Why Is Poker So Popular? Here Are 7 Reasons
Poker is an incredibly popular game; we all know that. It’s hard to find a person who hasn’t heard about poker, and it’s certainly easy to find people who play it.
The latest numbers say that there are around 60 million poker players in the US alone and more than 100 million worldwide. Most players in the US play it on some of the best poker sites in the world.
When these numbers are considered, there are more poker players in the world than players of some very popular sports like golf or tennis.
A Few Reasons Why Poker Has Become Popular Around The World
So, it’s clear that poker is popular, but we still don’t know why it’s popular. Well, that’s precisely what I’m here to answer! I did the research and decided to give you six crucial reasons. Let’s take a look!
#1 The Convenience of Online Poker
Poker has always been quite popular, but never more so than today. One of the main reasons for that is online poker and how accessible it is to people worldwide. Millions of people are playing poker variations like Texas Hold’em and Omaha, both of which are available online. The best part is that these games are exactly the same online as they are in real life.
The only downside of online poker is that you don’t get the same thrills you feel while playing on a true poker table with cards you can touch, surrounded by real players. Things like bluffing and body language play a big part here, all of which are not present in online poker. This is unfortunate but necessary, and most players don’t mind playing online poker as the main parts of poker are still there. The game is still played live, and you’re still playing with real players — that’s what matters.
#2 Skills Matter, Not Luck
Many people believe that poker is all about luck, just like most other games of chance. However, poker was explicitly designed to make it more about the skills of each player and only partly about luck. What’s more, if you look at the long run, poker is completely skill-based.
A significant amount of luck is involved in the short run, but professional players deal with that by learning the best poker strategies they can. You can do the same, and the better skills you get, the more you’ll be able to win. That’s precisely why the players who win the most in poker in tournaments and other major events are those with the most skills.
Professional players know that poker is all about maths and odds. To win, you need to invest more when you have a statistical advantage and invest less when you have a disadvantage. Naturally, there’s a lot more to it than that, but this is the gist of things, and you need to be aware of it before you start playing poker as a real professional.
#3 Overwhelming Competitiveness and Desire to Win
All games in the world are played to win, and poker is no different. However, many believe that most players play the game only to win money, and they forget that the main goal of many professional players is the win itself. It’s true that money is a powerful motivator, but as is usually the case with games and sports, people usually start playing them for the sake of winning.
Poker is exciting and makes you incredibly competitive, which is the main motive of many players. Naturally, they know the money won’t hurt, but the competitiveness is often so overwhelming that you’re ready to invest a lot just to win. The rush of adrenaline you get when you’re playing and when you win is intoxicating, and anyone who has ever played poker knows that.
#4 Poker Is Very Social
Poker is so popular because it’s a social activity. Unlike many other games of chance, you play poker with other people. What’s more, you play against each other, which is rarely the case with other social games of chance, like blackjack.
This fact makes poker a perfect game for friends and tournaments. That’s precisely why many people often play poker at their homes with friends or family and why so many tournaments exist. The popularity of poker tournaments is so overwhelming that the prize pools often range in the millions of dollars.
#5 The Popularity of Legal Games of Chance Is Inevitable
The importance of skills is not the only factor that separates poker from other games of chance — the legality matters as well. Unlike many other casino games that are often illegal, the rules around poker are often less stringent. This essentially has to do with the fact that poker is mostly a game of skill, and games like that are outlawed to a much lesser extent than games of pure chance like slots.
Naturally, in the US, poker is still mostly illegal, especially online poker. However, four states have made online poker legal — New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. That, combined with the fact that players join offshore sites, is more than enough to warrant the high number of poker players in the US.
All in all, thanks to the legality of poker all around the globe, the game is consequently more accessible to regular people than other games of chance. What’s more, many countries are looking to legalize poker, including many states in the US. This is enough to make the game a lot more popular than other casino games.
#6 Poker Is a Big Part of Our Culture
In the end, poker’s popularity is connected to its place in our culture. Even certain phrases from everyday speech are influenced by poker. Common phrases like ‘the chips are down’, ‘wild card’ and ‘folded’ all come from poker. And how can we forget poker face, a massively popular idiom in the English speaking world, the origin of which is definitely clear.
Then, there are movies and songs, many of which are about poker or include poker. Many of these are about casinos in general, but when it comes to specific games, it’s often poker, and to a lesser extent, blackjack and roulette.
#7 Poker Comes in Various Formats
As one of the most popular casino games, poker traveled across the world, evolving over time. These developments brought about numerous variations of the popular classic, catering to players of varying tastes, preferences, and skill levels.
Texas Hold’em is the most widespread and, thus, ideal for beginners seeking to learn the rules and establish a basic understanding of the game. Omaha is close-second in popularity, but its complexity makes it more sought-after among experienced players.
Poker variations like Stud and Razz fall into the niche category. They’re more challenging to find in land-based and online casino settings but not less appealing. The rule and gameplay pace modifications have made these games the go-to option for players who want to break away from tradition.
Poker doesn’t stop at these well-known versions — it includes options for slot enthusiasts. Its video-based releases mix the ease of play and dynamism of slot machines with the rules and action of traditional poker.
Whatever their nature, these games are created by numerous high-profile developers in live and virtual formats. Plus, poker is one of the most profitable table games, so it’s a no-brainer for most casino visitors.
The Bottom Line
All in all, when we consider all these reasons, it becomes quite clear why poker is popular in today’s world. Now that you know what makes it so attractive, it’s time for me to leave you and get back to playing Texas Hold’em.