As we approach the end of 2022, I thought its an opportunity to reflect on online poker and how its changed recently. The poker world is constantly moving at a rapid pace that its easy to forget some key milestones. Whilst the fundamentals never change, the characters, technology and strategy surrounding poker can be hard to keep up with! So, in this article I’m going to cherry pick some important moments that have changed online poker in the last few years.
Range Analysis Software
When I started playing in the mid noughties, poker was much simpler. There was little software tracking capability and range analysis was not even uttered among experts. Fast forward to today and it’s on the tips of tongues around the world. The fact you can use solvers relatively cheaply to improve your game has changed the landscape of poker. Anyone wanting to improve can do so much quicker and efficiently than the old days. All you have to do is input some ranges on a board and you’ll get statistics spat at you that tell you precisely what you need to know.
In response to fears that people are growing bored of Texas Hold’em, online poker sites and their marketing teams have continuously created new games. This is definitely a change for the better as it has allows people try out new things in the gambling space. Ultimately, most people will be fail initially, which lets others gain a greater edge. After all, those who adapt quickly to new games will crush those who don’t make the adjustments quickly.
Whilst I’m not a fan of games like 6 + Hold’em, it’s introduction to most poker platforms is definitely a force for good, as it retains players and invites new ones too.
The Twitch industry has boomed in recent years. Young people seem to love watching other people play games and this has extended to poker too. Its afforded people the chance to watch poker being played without risking anything themselves. Whilst this has certainly impacted the poker world, I’m undecided whether it’s been a force for good. On the one hand, poker is gaining greater exposure and potentially more players. But, on the other hand, many of the players streaming and espousing their 6 max strategy are giving bad advice. Most Twitch poker streamers are average players at best so I recommend taking their tips with a grain of salt.
Celebrity Profiles Playing
Online poker has continued to stay relevant, in part, due to the significant investment of poker sites having celebrities promoting it. There seems to be countless famous faces on major poker sites. Many of the sports celebrities have millions of followers and are giving poker a massive platform to generate interest from people who don’t know anything about poker. This is awesome as it means we’re getting more people entering the low stakes games and allows people who treat poker seriously the chance to do well.
In recent years, online poker has seen a radical change in the stance towards poker HUDs. More and more sites are banning the use of real time poker stat tracking software. This has been done to minimise the edge serious players have on recreational gamblers.
It’s been a contentious topic among grinders but ultimately, it’s a positive step if we want to bring people back to poker and ensure the social gamblers stay in the game. Punters don’t want to feel they are at a massive disadvantage so with no poker HUDs, a player is more reliant on observation than software assisting them.
Another way the online poker world has changed is the rampant expansion of mobile apps. There’s been poker apps for years but they were notoriously slow. You couldn’t depend on them as they weren’t as stable as playing on desktop. However, that has changed in recent times. The major poker sites have wisely invested in the mobile side of their business as the apps are now much smoother. You can play poker online on your mobile and have no virtually problems at all.
Some apps even let you multi-table. With most mobile contracts allowing more 4G and 5G usage, poker apps are no longer a drain on phone bills either. This has resulted in far more usage on mobile, which is certainly a positive for the poker world.
Finally, I can’t ignore the impact crypto-currency has had on online poker. Just a few years ago, Bitcoin was the only “established” digital currency. Today, there are loads and the list of poker platforms accepting crypto-currency is growing. There’s undoubtedly a market as online players clearly love the anonymity and transactional speed e-wallets offer. I’m sure all the poker platforms will be accepting crypto in the near future as they’ll fear missing out on extra customers.