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How Poker became the most popular casino game.
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Poker is by far the most popular casino table game out there, with millions of fans worldwide. Even though there is a wide variety of games available, poker remains to this day the most sophisticated and strategy-based one, with players spending hours trying to refine their skills. But why?
In the last decade, the poker trend has gone through the roof, with over 100 million players worldwide ( according to World Poker Tour). As technology evolved, so did the poker industry, which is now worth over $56 billion in the online market.
Nowadays, there already are many online casino operators on the market, which makes the task of finding a trust-worthy platform really difficult.
Below, we will go through the main factors that determined the rise in popularity of the poker game:
The Moneymaker Effect
The demand for online poker has been going up largely thanks to something called “The Moneymaker effect”. Back in 2003, when the world of online poker was still in its early stages, Chris Moneymaker became the first person to win the World Series of Poker after qualifying online, bringing him a $2,500,000 prize.
Apparently, the former accountant won a $39 buy-in tournament on the PokerStars platform, which earned him the ticket for the main event.
After this rags-to-riches story hit the news, there was a surge in amateur players joining the ranks of online and attempting to replicate Moneymaker’s success. His impressive achievement also had a great impact on the online poker revenue, and its market share went from $82 million to over $2 billion.
Good players can make money
Although gambling offers a lot of entertainment, many players are doing it for the money. Poker is one of the most promising casino games in terms of payout potential, and there are many examples of people who made the news with their impressive jackpot winnings. However, it turns out that earning big money from playing cards is not a simple job, because poker requires many other skills and tricks than knowing the game rules.
We agree upon the fact that there is enough luck involved so that casual players can sometimes win, but the main difference is that pros are aiming to optimize their expectancy and limit their variance, while amateurs are looking for volatility at the lowest price.
The poker game offers this balance, and while a good gambler could potentially have a positive return 11 months out of a year, a bad player can still get on average one winning night out of three.
In reality, enough skill can actually turn poker from entertainment to a source of income. A pro player will make a big bet per hour and he knows that his standard deviation is around 10 big bets. So, if he’ll play 20/40 for 2500 hours a year, he will earn $100,000 with a standard deviation of $20,000.
As you can see, there is a lot of statistics involved, which explains why there are very few people that are good enough to make a consistent income, but there are enough to sustain that economy.
In fact, there is enough skill involved that the game doesn’t keep the stigma associated with the vast majority of gambling activities. While you wouldn’t necessarily admit to spinning the reels on the slot machines, playing poker is respectable, and being good at may be a reason to show-off.
Emotional control – the “Poker Face”
Whether you’re an aspiring gambler or a poker pro, we can all agree that controlling your emotions and keeping your head in the game is the most difficult skill to master. Showing signs that you’re worried or aren’t sure about your next move is often the reason why many people aren’t entirely made for playing poker. Even the greatest poker players can have a hard time controlling their expression during an important event.
But be advised that these emotional ups and downs can quickly turn into disputes, anger attacks, or even fights caused by the feelings of frustration that occur after losing a close one. But it can also go the other way around! Showing too much confidence and underestimating your opponents can be disastrous and the pros know how to instantly take advantage of that.
The term “poker face” is widely used to describe the ability to hold control over the emotional rollercoaster you go through during a game, which can be usually achieved by holding a straight face. Some players even go to the extent of wearing sunglasses, so that their eyes are hidden from the others.
Because self-control is extremely hard to achieve, many gamers have moved to the online poker platforms, because the opponents won’t be able to read your moves and try to exploit you.
Revealing your face during a game will often work against you, so by playing from your tablet or phone, you can completely remove this threat and only focus on the game.
Social gambling is highly popular
Poker is a table game that brings together many people with a common goal – winning big. No matter how important the event or tournament, there is always a lot of socializing involved. Whether the topic is a joke, a complaint about the services, or a discussion about last night’s soccer game, the players interact with each other one way or another.
While gathering intel on the other participants before the game even starts by talking to them is a good strategy, some players prefer to completely ignore the discussions and focus on the game, but we think that’s a missed opportunity.
Socializing at the poker table can be a deadly weapon when used by pro players. Daniel Negreanu, one of the greatest players in the world, shows us the best examples of mind games that can be used against your opponents to affect their emotional state and expectations.
Poker is by far the king of casino games. Playing it right requires you to master a lot of skills like mathematics or reading people, and on top of that, you also need to be lucky from time to time. The thrilling experience of predicting the next move or bluffing a hand is enough to get you hooked! Once you get the hang of it, you can develop your playstyle and become engaged in the community. Who knows, maybe you could be the next WSOP champion!