The modern landscape of online casino games is one of the broadest and well-known forms of interactive entertainment the world has ever known. Poker makes up an appreciable part of that equation, with its myriad forms each finding their niche with amateur and professional players both. Yet, as many forms of digital entertainment come and go, poker only seems to grow bigger. So, what is it exactly that lets poker succeed where so many others have failed, and what could be next for this arm of the online casino industry?
From Classical Heritage to Modern Convenience
The origins of poker are nebulous are best, though most scholars place its beginnings around 1,000 years ago in China, or Persia in the 16th century. Regardless of when it began, the game has been a major part of the gambling world since the 1800s, where it became a key staple in the Wild West. Long seen as a test of patience, wills, and critical thinking, the easy to learn but impossible to master nature of poker has maintained its place in the spotlight.
In the digital age, poker’s advantages came from how simple it was to interpret the game into the online space. Even in the earliest days of online casinos in 1996, poker could effectively be represented with the simplest of graphics and least powerful of computers. Essentially, it has next to no technological barriers of access, which made its early and then continued popularity all the easier.
The Strength of Flexibility
Keeping poker on the main stage might have been problematic if the game stagnated, however, both the original game and the contributions of online software have effectively met this challenge. As any player will know, the term poker relates more to an overarching network of games rather than one single title. Years ago, the word might have made people jump straight to 5-card-draw, but today, poker usually means hold’em.
Online, this flexibility goes a step further. With the use of software, themes and variations on established formulas push poker to new heights. This development is hardly new, most closely mirroring the path taken by slots online. Just as slots like Starburst, Wolf Gold, and Book of Dead put their own spin on a classic idea, so too do online poker games. Like slots, there’s something for everyone, so newcomers are never left wanting for choice.
A Next Step
As established and well-performing as online poker is, it’s still got plenty of untapped potentials left unexplored. The most exciting of these come from virtual and augmented reality, both of which could have significant implications for the future of the online game. When implemented, these technologies could allow a much more physical experience at home, or just create a more dedicated and engaging environment in which to play.
Though it might be some years yet before we see VR and AR poker games on the internet become standard, players can at least rest assured that they’re still spoiled for choice. With around 2,800 casino websites online, and the market still on a steady uptick, poker shows no signs of receding back to the physical realm from which it came. It’s a new golden age and one which only grows brighter by the year.
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