Many have speculated as to whether or not another poker boom similar to the one that began in late 2003 after Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event can possibly happen a second time.
Those of us who were playing online poker circa 2003-06 typically refer to that era as the glory days, as an influx of not very good players began popping up at our tables. Here we are about a decade later and the game has become a different animal. Those newbies inspired by Moneymaker either improved enough to make a profit and stay, or got tired of losing and found other things to do.
Of course, additional factors came into play that thwarted the growth of online poker. In the U.S., players were forced out due to Black Friday in 2011. But the downturn actually started prior to that in 2006 when the UIGEA was passed, making it more difficult to deposit money at online poker sites.
More than Moneymaker
Along with Moneymaker’s victory, we can point to other key reasons why poker boomed back in ’03. The debut of the hole card camera made watching the action on TV far more exciting. Also, those who were fascinated by the Moneymaker story became even more enthralled with poker after watching “Rounders,” a movie that seemingly found its way into DVD players in college dorm rooms everywhere.
Add to that the growing popularity of the Internet at the time and you have the perfect scenario for a poker boom. Of course, those or similar events will never come into play in exactly the same way a second time. Another poker boom reaching the magnitude of 2003 may very well be out of the realm of possibilities.
The best we can likely hope for is an upward trend in the game of poker’s growth. And what might cause poker to gain in popularity?
Regulation in U.S.
If online poker were to be regulated in every state, and players from each state joined a player pool that allowed them to play against each other as well as players from the rest of the world, poker would be happening again. It would likely bring back some of that ‘good old days’ feeling – with an added boost because player funds would be safe – and increase the game’s popularity immensely.
Of course, that won’t happen without federal lawmakers stepping in and passing the necessary legislation. And that’s not even on the radar at this point. But if it did happen, players currently on the rail, as well as newcomers, would likely log on in great numbers.
A Female WSOP Main Event Winner
One market that remains almost untapped is women. While poker pros such as Maria Ho and new Poker Hall of Famer Jennifer Harman are doing their best to attract other women to the game, there is room for many, many more.
Poker continues to be far too male dominated. If a lady were to win the WSOP Main Event, it could possible inspire others to take up the game. And the result might be a better mix at the tables than the current 9-1 or so male-to-female ratio.