How Technology Revolutionized Poker
I wish they couldn’t see me…
In today’s tech-heavy society, technology is continuously growing to new heights and being implemented into our daily lives. From receiving news on our smartphones, to driving hybrid cars, and performing banking on-the-go, technology has revolutionized the way we live. But why do we need and accept all this new technology? Simply, it enables tasks to be completed with more convenience and efficiency. Take for example, e-mailing: E-mails for the most part, have replaced how society sends letters. After all, why wait days to have a message sent when you can send it instantly and for cheaper via the internet? But outside all these big inventions and innovations, there’s a card game that benefited grossly from technology and the cyber-world.
How can a card game, no batteries necessary, benefit from technology? Before we view the innovations and advantages technology has allowed poker, it’s important to learn a little about the game. With basic knowledge of the game, it is much easier to understand how technology has impacted the game.
Without going heavily into the rules, the game of poker is one where players take turns betting currency (“chips”), hoping to win money back. You win money by holding the best cards (“hand”) at the end of 4 potential betting rounds (“pre-flop, flop, turn, river”) or by making your opponent forfeit their cards by making a bet they won’t match.
Poker is as ever popular today due to a “Poker Boom” in the early 2000’s, which created an increase of players both new and old. Through technology, the poker boom was achieved through increased media exposure along with the benefits of recently introduced online play. Today, there are more players playing virtual poker online against other users than in casinos’ with physical card tables and players.
A part of poker when played at a physical table instead of a virtual one, is to try to guess what cards your opponents hold based on their betting pattern or any “tells” they may be displaying. Poker tells are potential clues about an opponent’s cards (“hand”) based on their body language. Players generally look for tells to gain an edge over their opponents. If an opponent seems genuinely upset when a card appears, they may not have a strong a hand. If they’re unintentionally grinning, they may have a strong hand. Other times, players act in a deliberate fashion to attempt to confuse their opponents.
With online poker, all these “tells” no longer exist. Players are represented by an avatar, a picture of their choice, with no physical tells available for detection. The ability to hide oneself behind an image, has allowed for more people to try and play poker without being intimidated by strong body language or bold hats and glasses. You’re safe on your couch at home from evil glares that would have beamed your way at the physical table.
Technology has made online players feel less intimidated with no tells, allowing them to play the game more fearlessly. Many online players would have never considered sitting at a real table.
Software and Online help:
Today, poker tracking software exist to create databases based on opponent’s past hand histories. With this information, data is analyzed and calculated to show a player’s tendencies in different situations. With this information available at players’ fingertips, players are able to get an edge over their opponents’ playing mannerisms, based on how they correlate to their past play-history. Through the data and stats, a more educated guess of the opponent’s cards should be able to be derived. Hold ‘Em Manager is a leading product in poker tracking software.
Before this technology even existed, players had to try to store and analyze this data with only their memory and brain. I don’t think many would argue that letting a computer program perform this process without human error is more desirable than attempts at consulting with raw human memory.
Aside from program software, technology has allowed players to seek and receive help on the internet. Ways of improving one’s poker game can come from websites featuring online interactive video tutorials or through online forums for discussion and feedback with a community. Before online poker and the internet, players would have to share their strategies, tactics, and tricks the old way: via mouth and ear in person.
No need for a casino:
Traveling to and searching for the right stakes ($) tables used to be the way to get into the poker game you wanted to play in. But even then, you might have to wait in line, or for more players to arrive. And what if everyone left or busted out after a few minutes? None of this is a problem thanks to online poker technology. With just mouse clicks, hundreds to thousands of games of different varieties (different $ stakes, rules) can be found and entered into instantly. There’s most likely always a table of your preference to join. This is possible because these internet tables don’t take up physical real-estate like tables at the casino do, and thus there are many more available. Also, it’s much easier to click a mouse then to drive to the casino to find a desired table.
Other advantages of playing at an online table include faster deals resulting in faster games. Faster deals means more cards are seen overall, which makes the game less dull and slow. Onlike poker also introduces an automatic-shuffle system, resulting in no human dealer errors, such as misplaced cards.
Aside from advantages of online play, the poker boom was created by media exposure only available in today’s society. It first started with online poker, but then poker started to be aired on cable tv in the US and around the world. Then the poker websites started to rise, expanding to all fields including social media. Poker rooms and stories are advertised on Facebook, players are constantly tweeting live updates to their fans regarding their play and questions, and Youtube is used regularly to replay aired events and for tutorials. Online communities are constantly forming to discuss the game. All of these new outlets have propelled poker to the new heights it has reached today.
But Technology Still Growing:
Even with all these new innovations, new technology is still expanding poker to new realms. Just recently, the first poker rooms with camera play were introduced by 888 Poker. Now you can view your opponents and vice versa via webcam. Because of this new innovation, poker tells are back in online poker, depending on what’s revealed by the lens. I predict one day, there will be a software that will capture and analyze poker tells for players without them having to study their opponent’s body language or moves.
As can be seen, poker has come a long way with technology, expanding to an online world and reaching out to more than ever before via the media. Regardless of when the benefits or changes in technology, in the game of poker, the cards will have the last say.