The online poker revolution has been a memorable one and interestingly enough it has had a very strange and interesting history that has brought it to the point it is at today. Let us take a very brief look at that history and see the evolution of online poker over time.
2002: Robert Varkonyi becomes the first amateur player to win the World Series of Poker Main Event and the top prize of $1 million. Online poker sites send a lot of people to the event through their satellite tournaments, but none of them place high enough for notice to be taken.
2003: Chris Moneymaker enters a $40 satellite on Poker Stars, which he is able to parlay into an appearance at the World Series of Poker Main Event. He goes on to win that event and the top prize of $2.5 million, while people all over the world start to think that if he could do it, then they could do it too.
2004: Another online amateur named Greg Raymer wins the WSOP Main Event and the top prize this year of $5 million, once again igniting a boom on top of the boom started by Chris Moneymaker the year before.
2005: Joe Hachem wins the $7.5 million prize (another amateur).
2006: Jamie Gold wins the $12 million top prize, besting a mammoth field of over 8,000 participants in the WSOP Main Event. Legislation is passed in the US to ban online gambling and the poker boom screeches to a halt.
2007: The legislation banning online gambling in the US is lifted and players from 39 out of 50 states can once again play at online poker sites. While the poker boom has probably peaked as long as 11 states (including high populated states like New York and Illinois as well as gambling states like Nevada) remain illegal, one can expect this high pace of people to be sustained for some years to come.