What will the future of poker look, feel, sound and play like?

There is no doubt that the game of Texas Hold’em has been central to the recent poker boom. Advances in technology, easier accessibility through online services and greater access to this technology for more people has made the modern game of poker very different to the game played from the early 1900s.

Despite this myriad of changes, there is also no doubt that in the future, the game of Texas Hold’em will continue to evolve.

And in this article, we are going to gaze into the crystal ball and take a look at some of the main innovations and advancements that could come to pass in the world of poker in the next ten years or more.

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Before we gaze into that crystal ball, let’s first take a look at where Texas Hold’em has come from in the past, to where it is today.

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The History of Texas Hold’em

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To discover the very beginning of Texas Hold’em, you need to go back to the start of the 20th century. It is believed that Robstown in Texas, part of the suburbs of Corpus Christi, was the birthplace of the most popular form of poker in the world today.

Yet for over 60 years, the game never really moved outside of Texas. While played in the state that it is named after, the game was relatively unknown elsewhere.

By 1967, the Corral Casino in Las Vegas had started to offer Texas Hold’em, but it didn’t initially prove that popular and did not attract the higher roller players to take part.

That changed in 1969 when the Dune Casino ran its first Texas Hold’em tournament. It’s prime position on the Las Vegas Strip, combined with its popularity with high-stakes players, ensured the tournament was a success.

Texas Poker ace Crandell “Dandy” Addington also promoted the game during this period focusing on the fact that it was far less a game of chance, and more a game where skill and strategy could be used, compared to other forms of poker.

With its popularity growing, in 1970 Benny and Jack Binion decided to rebrand their Gambling Fraternity Convention into the World Series of Poker (WSOP). In 1971, Texas Hold’em became the showcase game at the event and its popularity continued to grow.

In 2003, the poker boom started with Chris Moneymaker’s win at the WSOP. At this time, a large number of Internet sites were also being set up allowing people to play the game at home via their computer.

Texas Hold’em proved to be a smash hit with this new generation of online players. Whether it was played socially on sites like Facebook, or at the ever-growing list of online casinos that were becoming available online, Texas Hold’em proved hugely popular.

Further advancements including mobile Internet access and the proliferation of handheld smartphones and tablets meant that people could also play on the move, making the game even more appealing and accessible.

With faster internet speed, improved WiFi, poker sites have been able to improve the look, speed and feel of their games markedly over the last 20 years and now we stand on the precipice of a new era in poker.

But let us now move from the present and towards tomorrow to look at how the future of poker as we know it, could potentially change over the next decade or so.

The Future of Poker?

Future of Poker
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What does the future of poker hold? Well, before we gaze into the crystal ball for the next major developments in the industry, we should at first acknowledge the key factors that will most likely shape the future of the industry.

  • What will be the key influences affecting the future of poker?

Before we can really get to grips with what the future of poker holds, we need to also consider what the technological advancements will be within the next ten years or more.

That’s because it will be these advancements that will determine the shape of the future of poker and how we interact with each other while playing this new futuristic version of the game.

In my view, all the following will greatly influence how the future of poker looks in 10+ years’ time:

  • The expansion of the Metaverse.
  • How poker operators/casinos choose to present their products and services within the Metaverse.
  • Wider use of Virtual Reality and/or Augmented Reality.
  • Greater use of digitised currency (including fiat currency).
  • Expansion in the number of jurisdictions where you can play poker (notably in the United States, but also across Asia and Africa).
  • Reducing cost of nearly new/2nd hand technology

So considering all these factors, how will the world of Online Poker and Texas Hold’em look in ten years’ time?

Future of Poker
King of the Dealers – The Future of Poker

The Future of Poker – 2033 And Beyond

So, what will be the three big innovations in poker over the next ten years? Here are my predictions:

  • Full Immersion Online Poker Tables/Tournaments – Imagine being able to plug in the latest VR headset or similar, which then puts you at the heart of the Las Vegas strip. Here you can walk along the strip and select which casinos to enter and which tournaments to play. Other players are also shown, with the latest technology reflected in their facial expressions. These VR Poker games would be overseen by a human dealer, also transported into the Metaverse allowing people to play in the biggest tournaments and games from anywhere in the world.
  • Biometrics – I envisage in the future that new VR technologies will be able to record millions of data points on a persons face and accurately reflect that to other players at the table, so being there in VR is almost the same as being there in real life. This could even extend to including previously ‘hidden’ biometrics, such as heart rate or blood pressure being shown.
  • Chips Becoming Obsolete – Heresy for some I know, but I do think eventually chips at casino tables will become obsolete. Instead, I see a system where a customer carries their bankroll on something like a USB stick, or via a scannable code (like a QR code) like currently used for cryptocurrency accounts. They can then scan or plug in their account at the table and decide not just how much to buy in for, but also when they are betting in the game. Winning hands will see the amount won transferred to the player digitally and the amount of chips each player holds at the table will be displayed for all to see. This will happen online first, but eventually I think convenience will dictate that it will migrate into real world casinos too.
Future of Poker

However, while I can see an exciting future for poker, I also feel that there are some things that do not need to be changed.

One of these is the game format. I have seen mention of tweaks to the game, such as including two jokers as wilds in the game, or having the four twos as wilds.

For me, that totally alters the dynamics of the game and takes away the essence of what makes Texas Hold’em so appealing, so I can’t see the actual game changing itself. Casinos may offer alternative types of game, as I mentioned before, but I don’t see them being that popular.

I also feel that as a social game, the offline poker world will continue to flourish alongside the online poker industry. Big events will continue to get bigger and prize money will increase. Top poker players will still be seen regularly on TV and on streaming services.

Whether or not the next ten years will see a book like we saw in 2003 is unclear and perhaps unlikely, but there is no doubt that the future of poker looks exciting and appealing to those that play it now, and the next generation of players that will begin their poker adventure in the next ten years.