Online Poker is one of the most popular card games for real money in the world. The game generates billions in annual revenue from wagers and licensing fees. Players can play a variety of games including Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Stud online from their PCs or mobile devices. There are six states that currently offer legal real-money online poker: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Michigan, Nevada and West Virginia.
The success of this burgeoning industry has led to the development of an ecosystem of software providers that offer solutions such as age and identity verification, financial services, anti-money laundering solutions, cyber security, geolocation, fraud prevention and responsible gambling advocacy. These capabilities are often delivered via APIs and hosted service providers. In addition, digital device fingerprinting is an important tool that allows operators to recognize players who have created multiple accounts in order to circumvent account bans, restrictions and closures.
In terms of player behavior, some research has investigated the effects of impulsivity and addiction on poker play, while others have leveraged the large data sets made possible by iGaming. For example, Levitt and Miles analyzed a full ranking set from the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event to determine whether players who were a priori classified as especially skilled indeed outperformed other players.
Nonetheless, the majority of players appear to be able to manage their risk and addiction to poker by adopting healthy disciplinary measures and avoiding high-risk situations. This may also include abstaining from alcohol, limiting the amount of time they play and keeping playing sessions to reasonable lengths. Other behavioral strategies that can help reduce problem gambling include setting limits on losses and abstaining from multi-table play.
Another issue that many players face is the sense of unfairness when they lose a big pot to a bad beat or cooler. These feelings are heightened when playing at small stakes online where the low buy-ins encourage players to call with subpar hands, even when they are outdrawn.
Some players have taken this a step further and claimed that the game is rigged to make the house win. However, these claims are usually based on a limited sample of hand histories and do not take into account the fact that the rake in online poker is much higher than in live games. It is also worth mentioning that some online poker sites are known to be infested with bots, which are not as effective as human opponents at reducing the house edge. This is a significant issue for the long-term sustainability of the game and something that needs to be addressed.