Online poker has had a bad reputation, but much has changed recently.
In 2011, the industry collapsed in what became known as Black Friday. It was the culmination of years of boom, where providers seemingly got away with whatever they liked. Since then, the industry has cleaned up, become fully legislated and begun to thrive.
Globally, the online iGaming market is expected to be valued at $153.6bn by 2030, showing a compound annual growth rate of 11.7% from 2022. Poker is a large part of that and a growing sector both in the US and the wider world. Many countries do not tightly regulate online poker, an industry which thrived during the 2020 pandemic due to unrestricted operating compared to its main industry rival, physical casinos.
That’s not the entire picture, certainly not in the US, and there is still something of a stigma around online poker. It hasn’t truly shaken off the image created by Black Friday, nor the age-old stereotype of being a game played by charlatans and crooks in the dusty bar rooms of the Wild West. To progress, the industry continues to educate and evolve. We’re here to help with the former by delivering four things you really need to know about online poker in 2022.
You Can’t Play Everywhere
If you want to play for real money in the US, you may be out of luck. Current poker legislation only allows cash games in seven states: Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Connecticut, and West Virginia. Of those seven, Connecticut and West Virginia do not have licensed operators; they’re waiting for larger states, such as Massachusetts and Virginia, to adopt legislation and offer a larger customer base. They’re two of three states, the other being Illinois, where legalization is under discussion. If you’re anywhere else, you’ll have to play free games. Or move.
It Continues to Grow
The industry is showing no signs of stopping now. 17 states allow in-person poker games, but not online poker; that pool is likely to be where the next batch of states introducing legislation comes from. The lure of tax dollars is significant; Michigan, which has online poker within its gaming legislation, took $160m in revenue in May 2022. Of that figure, $127m came from online casinos and poker, a 34% increase from the previous year.
It’s a Fair Game
There’s been a perception in the past that online poker isn’t fair, perhaps driven by the Black Friday crash, but the truth is very different. With such tight legislation in the US, operators can only get a license if they deliver a fair experience. Also, you’re not always playing against the house; you’ll be up against other players more often than not. Reputable providers sometimes have a facility where newer or weaker players get paired with a similar ability so that you won’t be picked off by a better player and lose the fun element.
There’s Something For Everyone
It’s easy to say ‘I like poker’, but you might be a Three-Card poker player or like Texas Hold’em. You might like quick games; you might even play several tables at once online. Poker is an all-encompassing heading that covers a multitude of variants and play styles. Luckily, online poker has evolved to satisfy most needs. You can enter tournaments online, or some providers will let you set up private games with friends. Playing your way, assuming you live in the right state, is a theme of modern-day online poker.
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