The very notion of 'online poker' would have seemed ridiculous to many just 15 years ago, but now it is the very cornerstone of the poker industry. It looks like we are heading into the next chapter in poker right now with newer and more exciting ways to play poker. You can now play poker via a TV set top box, over a mobile phone and most recently on the social network web site Facebook.
In just a short space of time, Facebook overtook Myspace as the number one portal to keep in contact with friends, make new ones and learn that all your school mates are now fat and married. Now a Facebook powered poker room has been introduced, Ujogo. The new poker room commissioned a study that learnt that 30 million adults play free poker for about 3 hours a week and saw Facebook as the perfect portal for that.
The biggest obstacle in front of them is of course the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), as Facebook is a very popular application in the US, but they appear to have got over that by making the application free. No money is wagered and everyone starts with 1000 points, much like a play money game. Where this is different is that big prizes seem to be on offer for those that make it to the dizzy heights of the top of the leader board.
Although it is just essentially a play money application, there is no doubt that this will have a big impact on the poker industry. Facebook's own free Texas hold'em poker application is the third most active application on the site after being installed 5.4 million times and has over 370,000 players per day. The more players you refer the more free chips you get. This is in many ways the online version of 'Pub Poker' – a free, points based social poker game which will ultimately bring a lot of new players to the real money tables.
Online poker looked dead and buried for a brief period in 2006 when a lot of us were speculating that the UIGEA would send shockwaves through the industry. In fact, it has flourished and developed beyond belief and this latest Facebook innovation is just one of what will surely be many ways that we will all be playing poker in the future.
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