Ways Poker Will Change in the Coming Years

Posted by Mark Holland on Sep 15, 2014 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

VRBy Mark at High Tech Gambling

For many the pace of innovation in online poker has stalled. There have been no big breakthroughs of changes since the introduction of Rush Poker almost 5 years ago. My view is that there are several more subtle changes happening within the world of poker. I believe there is a shift going on right now, and that new innovations will mean poker in 2017 will look very different to what we are experiencing at the moment.

The biggest single shift is away from a high-volume ‘grinding’ poker setup towards a more recreational model. Bovada has already demonstrated that pushing out the multi-tabling pros in favour of recreational players can be a successful model. 888 are focusing more on the casual crowd and Unibet recently took steps in this direction too.

You might not hear about it – after all, it is the grinders and ‘serious’ players who are making the noise online. However, slowly and surely, the number of online pros is dwindling, the games are getting more recreational and (most important of all) the entertainment factor is returning to the games. When casual players can have fun at the tables, they’ll return to poker and make the games better for everyone.

Prediction: By 2017 there will be a lot more poker sites focusing on the recreational crowd and fewer opportunities for pro grinders.

Mobile Technology

Most people now carry phones or own tablets which are capable of running poker games. Since you cannot ‘grind’ on a phone, this is another factor tilting the balance towards recreational play. Over the next few years this area is set to boom. My prediction here is that the native apps will fade away, and in-browser play will become the norm. Poker sites which do not have effective mobile offerings are already losing share.

VR Technology

Virtual reality is an upcoming technology which has the potential to revolutionize online poker games. The headsets today are bulky, and the applications / games limited. Over the next few years, both of these will improve. It is only a matter of time before millions of VR headsets are in the hands of gamers around the world. At that point immersive poker games set around a virtual table will be made possible – the live experience could be recreated online thanks to VR tech and improvements in bandwidth and computing power.

AI

There are of course threats to the world of online poker via advances in computer technology, particularly self-learning and Artificial Intelligence programs. Fortunately, computers cannot beat good Humans at the moment, and it is unlikely that they will affect the mid to higher levels of the game for a while yet. At the same time, the lowest games are very vulnerable to this technology, especially as it becomes harder to trace via site security tools. Fortunately, the decline in multi-tabling ‘grinding’ opportunities will be a help in this respect. At the very least it would mean a lot of intelligent bots would have to be deployed to make this worthwhile, which would increase the chances of them being caught.

For me it is inevitable that AI will eventually kill online poker. Let’s hope we have 10 or maybe 15 years before it gets there!



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