In today’s cyber-galactic age, the majority of adolescent to middle-aged adult individuals are no longer gossiping face-to-face with their friends and neighbors about the latest and greatest. They are walking the streets with one eye targeting their iPhones, Smartphones and tablets, waiting for the next feed to tell them what’s ‘trending’. For professional card gamers, the topic that piques their list is likely associated with mobile poker technology.
It’s simply amazing how much we can get done on a mobile device or tablet these days. Handheld machines have been on the market for years, dating back to Hewlett-Packard’s initial release of the HP-35 calculator in 1972, followed by the first ‘Pocket Computers’, unveiled by manufacturers like by Radio Shack, Panasonic, Quasar and Matsushita in 1980. Many more innovations were developed throughout the ‘80s, but the technology took a huge turn in the ‘90s when the first PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) was born. These incredible machines featured LCD displays and a plastic pen, coining the popular term ‘stylus’.
PDA’s were all the rage, but they were designed for (and most popular among) business men and women. They offered an index of contacts, calendar with scheduler, notifications and reminders, along with lots of other nifty tools for capitalists and the sort, but they didn’t offer too much for the common laborer. All in all, the older handheld technologies were prehistoric compared to what we can do today. When cellular phones became small enough to put in your pocket, the convergence of PDA and cellular technology was inevitable. And when the internet was merged into the equation – oh, the possibilities!
Much like the progression of mobile technologies, the game of poker has evolved throughout time as well. No two historians will likely agree on the origins of poker—a name which encompasses a wide range of peer-to-peer betting-oriented card games—but it has been traced as far back as 969 A.D. when it was documented that the Chinese Emperor, Mu-Tsung, played a domino/card game with his wife on New Year’s Eve. Evidence depicts the Egyptians were playing and betting on card games throughout the 12th and 13th centuries. In the 16th century, the Spaniards were playing a 3-card poker game known as Primero. It slowly spread throughout Europe until Germany and France designed their own versions, known as Pochen and Poque respectively, around the 17th and 18th centuries.
Of all the unique poker variants to be documented over the years, none have impacted the global card gaming community nearly so significantly as the innovation of Texas Holdem poker. Not only was it intriguing enough to be a primary catalyst behind the dawning of the World Series of Poker—now the most prestigious and lucrative of all poker events on the planet—it has bred additional and equally intriguing poker variants like Omaha Poker and Pineapple (aka Crazy Pineapple). It’s also the one poker game you will find on every available mobile poker site in the world.
The emergence of the world wide web brought about a new age of card gaming (and gambling in general) known as internet poker. Instead of taking turns with your closest friends to gather round the kitchen table with a deck of card, bag of chips and case of beer, players were now able to turn on their computers and play poker over the internet with anyone else interested in tossing chips. Not too many took advantage of the nascent technology, however, since dial-up internet connections were notoriously slow and getting disconnected was as commonplace as hitting a red light in traffic.
Around the turn of the millennium, considerably faster connection speeds became available and software developers had worked out many of the myriad bugs in their systems. Online poker grew to larger heights, and at the same time, mobile technology was advancing as steadily as a troop of ants to an outdoor watermelon convention. Coincidentally, the very first form of mobile poker technology was introduced by Microgaming in 2003; the same year online poker hit its boom as Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event after winning a free $10k seat via online poker satellites.
As that incident helped catapult internet poker to new heights, it would be years before mobile poker games became a big hit. In fact, most people assume that mobile poker technologies didn’t even arise until sometime between 2008 and 2010; the same timeframe in which mobile gambling saw its first notable increase in popularity. But the industry analysts at Juniper Research knew what was coming. The research group issued a report in 2005, back when only 5% of mobile users had ever bothered to download any type of gaming app, estimating that mobile gambling and gaming revenue would increase more than 300% in the US alone by 2009.
Then in mid-2012, when statistics finally showed that more people owned a mobile device or tablet than a personal computer, it spurred a new study by Juniper Research. One of the key findings from that report, entitled Social Gambling to Push Mobile Wagers to $100bn Annually by 2017, stated that, “While mobile is currently viewed primarily as a retentive tool to increase brand value, the increasing number of mobile-only customers means it will gradually become an acquisitive channel.” In layman’s terms, mobile gambling will eventually overtake the traditional online poker market.
Today’s mobile poker technology is already incredibly advanced. 1 in 5 people around the world own a smartphone and 1 in 17 own a tablet. Industry results have shown that Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems are by far hogging the overall market share with different versions of the iPad and Samsung Galaxy being the most popular among them. For that reason, the vast majority of mobile poker technology is being developed to accommodate iOS and Android operating systems, either by way of utilizing HTML5 protocol or by launching OS-specific mobile poker apps available for download.