Modern technology has touched and transformed so many areas of our lifestyles. From our health (or lack thereof) to the way we work all the way through to our social and leisure habits, indeed, technological advancements have dramatically reshaped everything. Certain games and disciplines have also been radically changed by technology’s continuous strive forward — tournament game-playing is now a worldwide, multibillion-dollar industry, and you can learn almost anything online, including how to become a poker champ.
Previously associated with both the glitz and glamour of high-class casinos and the underground, cigar-filled gaming nights, poker is now accessible to any adult in the world with an internet connection. The past eight years, in particular, have seen poker, and other casino games, transition successfully into the online world, leading to the creation of a standalone industry within the video gaming arena: iGaming.
This industry has taken many of the traditional gaming disciplines that would normally be found in brick-and-mortar casinos as well as other activities like sports wagering, and placed them in virtual, often highly-immersive environments. There are even dedicated online tournaments and championships where professional players can battle it out to win some high-stakes prizes. The sheer variety of games available through online poker platforms, each putting a unique spin on traditional poker formats, means that players can access high-quality and engaging experiences that they may not even be able to enjoy in land-based casinos. Playing poker in the 21st century is an interactive experience, connecting players from all walks of life and countries who share a passion for the game.
The fact that poker is now mostly accessible on any portable device, including tablets and mobiles, provides freedom and flexibility that not only means easy 24/7 access to games, but it has also opened the discipline to other players who would feel restricted by the stereotypical, masculine view of the game.
Women in poker have battled long and hard to be considered equals at the card table, but not every female player feels comfortable diving straight into a tournament in such a male-dominant environment. The relative anonymity of being able to play online offers a secure environment for female players to hone their talents (this applies to male players, too!). Muskan Sethi, India’s first female professional poker player, is one such player. Although she was interested in the game from early on, she credits her years spent playing online with getting her to the international level she is at now.
With such a diverse array of players and opportunities springing up across the globe, it’s no wonder that in the age of technology, poker is becoming increasingly more and more social and community based. YouTube and Twitch are two examples of the various platforms boasting online gaming networks, connecting professional poker players with enthusiastic learners on a worldwide level. Twitch alone pulls in over 100 million users every month, offering the ideal audience for professionals to share their knowledge, and giving players previously unimaginable opportunities to connect and learn from these masters of their craft.
With the recent introduction of virtual reality (VR) technology to some online gaming platforms, poker and the iGaming industry is embracing all that technology has to offer. Consequently, more people than ever before are participating in these games, and the pros who do make it onto the world’s stage are radically transforming the idea of what it means to be a poker player.