Is Poker Booming Right Now?

September 22, 2023
Mark Patrickson

Poker appears to be going through some kind of a boom right now. Could we be about to see a resurgence to rival the original boom after Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 WSOP Main Event?
The poker boom of the early 2000s brought the game to the forefront of popular culture, and now, in 2023, it seems that poker is booming once again.

The Evidence

One of the most compelling pieces of evidence that suggests that poker is booming is the record-breaking wins that have been seen in recent times. In 2023, the World Series of Poker Main Event drew in a record 10,043 players, and other events that traditionally had smaller numbers proved to be blockbusters. This is a clear indication that interest in the game is on the rise.

That said, much of this occurred in a period of returning to normality post-Covid, but this is the only evidence against a genuine boom. And even if recovery from Covid is responsible for kick-starting a boom, it could still be real and continue for some time.

In the first place, online traffic figures were hitting five-year highs at the height of the pandemic. Many of these players will have been new to the game.

The online game is one thing, but what about the live scene outside of major series?

Mike Matusow says the live cash scene is becoming more cliquey at the higher stakes with game hosts preferring to run private games. Live tournaments, though, look to be doing more than okay.

On the negative side, there have been quite a few poker room closures in recent years. Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, 13 rooms have closed in Las Vegas. Make that 39 since 2012.

It is possible that the legalisation of sports betting across the United States is also having an effect. The appeal of gambling in general has been boosted across the country, naturally helping the poker scene along the way.

Online Poker Market Growth

The online poker market is still growing. In 2022, the global online poker market size was valued at around $86.2 billion, and it is projected to reach $237.5 billion by 2030.

This growth can be attributed to several factors, including the proliferation of smartphones, easy access to games around the world, and the widespread use of digital currency simplifying deposits and withdrawals.

Gitnux, the digital software product reviewer, reports that every year, there is a 34% increase in new poker players worldwide. This stat, if accurate, shows that poker is still popular worldwide and suggests that the game is perpetually attracting a new generation of players.

The evidence suggests that poker is indeed booming in 2023, even if we have to accept that it isn’t on the scale as previously seen two decades ago.

Record-breaking wins, a growing online poker market, and a new generation of players all point to a bright future for the game. While the game has certainly changed in recent years, with the rise of online poker and the decline of live poker rooms, there is still money to be made for those who are prepared to put the hard work and long hours in.

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