TMCnet Feature
July 29, 2021

How is technology influencing the online poker world?

The game of poker has a rich history that goes back around 200 years. It’s easy to think of online poker as a recent innovation, but even this has been around since the late 90s, so for almost a quarter of a century. By its very nature, online poker is technology-driven, and that technology continues to develop, changing the nature of the game and the way it is played, won and lost.

New ways to play

Online gaming is all about choice. Walk into a real casino, and you might see three versions of poker on offer, let’s say video poker, three card draw and Texas Holdem. An online platform can offer dozens of choices. So it is that games like Omaha and Caribbean Stud have risen in popularity. Even these might have multiple versions with extra features like random bounties and lightning bonuses.

Poker for all

In the pre-internet age, poker was a niche pursuit, played out in clubs and casinos. Legislative change combined with online accessibility has made it a game that anyone can play. You need only to scan through this list of legal online poker platforms to get an idea of how much choice is out there. Most also have mobile apps, which makes access even more convenient for those who enjoy a quick game in an idle moment.

AI opposition

20 odd years ago, playing against the AI in an online poker game was not much fun. It’s a tough area to code, as poker is a game of incomplete information, and those early bots were easy to outwit. Today, we live in a world where AI can take on the best players in the world and win. That presents us with some profound and disturbing questions. If AI is better at poker than a human, will it effectively bring the whole online poker infrastructure crashing down? Pluribus, the most recent poker playing bot, was so good, the developers placed it back under wraps, fearing exactly that scenario.

Tools for players

Technology can also be used by human players to help them improve their own game. This is the big data age, and poker creates a lot of data. Poker trackers are able to crunch the information from every hand in terms of how you played it and your success or failure. A little like a Formula 1 driver looking back on the telemetry from each lap, you can see where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and so improve your game.

Poker will endure

In the 25 years that online poker has been around, change has been the only constant. That pattern will continue as we progress into the 2030s and beyond. History has shown that suppressing a tech innovation like Pluribus never lasts long. It will get out in the end, and we will have to find a way to live with it. One thing is for sure. Poker has been around far longer than all of us. Rest assured, it will adapt and it will endure.


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