Online Poker Boom Bubble Bursts

By Ben Hamill - July 05 2020

Online Poker Boom Bubble Bursts

The recent online Poker boom probably won’t last, and an unprecedented global dilemma won’t turn out to be quite the game-changer the industry had hoped. This according to data released late last week by GameIntel, an industry monitor tracking average daily traffic across the global online Poker industry.

It all seemed very promising indeed. New players were for the first time in many years joining the game in their drones, which in turn made it all the more exciting for long-time live players to turn their attention online. A new day had dawned, it seemed, and one that could easily usher in a fresh new resurgence not unlike that witnessed in the early 2000s when Tennessee accountant Chris Moneymaker won $2.5 million doing something not at all part of his day-job description. At the time an amateur player at best, Chris Moneymaker won millions when he won the World Series of Poker Main Event during that year.

The world had noticed, and the Moneymaker Effect was suddenly in full swing.

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The Moneymaker Boom

Ordinary people achieving extraordinary things are as effective a walking promotional banner as it gets. A mild-mannered beanie had won millions playing Poker, and the world naturally wanted more.

The next couple of years would witness a royal boom – what had started out as an event played by 839 runners during the year Moneymaker scored his big win, had by 2006, a mere three years later, grown to a tally of 8,733 running participants.

But online Poker sites were doing a great deal more for the game and industry than simply feed the popularity of the World Series of Poker – more of the same could be said of the World Poker Tour and several other televised TV tournaments. A combination of huge-money prize pools and improved broadcasting tech had worked a charm.

All Is Not Lost

But that too would turn out a boom not destined to last or catapult the game all the way into the world of mainstream competitive entertainment. The divide between online professional players and online recreational players proved too significant a gap. Not every rec player got to become a Moneymaker, and once the decline had hit max momentum, there seemed no slowing it down.

Even so, there’s another side to the story that deserves to be told. That of the afterglow. The industry may not be living the boom it initially thought it would right now, but it’s at the same time also true that all publicity is good publicity.

What Moneymaker did back then was to start a new conversation about online Poker. And that’s exactly what we find ourselves doing right now.

With or without a resurgence.

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