The history of online poker started around 1994 with the advent of online chat, where players used Internet Relay Chat to play with other poker enthusiasts. Then, in 1998, real money online poker games were launched by Planet Poker, and by 1999, Canadian poker players introduced Paradise Poker. Paradise Poker included poker games loved by amateurs and professional players. Online games like Seven Card Stud and Texas Hold ’em became an exciting way to play online poker and the online poker craze started to grow.

Early Online Poker

Internet Relay Chat was developed in the 1980s and allowed players to enter chat rooms and find opponents. You had to be a bit technical to play the game, but that didn’t deter poker enthusiasts.

The first game was played around 1994, and by 1998, it moved on to “real” online play with new sites. The game was often interrupted by software crashes and computer issues, but once it was established that real money could be made, online poker sites started to become popular.

Online Poker in the Early 2000s

Online poker sites began to use real money in the 2000s, and many sites had great graphics and easy-to-use interfaces. More online poker room sites were released and healthy competition took over. Fortunately, government regulators ignored online poker.

In 2003, a new gaming site offered satellite tournaments so players could eventually win their way into the $10,000 Main Event of the World Series of Poker. The online site, PokerStars, entered 37 players into the Main Event, and of the online entrants, Chris Moneymaker (what a great name), won the tournament.

The Golden Years: 2003-2006

In 2003-2006, advertisements for poker 99 sites could be seen everywhere. An explosion of players and sites opened up, and fortunately, Congress did not realize what a moneymaking project online poker was. During 2003-2006, there were easy banking methods, tables full of players of all skills, and quality online poker sites made online poker more than just fun.

Congress Passes the UIGEA

In October 2006, the UIGEA was added to the Safe Ports Act and the act stated that no longer could payments or deposits for online poker be processed. This act was placed on banks and financial institutions, and it had a dampening impact on the world of online poker. New rules had to be followed just to deposit and withdraw winnings.

Yet the worldwide poker market continues to grow. Current estimates place the global poker market’s worth at about $7 billion. The online poker boom might be slowing down, but it is far from dead.

Now you can play online poker from your smartphone, and win, so it says, bucketfuls of easy money.