The belief that online poker pioneered the concept of casino gambling on the Internet is one of the fallacies about the development of the currently popular virtual sport. During the pre-boom period of the Internet the cyber community was mainly composed of people obsessed with Star Trek or had a poor sex life. However, after some time someone realized that poker can be played on this medium. By then an industry was conceptualized.
Another dubious fallacy that has been a source of laughter is Al Gore’s claim that he invented the Internet. So it is clear that the former presidential candidate was not only responsible for the Internet but also online gaming and poker. Based on that information the roots of online gambling become a little clearer.
The history of online casinos can be traced to Antigua, Bermuda in 1994 when the local government ratified the region’s free trade and Processing Zone Act. The ruling paved the way for the establishment of many online gaming casinos and sports books that were free to operate as a legal business. Antigua Bermuda to this day remains as the most popular licensing jurisdiction for online gambling industries. It was during this period that Microgaming was born.
Microgaming is known as the biggest software developer in the online gaming world or what is Microsoft to the information technology industry. Other applications followed the first software developed for online gaming. Brothers Andrew and Mark Rivkin started Cryptologic in 1995.
The main goal of the brothers was to create a communications protocol that would ensure that transactions are made surely and safely. Microgaming divested its casino business to concentrate on developing online casino technologies in 1996. During the same year, Boss Specialtidningar AB designed a network that would host casino operations online.
Another fallacy is that a major US bank developed the first ECash and gaming application on the Internet. This distinction goes to Cryptologic, which developed its first gaming application in the same year. InterCasino supposedly was the first online gaming casino that accepted a real bet on the Internet. However, it was in 1998 that the first ever online poker room was created. Planet Poker was the single online poker company for around a year and continues to operate today but is dwarfed by its larger counterparts in the industry.
Paradise Poker entered in 1999 and was the top firm in the online casino market for a few years. In the same year, the infamous Poker Spot arrived. Poker Spot became controversial when it failed to reimburse the winnings of its players because of glitches in the betting system developed by its affiliate credit card company.
The Ecash system has been an integral part of the growth of online casino gaming, as it bolstered the reliability and security of tournaments and consumers became less concerned about losing their money to fraud. Party Poker and Poker Stars entered the market in 2001.
Paradise’s stranglehold of the online casino industry ended in 2003 when it was overtook by Party Poker. Party Poker’s emergence was fueled by its effective advertisements in television during the World Series of Poker and its launch of the Party Poker Million. However, belief that Party Poker Million drove the industry to new heights is a fallacy, as the Cinderella story of Chris Moneymaker is what put the sport on the map.
Mr. Moneymaker won a satellite tournament of Poker Stars to qualify for the World Series of Poker. Despite being participated by 839 other poker experts, Mr. Moneymaker beat all odds and won the tournament’s top prize of $2.5 million despite it being only his first try at a live tournament.
The so-called “Moneymaker effect” considerably increased the popularity of online poker in 2004 and also inspired more people to gamble in virtual tables. A survey conducted in 2001 found that 8 million people had joined online gambling casinos and by the next year, the industry produced its first ever million dollar winner. The lucky individual pocketed $1,594.649.
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