Top 10 most influential moments in poker history Part 2

Along the way there have been many memorable moments in poker history, but in the 175 years of poker there have been perhaps less than a dozen moments that have shaped the poker world. In this column I’ll list my 10 choices for the most influential moments in poker history.

In the first part of this series I looked at some of the older events that have shaped the poker world, now it’s time to enter the modern era of poker, and detail the five events that have most impacted the game in the past 15 years.

1998: Rounders

Poker had a long lull between Super System and the next moment on this list, which happened in 1998 (but perhaps originated at the 1988 WSOP with “The Hand” between Erik Seidel and Johnny Chan that was the centerpiece of Rounders. With an ensemble cast Rounders turned out to be a box-office flop, but the movie caught on with college kids and has since become a cult classic. Other than Chris Moneymaker, Rounders is more responsible for drawing young players to poker in the past 10 years.

1998: Online Poker

Along with Rounders, 1998 also saw the advent of online poker, which kind of turned into a big thing! Back in 1998 it was Planet Poker and its single table of $4/$8 Limit Holdem that ruled the roost, but by 2003 the online poker market was full of competing rooms, with seemingly dozens coming online every month.

2003: The WSOP launches the Poker Boom

Chris Moneymaker, the Hole-Card Camera, and expanded coverage of the tournament on ESPN, all came together in a perfect storm, to create the poker boom. Not only did the 2003 WSOP have all of this going for it, but it was also following in the wake of Rounders, James McManus’ Positively Fifth Street, and online poker.

A huge part of the WSOP’s success in 2003 was of course the Hole Card Camera which took televised poker to a whole new level. I debated giving the hole-card camera its own entry but instead decided to lump it in with the 2003 WSOP.

2006: UIGEA

Well, the good stuff is over, as we move into 2006, and the passage of the UIGEA bill which essentially got the ball rolling in terms of limiting access (and eventually all but banning the game in the US) to online poker sites. UIGEA didn’t shutdown the online poker industry in the United States, it just made it harder and harder for players to deposit and withdraw from online poker sites –using a form of Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” strategy to hurt the industry.

Five years later UIGEA led to Black Friday, and while it may seem that April 15,2011 deserves its own entry on this list, Black Friday actually started back in 2006 with the passage of UIGEA.

2008: Super User Scandals

After UIGEA things seemed like they couldn’t get any bleaker… until it was discovered that Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet had been cheating their players for millions of dollars. With AP’s and UB’s greed coming to light the shine was off the industry.


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