The Exciting World of Poker

Ever since Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2003, the game has seen a massive surge in popularity around the world. The story of how an amateur player beat the biggest names in the game to earn a multi-million dollar payday caught the imagination of scores of new players, resulting in live poker tournaments seeing a huge jump in field sizes.

The so-called 'Moneymaker effect' is still in full swing today, especially in Europe and North America. Tournaments like the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) have grown into major events, and continue to attract record field sizes and generate huge prize pools, making new millionaires along the way.

It's the world of online poker however that's become the real driving force behind the growth of poker. The fact that Moneymaker qualified for the Main Event back in 2003 via a $39 satellite was enough to inspire other players to start playing online at PokerStars and the many other sites that have opened since. Within the space of just a few years, online poker has developed into a huge industry, helping poker to become one of the most widely played games in the world. In 2008 alone, PokerStars broke countless records, including 150,000 simultaneous players, 25 billion hands dealt and the biggest ever poker tournament, with 35,000 runners. Meanwhile, weekly events like the PokerStars Sunday Million and Sunday Warm-up attract thousands of runners every week, generating massive prize pools.

IntelliPoker Member Stefan GeimIt's not hard to understand the reasons why poker has become so popular. The chance to play with the best on televised events. But what also separates poker from other sports is the idea that players of all levels have the chance to compete against each other. An online satellite gives everyone a shot at taking down that big score in a major event - it doesnt matter if you are brand new to the game or a seasoned pro.

Take IntelliPoker Member Stefan Geim, for example (right). He qualified for the EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final via an IntelliPoker freeroll, which gave him a shot at playing in one of the biggest live events of the year, alongside stars of the game like Daniel Negreanu. He finished in 20th place making the prize pool. It's stories like this that makes poker so exciting, and they are the reason why people will always be hungry for more action.