2014 Prediction: Online Poker Is out, Mobile Poker Is In

poker-mobileOnline poker has been around for some time now, and pundits are predicting that it will finally be eclipsed by new technology. And this technology can be found in the palms of our hands- or rather, our beloved smartphones, tablets, and handheld mobile devices.

At the recently concluded World Poker National Tour series in London, head of poker operations at the online poker gaming site Party Poker, has some interesting insights for the future of poker.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s 25 to 30 percent of all players by the end of 2014…” Haas stated when asked about how he thinks the user base of mobile poker will increase. While the user base for mobile poker currently stands at 4 percent, the 30 percent figure is not that far from reality. The reason for this is simple: tablets and smartphones are becoming more and more like miniaturized computers as time goes by. Casual Internet users who just want something to email people with and play games on are ditching their bulky desktops and laptops in favor of iPads, iPhones, Galaxy Notes, and S4s. Sales of ultra-mobile devices (i.e. smartphones, tablets, and “phablets”) have even surpassed those of laptops.

The increase is not from new mobile poker players alone though. Old users who are now buying into the mobile trend are also expected to make the shift from online poker (i.e. those that need a full blown web browser or desktop ecosystem to run).

When Apple released ios7- the next major iteration of their mobile operating system- in the middle of 2013, tech people were kept on their toes. For those in the online gaming industry, this release meant a lot of opened opportunities especially in the realm of mobile gaming.

The shift to mobile actually benefits both the players and the poker establishment. First off, mobile poker players enjoy convenience and portability. When they are stuck in traffic or waiting in lines, they can just pick up their smartphone to while away the time by playing a round of poker. Playing on a mobile phone is also a lot more discreet than playing on a large desktop.

On the side of the online poker company, going mobile might mean bigger profits. Playing on a mobile device is a lot different from playing on a computer; players are prone to more distractions and are more apt to multi-task on such a small device. This kind of loose and unfocused playing style is favorable to poker companies since it is expected that players will not be able to accurately keep track of their bankroll.

Large gambling organizations such as Carbon Poker, Switch Poker, Full Tilt Poker, Zynga and a few others have already released mobile poker apps for Android and iOS devices. As the reach of high speed 3G internet becomes more widespread and mobile technology more sophisticated, it is to be expected that the mobile trend will continue to gather steam over the next few years.


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