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7 Ways Online Poker Changed Over the Years

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The core principles of poker have remained the same for years. The same fundamentals Chris Moneymaker used to win the 2003 World Series of Poker are the same skills he use to win online tournaments in 2021.

All the same, online poker has changed in numerous ways. The most popular variants of the ‘80s and ‘90s aren’t so popular in 2021. Likewise, poker has grown leaps and bounds in popularity. Continue reading to find out all the ways online poker has changed over the years.

Increased Safety

Two decades ago, the online poker industry was marred with cheating and scam scandals. New players couldn’t tell apart between genuine and fraudulent poker websites. And you could deposit money, win and fail to receive your profits.

Fortunately, the online poker sector is much safer these days. It’s also regulated in multiple states in the US, the UK, Malta and Curacao. Regulation means every genuine poker website has a license and that it follows strict security protocols. 

Of course, not every poker site in the world is safe and secure. However, there are lots of secure poker platforms. Spotting a genuine company isn’t difficult. The first step is to check for a license from a respected regulator. 

Then look for security features like a padlock sign that proves the website encrypts your data. If you’re short on time but still want to find safe online poker sites, choose top-rated companies. They’re top-rated for a reason—safety, reliability, user-friendliness and Rakeback deals.


Back in 2005, you could only play poker in a handful of websites. These companies later became international brands that rake billions of dollars in annual profits. But that’s not the point. 

The bottom line is that you no longer need to rely on a few poker giants to play Texas Hold’em and Omaha. Today, poker is a staple game in nearly every online casino. Some websites provide the game exclusively. Others offer poker plus other casino games.

All the same, it’s much easier to find a place to play poker in 2021 than in 2011. The game’s availability is scheduled to continue growing with increased legalization of gambling games around the world.

Decreasing Skill Gap

Some people think it’s a good thing. Others believe it’s bad news for experienced players. But it doesn’t change the fact that the skill gap among poker players keep reducing. In turn, it’s harder to categorize players by their skill levels. 

In other words, it’s also more difficult to find a table full of weak players. According to experts, this can be attributed to the ever-growing list of poker resources, most of which is available freely on the Internet.

Think of YouTube tutorials, blogs, poker magazines and schools. Anyone can use these platforms to perfect their skills. And once they understand the basics, they avoid the simple mistakes that would otherwise cost them games.

The rise of free to play poker apps also help new beginners practice extensively before they can play for real money. As a result, there are lots of newbies who win tournaments nowadays, making online poker a level playing field.

Mobile Poker

More than half of online poker players play through their iPhones and android devices. A decade ago, less than 20% of poker websites worked on mobile devices. Technology has a lot to do with it.

Mobile operating systems—Android and iOS—were at a young stage in 2010. What’s more, only a few companies created smartphones. Additionally, the graphics, programming language and the general technology back then didn’t provide leeway for online poker to work on mobile devices.

Interestingly, you don’t need a desktop PC or Mac computer to play poker anymore. It doesn’t matter whether you want to play live poker with friends, a WSOP tournament or HORSE. If you have a decent smartphone with clear graphics and quick Internet, you can relish poker for hours.

Social Connections

Another way online poker has changed is through social connections. Poker websites aren’t just places where you can enjoy a few hands of poker once in a while. They are places to make friends, have fund with family and to share experiences.

Although it’s a lot difficult to categorize poker players by their skills, poker sites have been a doing a great job linking players with similarly skilled opponents. Nearly every poker app uses a level-based system.

Levels help keep off sharks. And in turn, weak players can compete with one another without worrying about losing to much more skilled competitors. As mentioned, you can also arrange an online poker table for friends.

RNG and Live Poker

For some time, the only way to play online poker was through RNG software. Poker websites would bring together a table full of players. Sometimes they could also add robots to make tables fill up quickly.

RNG software would act as the dealer, shuffling cards and dealing them to players in turns. You couldn’t communicate with your opponents. But you could compete, nonetheless. Things have improved for the better.

Not only can you play in the presence of a human dealer but you can also see and interact with your opponents. You need a clear web camera and microphone. Then you can play live poker as though you’re in a real Las Vegas casino.

Loads of Bonuses and Promotions

Bonuses have been part of the online poker community since its inception. But the ways companies give out bonuses, their policies and promotions have changed drastically over the years.

 For example, most casinos match your first deposit 100%. It’s like a rite of passage. If you don’t get a welcome offer, you’re more likely to receive generous Rakeback prizes. Additionally, you can join a loyalty program to earn points and cash prizes.

As mentioned, bonus policies have also improved in poker. Although not every company gives you a good deal, you’re highly likely to find a bonus with attractive terms and conditions. Of course, always read through these policies to ensure they’re indeed terms you agree with.