Since 2006, Filipinos have continued to love poker apart from the usual money games like sabong and such.
Although it saw a decline during the pre-pandemic, it boomed once again amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This time around, players adored online poker, especially with everyone stuck at their homes.
Poker’s popularity continues to rise, especially with more relaxed restrictions, and the threat of Covid-19 is no longer that severe. The game, including all its variants, is gaining more and more players by the day.
A Timeline of Poker’s Rise to Popularity
According to Poker Philippines, the game’s prevalence originated in 2006 when one poker room at the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s Airport Casino offered a Texas Hold’em, a poker variant.
It was the largest local poker room in the country, the Metro Card Club, that opened its doors to the public. Other poker rooms followed suit.
In 2007, a local circuit called Filipino Poker Tour was launched by PokerStars. It was such a successful event that an Asia Pacific Poker Tour was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel & Casino in Manila in August of that year.
The Asian Poker Tour followed in 2008, extending its satellite events to the Philippines, thus capitalizing on the country as a poker destination.
Due to its constant growth in popularity, a media group under the name of Somuchpoker, was launched in 2014. It aimed to give the players a voice by conducting interviews.
Live poker’s popularity, on the other hand, began in the post-pandemic. As people are stuck at home, game rooms compete amongst each other, which would attract the most number of players. They do it through creative themes and, of course, big prizes.
Filipinos Love Poker…and Casino
The Philippine gambling industry continues to see revenue growth, pointing out that Filipinos love to gamble. In March 2023, the gross gaming revenue (GGR) reached new heights, recording a whopping P214 billion (P113.09 billion in 2021).
In a breakdown reported by PhilStar, casinos were the main contributor to this GGR. Although Bingo and other electronic games share P20.12 billion, poker plays also contributed, posting a P59.88 million revenue.
Based on the research made by Daily Tribune, there are six reasons why Pinoys love poker.
Poker is already inherently popular worldwide. Data showed that there are more than 100 million players all over the globe.
But how, you asked?
It is because poker switched to online. Regulated online casinos like OKBET offer poker and its variants to players, making it convenient for Filipinos to play the game exactly how they are played.
But while there is an advantage to playing online poker, it also has its downs. Since the game is on the website, the thrill of playing at a poker table is gone.
Regardless, poker players continue to support its online version, especially since they are still going up against real people.
Unlike illegal and other casino games, poker is a pervasive legal game that offers relaxed regulations. Because of its legality worldwide, it has become even more accessible to people than other games of chance.
It’s all about the Skills
Most casino games involve luck. But poker is a matter of skills and how you deal with the given hand.
Filipinos are all about skills, and that is why they love poker. Yes, it sometimes involves a little from Lady Luck, but poker skills will be superior to sheer luck in the long run.
Look at professional poker players. They rely not on luck but on math and odds. To win in poker games, investing in poker books and applying those techniques can give you an edge.
The Nature of Poker
Filipinos love poker because of how competitive it can be. Forget about slots; there is no competition there. But in poker, you will meet far better people than you.
In essence, it is good, for it creates a shroud of competitiveness among players. It drives people to win even more because they face good opponents.
Winning money is not the reason why many invest in poker. Partly, yes. But it is because of how competitive the game can get.
A Game You can Socialize
Due to the game becoming extremely popular, it turned into a social activity. Paired with poker’s competitive nature, the casino game can quickly turn from a game between friends to a serious tournament.
Compared to other games like blackjack, the only interaction a player can get will be between him and the dealer. But in poker, there will be other players joining the table.
It’s Part of the Culture
Lastly, Filipinos have fallen in love with poker because it has been part of our culture. Remember the phrase “poker face?” It came from the game! Terms like “folded” and even phrases such as “wild card” all came from poker.
If we sum up these reasons, it clearly puts a definitive explanation as to why Filipinos love poker.