Online poker is the game of poker played over the Internet. It has been partly responsible for a huge increase in the number of poker players worldwide. Christiansen Capital Advisors stated online poker revenues grew from $82.7 million in 2001 to $2.4 billion in 2005, while a survey carried out by DrKW and Global Betting and Gaming Consultants asserted online poker revenues in 2004 were at $1.4 billion.In a testimony before the United States Senate regarding Internet Gaming, Grant Eve, a Certified Public Accountant representing the US Accounting Firm Joseph Eve, Certified Public Accountants, estimated that one in every four dollars gambled is gambled online.
Traditional (or “brick and mortar“, B&M, live, land-based) venues for playing poker, such as casinos and poker rooms, may be intimidating for novice players and are often located in geographically disparate locations. Also, brick and mortar casinos are reluctant to promote poker because it is difficult for them to profit from it. Though the rake, or time charge, of traditional casinos is often high, the opportunity costs of running a poker room are even higher. Brick and mortar casinos often make much more money by removing poker rooms and adding more slot machines – for example, figures from the Gaming Accounting Firm Joseph Eve estimate that poker accounts for 1% of brick and mortar casino revenues.
From a legal perspective, online poker may differ in some ways from online casino gambling. However, many of the same issues do apply. For a discussion of the legality of online gambling in general, see online gambling.
Many online poker sites offer incentives to players in the form of bonuses. Usually the bonuses are given after a certain number of raked hands are played.For example, a site may offer a player who deposits $100 a bonus of $50 once he plays 500 raked hands.
In addition, several online cardrooms have developed VIP programs to reward regular players. Poker rooms often offer additional bonuses for players who wish to top-up their accounts. These are known as reload bonuses.
Many online rooms also offer rakeback and some offer poker propping.