An In-depth Look at Online Casino Poker
Poker has long been one of the most popular card games around, inspiring movies, songs, and superstitions since it was first played in the early 1800s. Since the late 1990s, however, online casino poker has become incredibly popular, providing a great alternative to Blackjack, with plenty of entertainment for players of all skill levels.
In this comprehensive overview, we'll explore key poker facts and figures that form part of gambling statistics, and we'll delve into the history of poker and the many ways to play the game. We'll also take a look at the world's most popular poker strategies!
- Online poker is one of the most popular card games ever played.
- There are many different varieties of poker you can play online.
- Texas Hold’em is the best known version of poker.
- Top earning poker players make more money than top earning sports stars.
- Well over 100 million people play online casino poker.
- Understanding your win rates and other stats can improve your game.
- The longest ever poker game lasted more than 8 years!
Popular Types of Online Casino Poker Games
Online casinos offer a wide variety of poker games, catering to different preferences and skill levels. Some of the most popular versions of the game include:
- Texas Hold'em: This is the most widely played form of poker. Players receive two private cards and share five community cards to create the best possible hand.
- Ultimate Texas Hold’em: This is a slightly faster-paced version of Texas Hold’em, offering faster paced game play where you play the croupier instead of other players.
- Omaha: This game is very similar to Texas Hold'em but players receive four private cards and must use exactly two of them in combination with three community cards.
- Seven Card Stud: In this version, players receive seven cards: three face-down and four face-up. The objective is to make the best five-card hand.
- Caribbean Stud: This version is played against the house, with rules similar to five-card stud poker. The dealer deals five cards face down to each player who has placed an initial bet (also referred to as “the ante”) on the table and the goal is to make the best five-card hand.
- Five card: In this simple variation, all players are dealt five cards at the start and the goal of the game is to make the best five-card hand. This version is often learned first by new players.
- Video poker: This is a digital version of poker where you play against a computer. Variants include Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild.
Important Online Poker Industry Statistics
The global online poker market was worth upwards of 86.2 billion dollars at the end of 2022 with significant growth expected to continue. While the recent pandemic put a stop to almost all land-based poker, many players moved to online versions instead.
This huge boom in online poker had an undeniable effect on online poker globally, with more players than ever taking part in poker games and tournaments regularly. According to The World Series of Poker, there are currently around 120 million online players worldwide, 60 million of which are from the US.
And, according to Zion Market research, online poker market size is predicted to surpass around $237.5 billion by 2030.
It’s easy to see why so many people want to get involved. Poker is known as the most lucrative sport on earth for players – the 10 richest poker players in the world hold net worths of anything between $25 and $310 million. Winners of the super high roller tournaments, both online and in land-based casinos, also frequently take home more cash than major league basketball, football, and baseball stars (with much less physical training)!
Understanding Poker Player Statistics
Let's take a look at the most fundamental elements that are used to keep track of poker stats. They'll help you determine many aspects of the game and develop a deeper understanding of how a player performs.
There are a few different win rates that you need to understand, as they help you measure your success and improve your game. They are usually expressed in big blinds per 100 hands (bb/100) or big bets per 100 hands (BB/100). Here are some of the most common types of win rates in poker:
- BB/100: Number of big bets won per every 100 hands
- BB/hr: Your hourly rate
- PTBB/100: Poker Tracker Big Blinds per 100 hands
- BB/Hand: Big blinds won per hand
A good win rate in poker is anything above 0bb/100 - this means you’re considered a winning player. However, the actual win rate you can achieve depends on a variety of factors, things like the stakes, the general toughness of the game, and the rake (commission taken by the casino).
The following are some general assumptions regarding win rates at the micro stakes levels:
- 1-4bb/100 is a good
- 5-9bb/100 is exceptional
- 10+bb/100 is absolutely outstanding
Pre-Flop Raise (PFR)
The Pre-Flop Raise (PFR) shows how many times you raised the bet before the flop has been seen.
If you have a high PFR, this indicates that you’re an aggressive player whereas a lower PFR is considered evidence of a more passive poker style. Aggressive players tend to be more successful overall.
Raise First In (RFI)
Raise First In (RFI) tracks how often a player raises a Pre-Flop bet before the rest of the table.
This stat tells you similar information to your PFR - a higher RFI is a sign of a more aggressive player as they’re confident enough to raise before the flop hand has even been revealed. Similarly, a lower RFI indicates a more passive approach.
Post Flop Aggression Frequency (Agg)
Post flop aggression frequency (Agg) measures how often a player places a bet after the flop has been dealt. On average, your Agg should be somewhere between 50-60%.
If you find yourself outside of this range, you could be bluffing too often and betting too aggressively. That said, if you’re hovering somewhere underneath this range, you might be being too passive and leaving good hands, and money, on the table.
Voluntarily Put Money In Pot (VPIP)
Voluntarily Put Money In Pot (VPIP) indicates how often a player raises, bets or calls before the flop is dealt.
Typically, you’d expect to be somewhere around 10-15% - this would mean you’re making good choices and only investing in high-value hands. If you’re playing with a smaller group of people however, you can expect VPIP to increase as your chances of winning are better with fewer players competing for the best cards.
Went To Showdown (WTS)
Went To Showdown (WTS) shows how many times a player makes it all the way to the final round, taking only post-flop folds into consideration.
It’s used to get an idea of how often a player will continue to the last round after seeing the flop hand. If you fold before the flop is dealt, that won’t be reflected in your WTS. In professional poker, a typical WTS rate is around 20-33%.
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A Brief History of Poker as We Know It
Poker as we know it has been played since the early 1800s and has had many evolutions since then. There are records of Poker being brought to New Orleans by European settlers in 1829. Similar to today’s poker, the game back then involved bluffing your way into a win and the bets were called “poques”.
Originally played with only 20 cards, the deck used for poker was later expanded to 52 cards in order to accommodate bigger groups of players somewhere around the 1830s.
The regular five card drawing game came into play around the middle of the 19th century, with poker becoming especially popular around the time of the American Civil War. Soldiers on both sides enjoyed playing poker and later took the game home, spreading the awareness and popularity as they went.
Today’s most popular version of the game, Texas Hold’em, came into being during the 1920s, along with many other poker variants. Despite the popularity and variety of poker in the first half of the 20th Century, it would take until 1969 to get poker onto the Las Vegas Strip. The very first World Series of Poker took place there the following year, in 1970.
The Longest Poker Games Ever Played
The Bird Cage in Arizona claims to have played host to the longest poker game ever recorded. Starting in 1881, the game continued until 1889, lasting an unbelievable 8 years.
Big-name Wild West personalities are said to have competed, including George Hearst, Diamond Jim Brady, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, exchanging more than $10 million in total, of which The Bird Cage reportedly took a 10% cut. Clearly, poker was a huge part of saloon culture in the Wild West.
The longest poker game ever recorded started in 1881 and continued until 1889 in the Bird Cage, Arizona.
The longest modern-day poker game was played by Phil Laak at the Bellagio Hotel for no less than five straight days, accumulating an impressive total of 115 consecutive hours. Afterwards, Laak was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most consecutive hours of poker ever played.
The Online Poker Revolution
The first online poker game was played in 1998, marking the beginning of the game’s evolution into the enormous online industry it has become today. With readily available access to online casino poker tournaments taking off, the poker-playing public grew exponentially as the millennium came and went.
People who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get to a real land-based casino could simply go to their computers to start playing.
These days, mobile poker games have become a huge part of the industry too. The proliferation of smartphones, better data plans and advancement in mobile gaming technologies have all made it much easier to play online poker wherever you are.
Most online casinos and gaming sites now offer mobile apps or are simply mobile-compatible, allowing players to access their accounts via their smartphones and tablets. This mobile-first approach is expected to be a huge contributing factor to the continued growth of online poker.
Online Poker Strategy
Understanding the foundational rules of poker – game play, etiquette, betting practice – is key to crafting an effective strategy for any type of online poker you want to play. Here are a few good tips that apply to all poker versions:
- While not easy, you should practice patience and get comfortable adopting an aggressive posture at the poker table. When you bet aggressively, your opponents will think twice about going up against you, which can work out in your favor.
- Focus on winning lower stakes games first before moving up to higher stakes. Not only can this save your bankroll, it also gives you more room to hone your technique.
- Read up about poker by checking out poker blogs, articles, videos, and other resources.
- Choose the right poker table and consider playing low stakes real money games.
- Learn from your wins and losses, and always keep improving
- Be prepared for the ups and downs of the game. Try to avoid becoming too emotional about bad beats or river suckouts. These things happen, but it’s important to just move onto the next game.
For those of you looking to hone your Texas Hold’em strategy, we have a comprehensive Texas Hold’em strategy guide where you can learn more about the specifics of what it takes to win. Find out more about when to bluff, when to fold and how you can go about playing a less favorable hand.
If you prefer to play the faster paced Ultimate Texas Hold’em game, we’ve also compiled a detailed Ultimate Texas Hold’em strategy guide to help you master this exciting poker variant. Learn everything you need to know to beat the dealer, focusing on specific gameplay tips, payouts and other handy tips to help keep the odds in your favor.
Superstitions In Poker
Superstitions are rife among the global poker playing community. From avoiding unlucky hands to wearing lucky clothes and carrying good-luck charms, poker players will do everything they can to stay on Lady Luck’s good side (whether she listens or not).
Many of these are more for real-world scenarios but a few also apply to online poker. After all, lucky underwear is lucky underwear…
The Dead Man’s Hand
The Dead Man’s Hand is a poker hand that might win you a game but is considered by many to be cursed. Containing two of the most powerful pairs in poker – two black aces and two black eights – it’s actually a pretty lucky combination to stumble upon and could work wonders when played well.
Frequently referenced in pop culture, the Dead Man’s Hand is certainly an aspect of poker that’s worth understanding, and if you can get past the superstitious part, you could win big with it.
Dirty Clothes Aren't a Bad Thing In Poker
It’s not uncommon to see poker players wearing the same clothes for consecutive days during a tournament or winning streak, just in case their lucky and increasingly dirty clothes could be the key to their good fortune.
In less extreme examples of this superstition, players might simply wear their lucky underwear or a piece of jewelry they feel brought them luck in the past.
Stacking Chips a Certain Way
Many players feel that stacking their chips in a certain way can help maintain a winning streak. This offers some order among the chaos and such superstitions are often tolerated and supported by brick-and-mortar casinos.
Don’t Count Money at The Table
More of a real-world problem, counting money at the table is deemed bad luck as it usually means the player is somewhat distracted by their prospective winnings (or losses) that it throws them off their game.
While it’s always smart to have a rough idea of how you’re doing in a game, it’s best to stay as focused as possible to avoid making mistakes. This is also worth remembering when it comes to keeping your head in an online poker game.
The Best Time to Play Online Poker
You should also always consider the time of day when you play poker online. The best time to play poker online is typically between 4pm and 11pm, EST. This tends to be when the most newbies are online, thus increasing your chances of winning a hand or two.
You should also consider playing on public holidays and waiting until after 8pm EST to play regular cash games. You should also avoid playing altogether if you’re feeling tired as this can lead to bad decision-making resulting in avoidable losses.
Fun Facts About Poker
Poker has such a massive reputation and has been around for such a long time that it has quite literally become the stuff of legend. After shaping parts of popular culture for over 200 years, there are plenty of fun facts about poker that you might not already know.
Poker Actually Evolved From Dominos over 1000 years ago
Also the history of the poker game we recognize today largely began in the American West during the 19th Century, historians believe that poker started life as a tile game in 10th Century China. Emperor Mu-Tsung is said to have played “domino cards” with his wife on New Year’s Eve in 969 AD.
The world’s biggest ever poker tournament was online
The biggest ever poker tournament to ever take place was an online event with 253,692 players worldwide. The winner was a man from Austria who rose to victory after playing a monumental 470 hands.
Nixon Used Poker Winnings to Fund His First Campaign
President Nixon was such a successful poker player that he was able to mostly fund his first ever political campaign – for a California congressional seat in 1946 – with his winnings.
The Kings In the Deck Are Based On Real Kings
Card makers in 16th Century France created standardized suits and designed four kings to represent real-life rulers throughout history:
- King of Spades: said to represent King David of Israel from the Old Testament.
- King of Clubs: depicts Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia, who died in 323 BC.
- King of Hearts: is a reference to King Charlemagne of France, also known as the first Holy Roman Emperor.
- King of Diamonds: an homage to Roman Caesar Augustus, however, some people argue that it’s actually Julius Caesar on the card.
The Odds Of Getting a Royal Flush Are Terrible
This may come as no surprise, but the odds of being dealt a royal flush are spectacularly bad. A reported 649,740 to 1 chance might not seem like much, but that just makes it feel even sweeter on those ever so rare occasions when it does happen.
Gambling Statistics: How Other Games Compare to Poker
Poker is one of the most popular gambling games in the world and the only one that can be considered a sport. It has reached a status of legend - and you now know all there is to the world's most popular casino card game.
Now, if you'd like to learn about other gambling stats, we invite you to read our in-depth guides:
Looking for Online Poker Casino Games?
We’ve curated a list of our favorite online poker games from great casinos we can vouch for. All of the options below are great places to put your new-found or freshly-honed poker knowledge to the test. Just make sure you read the terms and conditions before you commit, and have a great game!