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Narciso Baldo

Narciso Baldo was a professional poker player for many years with over $700,000 in online MTT cashes and undocumented success in live cash games.

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Top 10 reasons why online poker isn’t dead

5 Apr 2021

By Narciso Baldo
For years, break even and even losing poker players have been vociferously stating “poker is dead.” Those that argue this are typically who were used to winning when poker was easy and then didn’t improve. As stated, they are likely break even or losing players who are frustrated and vent in this way.

While online poker is no walk in the park and the standard is unquestionably higher than 15 years ago, it is in by no means dead, as I’ll explain in this article.

New players are entering the game every year looking to play online poker.

New players are entering the game every year looking to play online poker. (photo by Flickr)

10. New generations of players
One reason online poker isn’t dead is the generation of new players that are entering it every year. Consider how many new players that hit legal age every year around the world? Most of us started playing online soon as we were legally allowed to do so. These players don’t know about the history of online poker or the early days of the boom. They’ve seen poker on TV or played with friends and want to try it online. Every year a generation is produced that want to try online poker.

9. Mobile users
We can do everything on our phones these days and online poker is no different. The major poker sites have capitalized on the convenience of mobile and offer it on our phones. This draws huge appeal to millions of people who wouldn’t play on desktop or laptop. It’s pretty awesome if you’re a grinder because you’re playing with people who are on a small screen without stat tracking software. These players are mostly recreational and only playing for fun. This is definitely a big reason that poker is thriving.

8. Gambling industry booming
The gambling industry, in general, continues to generate fantastic numbers every year. This provides a gateway for gamblers to enter poker, too. Many gamblers who enjoy blackjack or video poker then try online poker too. These crossovers are very common.

Some of the best poker players were originally playing a different game and then decided to give poker a shot. The gambling industry increasing in popularity will continue to feed the poker world, as well. These players, at first, will only have a cursory understanding of poker and ensure poker is alive and kicking.

7. Slow legalization
The U.S. was the great contributor to the poker industry before Black Friday. However, more states are coming around now. With New Jersey and Michigan now allowing online poker, there is hope that other states will follow. If this happens in the future, the online poker industry will receive a huge injection. It’s not been fast, but many industry experts are hopeful that more states will ease up on the law and allow Americans to play online poker again. Watch this space because once it’s legal in most of U.S. nobody will be able to say poker is dead.

6. Soft poker sites
Those who think online poker is dead are generally playing on the major sites. The competition is tougher there where you’re facing off against grinders and players putting in countless hours for rakeback. But if you look around there are lots of soft poker sites. The traffic is lower and the prize pools smaller but the standard is lower too. If you play on a site that is primarily offering sports betting or casino games, but also offer online poker, it will be filled with beginners and casino players playing poker.

5. New strategies and ideas
Another thing keeping poker alive and interesting is the new concepts and strategies that are prevalent. The game is continuously evolving and players thinking of new strategy and ideas to implement are making cash games and tournaments very interesting. The debate between GTO experts and exploitative poker is one that comes to mind.

I’ve read articles that claim it’s not OK to cold call, which is astounding to me. Nevertheless, these changes in mindset from poker players is keeping the game interesting and ensuring it’s not dead. It’s also worth pointing out that many new ideas take time to implement and some are just wrong anyway. This provides opportunity for typical LAG poker to come out on top.

4. Advertising
Don’t underestimate the power of market leaders. The major poker sites are continuously investing in advertising campaigns to attract new customers and retain existing players. Look at the major sites and those that endorse them. You have some of the most famous celebrities wearing their clothes, appearing in their ads and attending their sponsor tournaments. This is a massive plus for the poker community as it will mean new players will join and sit with you at online cash tables and tournaments.

There are new and exciting ways of playing poker.

There are new and exciting ways of playing poker. (photo by Wikimedia Commons)

3. New poker variants
Sometimes I think the poker lobby is a bit overkill. The number of different tournament types, SNG forms and cash table formats is a bit overwhelming. However, for a prospective poker player it’s amazing. There are new and exciting ways of playing poker. Whether you want a fast-fold format like Snap poker or slow structured tournaments, there’s something for you. You have to tip your hat to those that create them because it’s keeping poker fresh and relevant to new players and also for those that are bored with standard 6 max poker cash games.

2. Social media
There’s no denying the impact social media has on us. Whether you’re into Twitter, YouTube or Twitch, there’s poker content and activity going on. YouTube and Twitch, in particular, draw huge interest from beginners and lovers of poker. By gaining access to your favorite players and watching your most loved poker shows, you’re keeping poker in your mind. Social media is not going anywhere and neither are the big poker influencers.

1. Crackdown on HUDs
Finally, in recent years, most online poker sites have stepped up their prohibition of heads up displays (HUDs). This was initially controversial and received backlash from multi-tabling grinders, but it’s definitely a plus to me. With some poker sites banning the use of HUDs, it has assured recreational players a level playing field. It’s meant that the serious poker player can’t have instant access to relevant statistics on opponents. This is great for the new player who might be concerned they are being exploited. Overall, it’s also good for professionals as it means more money in the poker industry. Yes, their edge is tightened, but they still know how to study poker correctly and have the advantage at the table. It just might mean reducing the number of tables.
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