Last year, inspired by the successful blueprint developed for cricket’s IPL, the world’s first franchised-based poker league emerged in India, turning poker into an enthralling team game. The winners of which take home Rs 4.5 crore (around $800,000). Now into its second year, the tournament was televised for a global audience and became the first ever Online Poker league in India to receive a TV telecast.
For poker players, not only was the tournament streamed for internet users. It featured three players who qualified for the franchise teams via online qualifying events. It means online players have the opportunity to test their skills against the best, with the opportunity to not only get on TV but earn a life-changing prize pot. It’s one of many professional poker tournaments enjoying live coverage online and via premium TV channels all over the world.
Online Poker – Game’s Mainstream Popularity On TV & Streaming
Online Players Fuel Poker’s Contemporary Appeal
It was an inevitability that one day a World Series of Poker Main Event champion would have got his or her start online. The popularity of poker has grown immensely since it became a hit with internet players in the 2000s, peaking in 2007 with gross revenues of $3.2bn according to igamingbusiness.com. This prompted more coverage online as each platform worked hand-in-hand to bring poker from the casino into the living room. Poker was enjoying a new lease of life, becoming a mainstream sport with a new breed of professional.
And in 2014, 27-year-old Swede Martin Jacobsen won the World Series of Poker Main Event, becoming $10m richer in the process and establishing himself as one of poker’s best and brightest. The former chef got his start playing poker online after late shifts at work. Jacobsen’s win heralded the internet age’s new generation of poker aces who had learned their craft in front of the computer screen, not in the casino. Unlike long-time champions like Phil Hellmuth who had dedicated their lives to poker from an early age, Jacobsen had found a talent for going “all in” as a part-time hobby.
Jacobsen isn’t just a lucky player who had a great few days in Las Vegas. Others who have learned their craft online are now finding fortune at the big, televised events such as 2017’s WSoP Main Event champion Scott Blumstein who won the no-limit Texas hold‘em tournament having gained experienced playing thanks to his home state of New Jersey legalising online poker.
Blumstein has credited his many hours of poker on the internet as helping to hone his skills, telling the Associated Press that the amount of hands you can play through online platforms far exceeds anything you’d be able to experience in a live casino.
World Series of Poker: New Champions Emerge At The Game’s “Main Event”
Without any doubt, the biggest poker tournament of them all is the WSoP’s Main Event, held annually in Las Vegas. It has been running since the 1970s with the prestigious finale featuring a $10,000 buy-in Texas Hold’em tournament and the winner crowned the best player in the world.
Before Blumstein became a millionaire thanks to his win in 2017’s WSoP Main Event, he’d spent hours online learning the game and amassing winnings of around $150,000 according to data issued by PokerFives.com which tracks player earnings and performance.
Blumstein’s experience of online poker allowed him to turn professional in 2016 when he won $199,854 at the Borgata Summer Open. But he then proceeded to miss the first 72 events of the World Series tour to tackle online poker tournaments from his home in New Jersey to ready himself for the biggest event of his career in Las Vegas.
Playing is the best way to learn your poker craft, to understand the differences between a conservative and attacking approach, of becoming aware of player styles to find “tells”, and when your lowly two-pair is actually enough to win the pot.
Online Players Get New Opportunities In India’s Innovative Poker Sports League
The popularity of online poker has made televised events even more lucrative. India’s Poker Sports League started last year, its success gaining major television and online streaming deals for its second edition which was recently completed in Goa. The tournament sees regional-based teams competing for around $800,000. And the incentive for internet poker players is that three of the 10 team members are online qualifiers.
Qualification for Poker Sports League 2 took place over four months through a number of satellite freeroll tournaments with top performers designated a spot on the leaderboard. For Indian players, it presented a brand new opportunity.
If you think winning in poker is all about luck, think again. The best players always rise to the top proving that luck is a small part of the equation. Johnny Moss has won the WSoP Main Event three times and Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan twice each, while Phil Hellmuth has 14 WSoP bracelets, the highest of any professional. If winning at poker was just about luck there would be no way these champions would have triumphed multiple times in tournaments that attract thousands of competitors.
Those online qualifiers for Poker Sports League 2, which included Varun Gupta who played for the Bengaluru Warriors, made it through to the live matches thanks to a sound poker strategy built upon knowing when to attack, when to be patient, how to watch other players’ actions, understanding your own tells and how to hide them, and having the patience to take your time (accepting that losing sometimes is part of the process to become a poker ace). Whether you’re playing Texas hold’em, five card draw or seven-card stud, the same basic poker skills apply. And it’s the same if you’re varying the rules such as lowball or high-low split.
There are loads of places to play online poker with straight-up cash games, sit and go’s and tournaments featuring the popular forms of the game. Most platforms also have a dedicated app for smartphones making it even easier to go in search of that Royal Flush.
Poker Masters Brings Together The Game’s High-Rollers
The Poker Masters, a $50,000 buy-in Texas Hold’em event.It might be cost-prohibitive for most online players.Unless your name is Steffen “Goose” Sontheimer, otherwise known as “Goos.Core” online.But it’s a fascinating tournament for the game’s biggest fans. Lived streamed across the globe via PokerGo, the new event saw four open tournaments take place before a main event finale. Sontheimer made the final table of each of the four qualifying matches before the main event, which he won and pocketed $1,512,000.
Don’t be put off though, big tournaments don’t always require extraordinary amounts of money to enter. Through 888poker, which is the official sponsor of the World Series of Power, players can qualify for the Main Event through their satellite events which cost as little as $0.01 to buy-in.
Alternatively, you could trying raising the cash through other forms of making money playing games online – you can give strategy, MMO, fighting or RPG a go on Bananatic or buy, sell and trade MMO game items on PlayerAuctions – but it is definitely one that rewards talented players. Online platforms give players the chance to practice without having to spend a lot of money before tackling tournaments that require bigger buy-ins.
The chances of triumphing in poker’s biggest events will remain the stuff of dreams for most. But the popularity of online poker is not only fuelling the game’s mainstream appeal on TV; it’s producing today’s best players.