Online poker is dynamic. The news. The legal landscape. The games we play. The quality of our opponents. Even poker strategy itself has evolved since the “Moneymaker Effect” took the game to new heights. The fact that poker changes all the time is the only thing that’s consistent about it. But that’s also what makes it so much fun to play.
The game has a long history, so we’ll try to document what we know now and predict what will happen in the future. Our editors here at 4Flush also strive to teach you how play better poker, so don’t forget to check out our basic poker games guide while you’re perusing this section.
What’s on the Horizon for Online Poker Going Forward?
There are a number of big things on the horizon for online poker in 2016. Whether you’re old school and just want to check out our recommended poker reviews or want to do your homework on the legality of all, here are the 4 biggest you should be on the lookout for.
Editor’s Note: Check out our other no deposit poker bonuses by navigating around our Online Poker section and take advantage of some great free bankroll offers today.
Legal Poker Options in New Jersey (and the tristate area)
New Jersey and the immediate tristate area surround the state currently offers LEGAL online poker.
Intrastate poker is going to be a big topic going forward in today’s legal landscape. Intrastate poker is the term to describe online poker on a state-by-state basis. For example, Nevada has already passed laws making it legal to run online poker real money in the state. So once a site goes live, only people from within the state of Nevada will be able to play on it.
Speaking of Nevada, they were the first to pass the law making online poker legal. They gave out their first license in August of 2012, and have given several more since then to operators, affiliates and software providers.
There are other sites right on Nevada’s heels, too. Delaware has made online (intrastate) poker legal. Florida and New Jersey are currently working on (legalizing) it. If I had to guess, I think that New Jersey will be the next state to have intrastate poker legal and operating. There have been talks about PokerStars buying a (land based) casino here, and if that happens, they’ll have their fingers in the intrastate-poker-pie before you know it.
Aside from online poker being legal on a state-by-state basis, intrastate poker also opens the door wider to online poker becoming legal on a federal / nationwide level. No doubt the guys in the White House / congress are going to pay close attention to Nevada, New Jersey and the other intrastate poker sites to see how legal online poker is working for them.
2/26/2013 Update – New Jersey Governor signs online gambling into law. New Jersey is now the 3rd state to legalize online poker, and the 2nd for casino games. Don’t get too excited yet, though. It took Nevada approx. 2 years before the first license was awarded. New Jersey regulators still need to figure out their licensing process and how they will oversee operations. Read our post about it here.
3/26/2013 Update – 888 Holdings PLC has become the first company to attain their online gaming license in the state of Nevada. This is the first time 888 has been in the United States since the passing of the UIGEA in 2006. You can read our story here, as well as on Calvin Ayre’s blog.
4/30/2013 Update – Ultimate Poker launches the FIRST online poker client in the state of Nevada!
Mobile poker is only going to continue to grow. Not necessarily because that’s where online poker is heading, but because mobile is already surpassing desktop usage in a lot of regions around the world. More and more people are using their mobile phones and tablets for everyday tasks. It’s no surprise they want to play poker from them, too.
However, it doesn’t come without it’s challenges though. Right now the most compatible device is the Android. There are just as many, if not more real money poker apps developed for it compared to the iOS. It can also run flash/java without needing to be rooted, so even if an online poker site doesn’t offer a mobile app, you can still play the browser version of their games.
The 2nd popular is iphone/ipad apps, but there are fewer choices because they are harder to develop for (they don’t support flash or java) and their app store is relatively harder to get into. And you’d be lucky to find a real money poker app for Windows or BlackBerry.
I also expect mobile poker to grow because the sports betting and casino markets are already (on their way) there. The top sportsbooks already have mobile friendly sites, and many casinos offer individual games that can be sent to your phone. I expect poker to catch up as mobile continues to become users first choice for how to use the internet.
Poker Sites Consolidating / Growing
I expect to see more sites consolidating in 2013. We’ve already seen many sites close up shop in the past and just move their players to sister sites on the same network. A few sites, like Black Chip Poker, decided to switch networks altogether.
I don’t expect this to change going forward, given the current landscape for online poker in the USA. It’s got to be difficult for the lesser known operators to grow, let alone survive when there are so many sites competing for your attention, especially if you’re in the USA. Between that and intrastate poker, I think we’ll see more sites close and/or consolidate their player pools with other sites. While it’s definitely an inconvenience in the short term for players, in the long run it should only be better as player pools get bigger and there is more (concentrated) cash flow into each site.
We should also expect to see sites branch out into new markets. Carbon Poker is a good example of a site that has already done this, adding a sportsbook and casino to their product line. Not only will this appeal to recreational poker players (gamblers, in general), it’ll keep some of these smaller sites afloat. It’s also been rumored that PokerStars is expected to expand into the casino and sports betting market, too.
And speaking PokerStars (again), talks of them buying a brick and mortar casino and then leveraging that to move back online again in the USA is another example of growth, and possibly an example of what we may see more down the road.
Real Money Social Media Poker
Real money social media poker was another big topic years and years ago, and something “big” I expect to see more of for beginner players, but with the advent of other mainstreams rooms developing their own poker apps it might be tougher to break through long-term.
Social media poker for real money definitely has it’s pros and cons.
The upside to social media poker for real money is that it introduces a lot of (new) people to real money poker. People that don’t know it exists or may have been reluctant to try it. This is great for pro players as it introduces more fish. It’s even good for recreational players, as it will reduce the number of pros you see per table on average.
The downside to social media poker is convincing people that usually play for free or very cheap to make a real money deposit. Social media poker for real money won’t show it’s face in the USA either, at least until some type of regulation takes place.
So for the time being we’ll only see social media poker in the European markets. However, depending on how the intrastate poker goes, and whether or not that leads to some type of federal / nationwide regulation for online poker, we may see it in the US sooner than we think.
Live Dealer Poker
Live dealer gaming has revolutionized the online casino gaming industry. Live dealer poker allows players to enjoy games like Texas Hold’em through their tablet, smartphone, or computer while playing with a real dealer. The games use live streaming technology from a casino floor or gaming room where players take part in gaming as it happens in real-time.
Players are connected to the dealer via a video connection. You are seeing the game from the same perspective as you would if you were at the actual casino. Instead of traditional online poker, where you don’t see the action take place physically hand by hand, live dealer lets players make decisions in real-time. Players tend to enjoy live dealer casinos that offer poker more than standard poker as it has a realistic element, along with physical visuals at the poker table.
A popular option offered in the live dealer poker sector is Casino Hold’em. This game is similar to Texas Hold’em with a different unique structure for betting, as well as added ante and dealer qualifying hand. Instead of competing against other players, the goal of this game is to take on the dealer. The game is quite popular among online poker fans and is a great option to consider when playing live dealer poker.
In the US, online poker is slowly growing. Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada have provided online poker options since 2013. Pennsylvania passed online poker and casino legislation and on July 15, 2019, officially launched a few online casino sites. Online poker should be launching in the near future, which will provide yet another method of online poker for US players.
04/04/2013 Update – Zynga officially launches “real money” games in the UK; expansion a possibility. Here’s a link to our story.