Within the 545 active sites, about two dozen are stand-alone sites (down from 40 in March 2008), while the remaining sites were called “skins” and operated on about 21 different shared networks, the largest network being iPoker at that time which has dozens of skins operating on its network.
Online Poker Today
Of all the online poker rooms PokerStars.com is deemed the world’s largest poker site by number of players on site at any one time May 2012 PokerStars.com had increased their market share to more than 56%. Since the fall of Full Tilt Poker in 2013, which was one of the biggest scandals in the history of online poker, Poker Stars made a move to acquire the fallen business in early 2014 and has now grown in ranks to be the biggest poker operation online today with an ever growing market share.