One of the biggest revelations of the year was the introduction of not one, but two US friendly mobile poker apps. BetOnline, Carbon Poker and Bovada are just two of a handful of poker rooms that currently allow US based players through their doors and are now the only two (at time of writing) that provide a mobile poker app for US based players.
In terms of scale, there are still very few poker rooms that are accepting US based players and as a result, very few that provide them a mobile poker outlet, hence the level of interest surrounding this story. It’s very much hoped that similar companies will be able to follow suit in 2015, but having said that, the future may not be as bright for the US as we had hoped, with our next story outlining why.
Well, Google Glass looks like it’s going to be a better option of the two with the ability to see a fairly decent display. You would have to wonder how discrete it would be having to call out your actions at the poker table whilst sat on the tube home, for example. You can of course use the slider on the frame of the glasses, but that’s not exactly going to be ergonomic when playing online poker for a reasonable amount of time.
The Apple Watch would be a little more discrete, although the smaller sized screen would mean that poker rooms would need to design a whole new product to fit around the limited screen real estate. Considering that some poker rooms are still implementing mobile poker and find tuning these aspects of their site, it would appear unlikely that we’d see any real developments in 2015 for online poker on Google Glass or the Apple Watch.
One of the more interesting news stories this year, for us at least, was the increase in the use of Bitcoin as poker currency. For those of you that don’t know, Bitcoin is essentially an online currency that you can use and trade as if it were USD, GBP or EUR. It allows players to play anonymously and buy Bitcoin in exchange for cash. Essentially, it means players from places like the US where banking for online gambling is difficult, can legally deposit into a poker room are start playing right away for real money (Bitcoin).
Will major online poker rooms accept Bitcoin in 2015?
There’s no doubt that poker rooms such as Seals with Clubs are beginning to get an increased following as people become more comfortable with using Bitcoin for currency. But the only way that Bitcoin can really take off, possibly in the same way that e-wallets had for the gambling industry, is if the bigger players start to get on board. We’re talking PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Party Poker, 888 and companies like these. IF they decide that it’s a good idea, and at the minute it’s a big if, Bitcoin might just be the ticket for so many players struggling with deposit methods around the world.
PKR Launch First 3D Poker App
Whilst this was an exciting announcement, the reality was that the power needed to run such a high-end app often struggled with older smartphones and tablets. PKR being PKR were soon on to this and now plan to release a 2D version of the app which should include a much smaller install file for smartphone users on Android and iOS devices.
Two of the UK’s biggest gambling outlets in Bet365 and Sky Poker both entered the world of mobile poker in 2014. For the majority of people in the industry, this was the worst kept secret since the release of the iPhone 6, but nevertheless, when two powerhouses such as bet365 and Sky Poker make these kinds of strides, the industry tends to listen.
What’s been interesting is that whilst mobile poker apps have been around for a good few years now, many poker rooms have been slightly reluctant to dive in with their releases. Those that have, have often been criticized for bringing out sub-standard products and even apps that barely work. It’s been interesting to see that both Bet365 and Sky Poker waited until 2014 for their release, but the majority of the industry tend to agree that it was worth the wait with both offering stellar mobile poker products as a result.
Regulated Online Poker Arrives In The US But Fails To Ignite
2014 will be seen as a monumental year for online poker in the US. It was the year in which US states were starting to legalise online poker within their state boundaries allowing companies to operate legally and also players to play legally. Three states in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey were all granted licenses and are fully regulated.
However, these three states were all passed in 2013 and throughout the whole of 2014 no states were actually approved for regulation. The buzz that occurred throughout 2013 definitely fell short of many people’s expectations for 2014. Within the industry it was expected at least a couple more states to follow suit but the fact that none have, doesn’t look great in the overall picture.
That being said, these things take a lot of time and it’s likely that the development of Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey’s applications took a lot longer than just a 12 month process. You’ve still got to be hopeful for 2015, but you cant help but feel that this is a huge year for online poker with mobile poker having a direct effect as a result.