Internet poker started during the 1990´s and the first online poker room to offer internet poker with real money was Planet Poker which started in 1998. But it was not until Party Poker launched in 2001 that internet poker really started to grow. Party Poker later became one of the biggest poker rooms in internet poker.
Later, in 2003 Chris Moneymaker won at the time, the biggest prize pool of $2.5 million at World Series of Poker after have qualified online via the big internet poker site PokerStars which gave internet poker even more boost. The year after, in 2004 this tournament was won by Greg Raymer and this time the number of players in the tournament was three times as many as the year before. Greg Raymer also qualified online via the internet poker site PokerStars which pretty much erased the difference between poker stars and internet poker stars.
Internet poker is in general more profitable than live poker since you don´t have to hire staff for your internet poker tables. Internet poker is kind of like live casino slots in the way that you don´t have to hire any staff to run them. Live poker tables as well as internet poker tables obtains their revenue by taking a small fee of every pot, called rake.
There is also a huge difference to the internet poker player compared to the poker player on the casino. At a internet poker site you can play poker with much less money than you can at a regular poker table at a casino and depending on what internet poker site you are playing poker at you can play at several poker tables at the same time which is a huge advantage for a lot of poker players online. The speed of the game is also much faster when you play internet poker compared to live poker as there is no time wasted on dealing cards, mixing the deck and such.
In 2006 the UIGEA law was signed by former President George W. Bush and was a major blow to the internet poker industry in USA. Many internet poker sites had to close down and many others banned American players from playing and registering at their internet poker sites. One of the biggest internet poker sites at that time, Party Poker suffered huge losses from the UIGEA law since much of their players were from the USA.
Internet poker today is a billion dollar industry and is still growing fast even though there has been and still are some obstacles to internet poker such as poker monopoly, the UIGEA law and more. But internet poker is such a strong market; it can take setbacks without suffering too much from it. Poker in general is pretty controversial but as more and more people realize that it isn´t a game of luck as much as it is a game of skills it will probably be more and more accepted the world over, today you can even get a discount when you play poker called rakeback.