Technology has been the single most influential force in the gambling industry. It has transformed how people play and how operators deliver games and products to customers. It’s even changing the games themselves, with some of the most popular titles evolving and developing at a rapid rate. In this article, we take a look at examples of technology changing poker and discuss how this affects you as an operator.
The Shift to Online Poker
The biggest change the gambling industry has seen in recent history is the shift to online products and services. In the past, players would have to visit casinos and card halls to enjoy their favourite games. Things couldn’t be more different today, now players can visit casinos virtually from the comfort of their homes, and they have an unprecedented number of options to choose from.
Poker was one of the first games to move into the digital space, with a number of poker websites launching in the late 1990s and early 2000s. These platforms were groundbreaking and would pave the way for the modern online gambling platforms we see today. Players from all over the world could connect and play poker without ever leaving their homes.
However, these early online poker games were met with some pushback. Poker is, at heart, a social game. It involves communication and interaction between players. Initial online poker games could not replicate this, with the games feeling cold and lifeless by comparison.
Live Dealer Poker
Perhaps the most significant example of technology changing poker has been the proliferation of live dealer games such as live casino hold’em. The development of these games was a direct response to the criticisms levied at early versions of online poker, and they addressed the issues players had with these new online experiences.
Rather than players being shown a screen with animated cards and chips, they are instead able to access a live broadcast of a physical dealer, who operates the table as if they were at a real-life casino. Furthermore, players can interact with the dealer and each other through in-built chat systems.
This reintroduces the social element that was lacking in previous iterations of online poker. Additionally, it addresses issues some players have with the use of random number generators (RNGs), which can often be incorrectly perceived as unfair, as dealers use physical cards rather than digital emulations.
As an online casino operator, it can be tricky to strike the right balance and offer your players social opportunities as well as the conveniences of online gambling. Live dealer games are the perfect way to bridge this gap and they have become a must-have for any online casino operator.
Resources and Information
Another way in which we can see technology changing poker is the sheer scale and volume of poker-related resources that are now available. This has a more indirect effect than the examples above, but it’s still important for operators to understand as it is changing existing player demographics.
The internet can be used to learn about any topic you can imagine. Poker is no exception, there are now countless resources that players can access to learn about the game and the theory behind it.
Poker has long been perceived as complicated, which was enough to discourage many people from trying it. Players today can learn about the game from poker platforms and influencers online, giving them a chance to understand the rules before they join a table.
As a result, we’re now seeing more new players get involved in the game, as well as players from previously underrepresented demographics, women in particular. This highlights the importance of including poker as part of your product offering. It will allow you to target new and emerging player groups.
Last up on our list of ways in which we can see technology changing poker is the use of mobile devices.
In the past, people would access the internet primarily through desktop computers and laptops. While these are still used, they are being rapidly overtaken by mobiles. In Q1 2023, 95.3% of global users accessed the internet through a mobile, compared to 63.4% who accessed it through a laptop or desktop.
Mobile devices today are incredibly powerful and can be used for a range of different purposes, including playing online poker. They offer unparalleled levels of convenience; people can log on to enjoy a game of poker on their commute to work or while walking the dog.
As an operator, this means that ensuring your poker games are optimised for mobile play is absolutely critical. If your players can’t enjoy your platform’s games on their phones, they will quickly leave to find a competitor.
Technology is changing poker in a number of different ways. New online poker games mean people can connect and play from all over the world, while more easily accessible resources are transforming the traditional player profile. As an operator, it’s important you are aware of these changes and that you ensure the poker games you offer meet the needs and expectations of the modern player.