Between 2003 and 2006, the popularity of online poker increased dramatically. It is often regarded as the period at which poker transitioned from a game played in back rooms to a popular hobby enjoyed by the general public.
During the boom, the most popular poker variety was Texas hold'em, but several other versions were also popular, including 7-card stud, 5-card draw, and Omaha hi-lo.
Existing and new online poker rooms fought for new clients, many of whom were playing the game for the first time or transitioning from casual games to online tournaments. Online casinos rushed to include poker to their offerings, with many preferring video poker over poker rooms.
What Started the Poker Boom?
Chris Moneymaker, an American accountant, began playing poker online and went on to win the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2003.
He was the first person to accomplish so at the age of 27 after qualifying for a spot in the Main Event by playing online
His impact on the expansion of poker popularity has been nicknamed the "Moneymaker Effect," as more individuals began participating in online tournaments and seeking to imitate his success.
Everyone and their mother wants to play poker all of a sudden. Every year until 2006, the number of online poker players more than doubles, with a slew of new/inexperienced players trying their luck on the virtual felt.
Today I'd want to highlight one infamous player (tuff_fish) from the boom years who I only know by his screen name.
“Oh, daggum…I didn’t see the board was paired! God, what a freakin’ moron.”
“The chances of him having [the nuts] is 50/50 at least.”
“God mother****ing god damn ****sucker.”
“Oh, you scum.”
"At the time, he was arguably a better than average player."
Tuff fish, believe it or not, was actually quite good by mid-2000s standards.
He made these VODs to publish on CardRunners (biggest poker training site in 2000s) so he could gain criticism and better his game. Taylor Caby, the founder of CardRunners, went so far as to state that
"he was definitely a better than average player at the time."