The world of live poker went quiet in recent years following the pandemic. Instead, digital sites and apps for poker took the main stage. The Guardian claims that online poker sites reported record revenues as early as March 2020, when the pandemic had just started. This comes as many traditional activities found digital alternatives, with players—both experienced and inexperienced—coming to enjoy the convenience of being able to engage with the game from the comfort of their own homes.
However, what is surprising is how the number of online poker players continue to rise, despite the world edging back to some semblance of order. Poker sites such as GGPoker and 888poker continue to show slower but steadier growth. To that end, here are some things that you can look forward to in the rising world of online poker in 2022.
Increasing government interest
The height of the pandemic saw physical casinos implementing greater capacity limitations, stricter sanitization protocols, and other preventative measures on top of lots of barriers to entry when it came to traveling. Because of this, one of the ways in which COVID-19 changed online poker is the increased government interest brought about by the influx of poker players who turned to sites and apps to continue playing. If you weren’t aware, online gaming is actually only legal online in six states so far: Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. But now, other states like Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, and Illinois are recognizing the game’s potential and its growing market, and are entering into discussions about regulations on online poker in the coming months.
Virtual reality poker
After borders closed down, players realized how much expense they could forego by pursuing the more accessible and convenient online poker. But while many turned to digital games to fill the void, there are still many elements of the physical experience that online poker can’t replicate. One of the solutions growing in popularity is virtual reality (VR) in online poker — not only for the players but for spectators as well.
VR allows players to recreate the feeling of sitting at the poker table as the game unfolds in real-time, while non-players get a 3D realistic view of the game from the sidelines. Online poker site PokerStars now offers poker games in VR, and other online gaming firms are incorporating VR technologies as well, as the digital gaming experience continues to grow.
Poker with cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrencies are gaining traction in the finance world, so it is no surprise that it is being embraced by the online poker industry. This is in large part because of their anonymity and security, which is seen as a massive advantage by a large number of players. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are decentralized digital assets that are easily transferable online. This convenience makes it fitting for many online poker operators and sites that now allow crypto deposits for security and anonymity reasons.
As crypto gains a stronger foothold in the real world, so too is it expected to have a more prominent presence in digital gaming and, in particular, the online poker community in the years to come.
Even as the world is opening back up, online poker seems to be here for the long run. With all of the technological advances that are being incorporated to improve the experience and regulate its operations, players can expect more versatile and enjoyable experiences with online poker in the not too distant future.