Let’s go to the time between 2003 and 2006, when the word “Poker Boom” came into picture. It was initially a no limit Texas Hold ‘em, but here were also other variations that became popular during this period around the world. This Poker Boom saw an almost doubling presence of online poker players pooling in, every year.
This craze was initiated in 1998, when the film Rounders released and also with the introduction of online poker at Planet Poker. The telecasting of World Series of Poker (WSOP) through the year was also a significant factor. Nonetheless, two main factors that absolutely launched the poker boom were in the spring of 2003, when the World Poker Tour’s inaugural season that had debuted on the Travel Channel and broadcasted in America and the magnitude of the boom multiplied when an absolute amateur player named Chris Moneymaker took the world by storm by winning the 2003 WSOP Main Event. Having won his seat via an internet poker portal room, he was amongst the 839 participants in the 2003 event. The event’s entry doubled the following year to almost 2500+ players. By 2006, the number of entrants had reached 8700+, which is roughly about 14 times as many than the number of participants, pre-boom.
With all this in the picture, the air time of poker programming on ESPN air time had its significant influence on the boom itself.
The fall of the boom occurred around 2006 in October, when the United States iss
ued the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006(UIGEA) and all the online poker sites including Party Poker, which was the leading poker site at the time were made to leave the United States. Following which, the attendance at the WSOP Main Event dropped about 28% from 8773 in 2006 to 6358 in 2007. However, this major decrease in number did not continue and even stabilized after 2007 reaping fruit from higher international growth and fame. Despite the “Black Friday” indictments which predicted a decrease in numbers, 2011 saw a entry number of 6685 entries. Web domains of three of the biggest online poker sites in the United States were shut down by U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, due to claims and complaints of federal bank frauds and money laundering laws. Though this did not stop them from serving to an international base, parallely small sites continued to serve players throughout the US.
The charts of the WSOP Main Event have seen some drastic developments as there were only 167 starters competing for a first prize of 270,000 dollars in 1988 and by 2006, there were close to 9000 players competing for the first prize of 12 million dollars, the highest in any sport.