After the World Wide Web first went public in the mid-1990s, it did not take long for poker to become a feature on the international communication network. The first online poker websites offered only fun money versions of the game and did not accept real money wagers. These services were offered by IRC, an early online chat system, and thus were known as IRC Poker. Both Omaha poker and Texas Hold’Em poker were available for play through the IRC system, and these two games consequently remain two of the most popular poker variations played online to this day.
The first poker website that allowed internet poker players to play poker for real money was Planet Poker. Today, there are thousands of sites on the internet dedicated to poker play. These sites offer players a variety of games, tournaments, promotional bonuses, and poker software. Games can be played both through an internet browser with a live connection and from a poker download program installed onto a personal computer. The majority of sites conform to fair and responsible gaming regulations and use a Random Number Generator to electronically shuffle and deal the cards.
The popularity of poker today goes hand-in-hand with the spread of internet access around the world. As more and more people are able to connect to poker playing opportunities via the internet, more and more poker sites are being erected to meet the demand. By allowing a global audience who may not have had access to casinos or real poker rooms to have access to virtual poker rooms, poker has become more popular than ever before.
Due to the fact that there are so many poker playing opportunities online, poker sites use several strategies to attract new players. The first isfree online poker. By offering beginners the chance to play free poker, these sites essentially hook the player by giving him a platform on which to play and become familiar with the game with the hope that the player will continue to use the same site when he is ready to move onto real money competitions. Many sites also feature a free poker game called a Freeroll tournament. Freeroll tournaments are free for players to enter, but usually feature a considerable jackpot prize sponsored solely by the poker site.
Poker sites also attract players by offering them a poker bonus for becoming a new member of the online poker community. The bonus can come in many different forms, including the frequently-offered first-time deposit match, where the site guarantees to contribute the same amount as a player’s first deposit to the player’s account.
Satellite tournaments are another popular poker promotion. These poker tournaments differ from others in that they offer a unique prize to winners – a seat in a real, big money tournament. Both the 2003 and 2004 World Series of Poker champions, Chris Moneymaker and Greg ‘Fossilman’ Raymer, earned their entries into the World Series by winning satellite tournaments at the site PokerStars.