Innovations in Online Poker

Who even remembers Planet Poker? The first hands of online poker were played on this site back in January 1998. But how has the experience changed from then to the present day when to comes to options and developments for those who want to play poker online?

More currencies than ever before

When online poker started, the de facto currency for transactions was the US dollar. While still held in high regard globally, it was uncommon for users worldwide to bank in American money. However, this is one aspect that, as online banking has developed, poker has consistently supported. Poker fans can now choose banks with all different currencies worldwide and you can now play poker today on any of these websites using cryptocurrency or a plethora of other options to suit almost every need.

Live experiences

Another key innovation in online poker is that you can play with an actual dealer handling the cards as the game plays out. It used to be you could only watch the computer animation reveal the cards. While not always a problem, some users feel that a live dealer adds a layer of security and authenticity to their online poker experience. Online poker is ahead of many industries in this regard, and you can’t always get a live experience from other pastimes.

Dividing Americans

Call it an innovation or a disruption, online poker has become a divisive discussion for all Americans since the infamous Black Friday event when the FBI shut down all the significant sites trading in the US. Since then, some sites have re-entered the market with different operations, but many state laws still prohibit online gambling or online poker. Some states allow gambling and poker games in person despite online bans, which adds another layer of confusion to discussions.

Social aspects

Online poker can be a lonely pastime, especially if you played it in the early 2000s when the game only had the primary function of playing poker. Well, that has come a long way. Now, most major poker sites have introduced social features. Instant messaging and forums for users to talk to one another are now standard. One reason why this has become commonplace is that other related experiences have adopted the same features. People playing video games have long been able to communicate with one another.

Variations of poker

Planet Poker did a great job sparking the online poker story, but ultimately, it only offered Texas Hold’em. While it is by far the most popular variation of the game, some players want variety in their play sessions. This has led significant poker sites to offer other variations like Omaha, Pineapple, and sometimes card games like blackjack. Casino sites, in general, have tried to expand their offerings much like poker sites, with a decent crossover in the players.

Safety protocols

One of the most important aspects of any online poker site operating in major markets in the US and the UK (and regulated by these countries) is offering safety protocols and procedures for its players. The gambling industry has come under fire in recent years, and it is not doing enough to protect its customers. In the original poker boom, the marketplace had no security measures, and players could quickly put their life savings on a single hand. The security surrounding accounts and user profiles has also increased with the concern about third-party misuse. This includes two-layer security and face identification metrics required when logging into poker sites.

This isn’t a gaming or gambling-specific issue. With the rise of cybercrime, all online industries have had to step up their security to thwart hackers and other malicious web users.

Ability to watch poker games

The original poker rooms allowed users to play poker, and that’s about it. You couldn’t get involved if the tables or the server were full. Well, these days, if a table is complete but has a famous player on it, you can often watch the action as a viewer. Some more prominent poker brands even live stream poker events on their sites/platforms so users can watch the most notable tournaments and play games. This is in line with other gaming industries where players can often choose to watch video games rather than play them, often referred to as e-sports.

Looking to the future 

As we enter the middle of 2024, one of the most significant opportunities for online poker sits in the realm of VR and AR experiences, where the games are presented to the bettor more interactively. While VegasInfinite already exists, this is the tip of the iceberg of where the industry could go with these technologies. Imagine if poker could be played at the augmented table in front of your very eyes while still in the comfort of your bedroom. Other games have already taken leaps to include these aspects; mainstream poker companies must follow suit.