The Poker Boom Part 1: Where it all began

Poker Table

This is the first article in a six part series taking a look at the history of the poker boom, including how it began, how it has evolved over the years and where poker may be headed in the future. Stay tuned for Part 2 of the series on Friday.

When the "poker boom" started, conventional wisdom said it was a fad, a diversion people would abandon when something else new and shiny came along. Six years later, it's clear that poker's appeal was grossly underestimated.

One major indicator of the strength of poker as a North American cultural phenomenon is the prevalence of poker on television. Though its death knell has been rung many times by people inside and outside the game, televised poker is still going strong today.

Sure, plenty of niche programs have come and gone (Celebrity Poker Showdown, anyone?). But that's the nature of the television industry. The fact is, we've reached the point where there are now familiar programs that aren't going anywhere.

NBC has the annual National Heads-Up Invitational and Poker After Dark. ESPN has nonstop reruns of what sometimes feels like the last 412 years of the Sammy Farha.

What the average person didn't have was the $10,000 to buy a seat at the table. Luckily, the online poker rooms were more than willing to help them find the cash to get in on the game.

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