Stories from the Poker Boom

PokerStars from the beginning, and more

PokerstarsPokerStars opened its cyber doors to the Internet public on the inauspicious day of September 11, 2001. I got involved with the project about eight months earlier, one of three "poker people" working with mostly "software people".

Over the years the company went from a dozen people, to a small entrepreneurial group, to a big entrepreneurial outfit, to an international private company mostly run by employees but still controlled by the entrepreneurs, to being sold to a public company now traded on NASDAQ.

Simultaneously, the Poker Boom exploded in 2003 with the launch of the World Poker Tour and Chris Moneymaker's win at the World Series of Poker. To the best of my recollection, here are some stories about PokerStars and its evolution from startup to sale, as well as other tales from the Poker Boom.

Inventing PokerStars
Several choices made along the way, like why the WCOOP and not the WSOOP (2018)

Combining PokerStars & Full Tilt Websites After Black Friday
Kinda like mating a tiger with a toad (2020)

Chris Ferguson and PokerStars
The story of how Chris Ferguson almost became the face of PokerStars (2018)

A Tale of Two Cardrooms
PokerStars vs. Full Tilt Business Choices Pre-Black Friday (2018)

The Poker Ecosystem
Positive and negative contributions to the 3% tip, flattening prize pools and PokerStars rewards (2018)

Old School Poker Rules for Post-Boom Players
Some classic rules, procedures and etiquette for players who came of age after the poker boom (2018)

When Google Gave Party Poker a Death Penalty
and who got the hundreds of millions of dollars Party lost (2018)

The Evolution of the Online Poker Industry
From the days of entrepreneurial innovation to corporate boardrooms (2018)

Sponsored Poker Players
Sponsorship in the post-boom, corporate-think era (2018)

The Most Googled Poker Players During the Boom
The relative popularity of players in the early boom years (2018)

Misogyny and Poker
The obstacle to a new boom created by more women playing poker (2018)

The Saga of Paradise Poker
Doing everything "right" but still ending up wrong (2018)

How Bad Players Like Sucker Hands
2006 report of the profit/loss from 122,031,244 hands (2018)

Diversity Makes a (Poker) Boom, Not Monotony
Innovation made the boom, doing the same thing over and over makes stagnation (2018)

The Poker Plateau
How the poker boom continues, even in a somewhat stagnant state (2018)

Beta Males and the Poker Plateau
What happens when mediocre players think they are superstars (2018)

Amarillo Slim and PokerStars
When Amarillo Slim almost became the face of PokerStars (2018)

Stupidest Cheater in Online Poker History
Suppose you could see all the cards, and you still lost money (2018)

How PokerStars Got Its Name
A Poker Update article on the origin of the name Galaxy Poker PokerStars

Not Boom stories, here are some other weird, amusing or interesting non-strategy poker stories
When Flop Games Come to California
The seed of the seed of the seed of the poker boom

The Hazards of Being a Poker Role Model
When a lunatic says: "I Learned That From You" (2018)

Playing the Only Limit Five Card Draw Poker Tournament in the Past 25 Years
When your opponent stands pat and you have... (2018)

Poker Dealing Stories
Three stories from dealing "in the box"

Poker Suckouts
Two incredible hands, the first a suckout and the second an anti-suckout

Life's Rich Pageant
Following up a 1000-1 suckout with a 330-1 the next hand

When the Eagles are Silent, the Goofballs Begin to Jabber
From WSOP broadcast to busted railbird, the toxic influence of ego

The Best Omaha Hand I've Ever Seen
Having absolutely everything in a hand, except good timing

Most Players Make Final Tables By Luck
and how to deal with that (2018)