Have you ever wondered why poker and online casino are so popular? What are the elements that have made these things worldwide hits? In this article, we intend to analyse deeply the reasons why these activities captivate people from one end of the globe to the other. We intend to look briefly at the history of these types of activities and get inside them a bit; to find out what makes them tick and how they have evolved over the decades and the centuries of their existence. With this in mind, let’s start with the game of poker.
A Brief History of Poker
The very first roots of poker are shrouded in mystery. Most credible sources believe that the game dates back to roughly 100 years or more ago. And believe it or not, it is very probable that the game in its earliest form came from China! Similar versions of what we now know as poker were played in Persia centuries ago, as well as in France, where it was known as “poque”. The modern-day version of poker was developed in America after the Louisiana Purchase, and the rules have changed significantly since, including giving each player five cards instead of three.
The History of Casinos
Casinos have an illustrious but not quite as deep history as does poker. The first casinos appeared in northern Italy 400 or so years ago, and during the course of the 19th century, they began to spread throughout the rest of the European continent. As it was with poker, these games made it to the New World through the port of New Orleans. The first casinos in the US were actually the steamboats that made their way up and down the Mississippi River. From there, land-based casinos were established, first in New Orleans, then out from there to the rest of the country.
The Popularity of Poker and Casinos in General
It would seem that the number one reason for the popularity of poker and other casino games is the visceral thrill they generate. Anybody who has played even one single round of any game for money (playing for fun isn’t as “fun”, of course) knows this emotional jolt on a personal level. Poker in particular, in all its variations, is an extremely popular game worldwide, and it could be said that the reason poker is particularly popular is that, while there are definitely random elements, there is a great deal of skill involved. This makes people feel enabled and empowered.
The Digital Migration to Online Casinos
Technology, as with just about everything in our lives, has had a huge impact on the world of poker and casino games. The precursor to going online was definitely the invention of the first video slot in New York City in 1976. Marrying machines with gambling was an instant hit with patrons, as it inspired a higher degree of trust in the gambling process. The next step, naturally, was to move the casinos online and allow people to game from the comfort of their homes. This, however, needed technology to progress further, and it took until 1994 before online casinos became a reality.
The Current State of Online Casinos and Poker
From 1994 until the present day, there have been sporadic legal challenges all over the world, and currently, depending on the locality, the legality and availability of online casinos can vary greatly. However, legal challenges to online gaming tend to not prosper very well, for economic reasons as well as those of civil liberties. Countries like the US regulate gambling at the state level, and laws can change dramatically from one state to the next. Other countries, like Singapore, completely outlawed any form of gambling for a long time, but recently have started to relax. Singapore only allows domestic providers, however.
Predictions for the Future
A lot of exciting things are currently trending in the online casino industry. Two of the biggest ones are the tendency towards mobile gaming (mobile gaming surpassed desktop gaming back in 2014), and the advent of live dealer gaming (which actually started way back in 2003 but hasn’t stopped trending since). Live dealer gaming is a hybrid between the online casino experience and the brick-and-mortar casino experience, and its fans claim that it absolutely provides an experience that sums up the very best of both worlds. We predict that both of these trends are likely to continue growing explosively.
Another trend that is sweeping the online casino marketplace is that of blockchain-based technologies and cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Surprisingly to some, the online casino industry has been very conservative as far as use of digital currencies, but this is now starting to change rapidly, and is likely to become the biggest trend in the industry, probably within the next year or two. The very nature of blockchain helps inspire consumer confidence; it’s a very secure and discreet way of going back and forth with funds. It’s the perfect next step for the online gaming industry in so many ways.