PokerStars.com, the largest online poker room in the world, commissioned a study to find out the growth of online poker in Asia and Eastern Europe after 2005.
According to the results of this study, online poker is most popular in Asian countries such as Russia, South Korea, and China. This does not mean that Texas Hold’em is not popular in other regions too. The people of South America, especially Peru and Brazil, Central Europe, and Western Europe, and New Zealand are also fond of online poker, but do not participate in online poker games as much as players in Asian countries do.
Simultaneously, online poker popularity has fallen in countries such as the United States, Mexico, and Canada because of their unfriendly gambling laws. The US has not legalized online poker at the federal level, and a number of US states creating their own poker laws at the state levels could lead to confusion for players and operators.
When the feds cracked down on major online poker rooms on April 15, 2011 and forced them out of the US online poker market, several professional poker players found themselves robbed of their means of livelihood. Many of them migrated to poker friendly countries such as Caribbean, Canada, Australia, Europe, and Macau so that they could continue playing poker online.
States such as Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey have already legalized online gambling, and other states such as Illinois, California, Michigan, Mississippi, Florida, and Connecticut are seriously contemplating doing so. Although Nevada gets the credit of giving its residents the first licensed and regulated online poker room in the US, Ultimate Poker, it cannot guarantee the success of that site. According to Nevada regulations, Ultimate Poker is available only to players based in Nevada, and this could lead to serious liquidity issues. Currently Ultimate Poker gets traffic of 200 players per day and is unable to get any new players to sign up.
PokerStars says: “North America is still enjoying a rapid rise in 2006 in the years following Chris Moneymaker’s momentous WSOP win. The growth continues, but just not at the same rate, while regions and countries, such as Eastern Europe, Russia, and Brazil pick up the baton.”
Currently, Texas Hold’em is very popular in the Philippines, China, and Korea. Owing to this popularity, Macau has now become one of the hottest gambling destinations in the world, generating revenue three times bigger than Las Vegas casinos do.