The Internet Poker Wall of Fame (IPWOF) inducted its 5th member recently, and it’s a name that a lot of poker players may have never heard of – Randy Blumer.
Before getting into who Blumer was and why he is being recognized, allow me to reveal a bit of background about the IPWOF. That hallowed wall was created a couple of months ago by 2 + 2 pokercasters Terrence Chan and Adam Schwartz, who were miffed that PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg was not nominated for enshrinement in the 2015 class of the Poker Hall of Fame.
So the pokercasters came up with their own way to recognize individuals who have contributed to and shaped online poker. And Blumer fits right into that category, as his efforts paved the way for Scheinberg and others to follow, leading to the online poker industry as we know it today.
Blumer was born in Canada in 1958 and was introduced to the game of poker in the 6th grade. He eventually earned a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alberta and spent much of his time outside of the classroom playing poker.
A career in his chosen field with the Canadian Navy followed, and an early retirement allowed Blumer to launch Planet Poker as a free-play site in 1997. He did so despite scoffs from many non-believers who didn’t share the same vision as Blumer with regard to the possible popularity of online poker.
The transition to real-money wagering occurred on January 1, 1998 when the first hand was dealt in $3/6 Limit Hold’em. The going was rough at first, with software problems often plaguing the action. But Blumer persevered and the site dealt several million real-money poker hands by the middle of 2000.
Paradise Poker hit the market in 1999, spending substantial amounts on advertising and brand awareness. The other big boys such as Partypoker and PokerStars followed not long after, all with better software than that of the industry pioneer, Planet Poker.
The newer sites were also offering tournament poker and guaranteed prize pools, leaving Blumer and his ring games at Planet Poker behind. The site now offers only free-play online poker, but rumors regarding another journey into the realm of real-money wagering at Planet Poker can sometimes be heard.
Anybody who has ever made a buck playing online poker or earned a living via the ancillary opportunities that the industry affords has Randy Blumer to thank for their good fortune. It was his efforts and vision some 18 years ago that started the online poker ball rolling.
For that reason, Blumer received well-deserved induction into the Internet Poker Wall of Fame, sitting alongside the four others honored just weeks before him: Isai Scheinberg; Prahlad Friedman; PokerStrategy.com founder Dominik Kofert; and the winningest player in online poker history, Chris Moorman.