Last year changed many things, and in the case of online poker, it created a perfect atmosphere for the activity to thrive. People stayed indoors, while plenty of free time quickly showed the masses needed new forms of online entertainment. The solution for many of them was poker.
At the same time, sporting events around the world were cancelled, which had a severe impact on sports betting. Land-based casinos and card rooms were closed, forcing players to turn their attention to online poker. The popularity of online poker increased, with its traffic recording a staggering increase of 30%.
Putting an End to the Decline of Online Poker
The circumstances drove players towards online poker while operators made sure they stick around. The online poker industry went over and beyond to reshape itself over the last couple of years, adjusting the game to make it more appealing to casual players and creating new formats aimed at millennials and generation Z.
The game has been targeting new audiences over the recent years, especially younger players and the trend should continue in the coming period. After spending the last decade working on rebalancing online poker, the industry is finally starting to reap the benefits. According to the latest estimates, online poker should continue to grow, doubling the market by 2027.
Something had to be done, as poker had stopped being entertaining to millennials, who turned their attention to esports and other verticals. A decade ago, online poker was getting in a downward spiral. Loyalty programmes offered by the leading sites were focused on rewarding the most successful players.
Focusing on Recreational Players
Such an approach ignored recreational players. They didn’t stand a chance against their skilled opponents, who often used tracking software to accurately determine their weaknesses. Since the game was no longer fun, newbies simply stopped playing online poker. No one minds losing a bit if the overall process is entertaining, but losing too much money too quickly can hardly be called appealing. Millennials turned their attention to other verticals, and particularly esports. Online poker was slowly destroying itself.
On the other hand, the leading professionals, including some of the biggest names in online poker, felt betrayed when operators created new game formats and adjusted loyalty schemes to draw the recreational players back. However, these decisions were necessary to make sure the game survives in the long run.
The influx of new online poker players was beneficial not only to operators but also to the live game, feeding the scene with winners and increasing the prize pools.