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Online poker revolution
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The Online Poker Revolution

It’s the fastest growing online gambling sector, and soon, even mums and dads will have an opportunity to share in the spoils of this gambling juggernaut if one of the industry’s giants goes public later this year in an IPO that is sure to make waves.

Online poker, by all indications has been the online gambling revolution of the last couple of years.  According to, a staggering $190 million is now bet daily at online poker rooms.  This compares to only $11 million daily just two years ago.  In the same period, active player numbers have grown from 83,000 to 1.9 million!

Online poker allows players to play against other real life players, with the casino taking a percentage of the pot, called the ‘rake’. 

Online Poker’s success has been attributed in part to the popularity of televised poker tournaments like the World Poker Tour and World Series Poker that have brought the game into the living rooms and consciousness of millions worldwide.   And the poker loving antics of celebrity card-shark-wannabes like Ben Affleck and Michael Jordan have done nothing to sully the games reputation as a cool game to play.  

The fact that software powering the popular poker rooms is now able to offer a pretty realistic poker experience has probably also not hurt.   Whatever the reason, online poker appears here to stay, with at least 250 websites, powered by about 55 separate operators currently competing for your poker dollar custom.

As to whether poker’s amazing growth will continue is debatable.  There are already indications that it is beginning to approach it equilibrium point, with growth in new monthly players running at 10% compared with 20% in 2003 (albeit from a much lower base).  And this trend should continue according to Dale Johnson from NeTeller (which makes over 80% of its revenue processing payments from online gambling operators) who has stated that current growth rates cannot be sustained.  

Many commentators also point to the uncertain US position, where the legality of gambling online has been questioned, despite the fact that an estimated 60% to 80% of the market is comprised of US players.

The Industry’s undisputed heavyweight, IGlobal Media, owners of PartyGaming and PartyPoker, is considering cashing on the poker bonanza with plans to list on the London Stock Exchange later this year.   IGlobal Media claims a 50% share of the current online poker market, translating to a profit before tax of around $350 million in 2004 and an expected IPO valuation of almost $4 billion.

For more details on where to play poker online, check out our poker rooms page, or the following cool poker rooms:



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