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Creating a real money online poker room involved many technical and logistical challenges. The internet had not matured to the point where most users had confidence that their funds were safe and wagers were not at risk due to technical shortcomings. For a quality online poker experience, the game software had to be able to handle real time communications between the servers and the clients over connections ranging from 2400 Baud modems to T1 connections and satellite communications. E-commerce to address the money aspects was still in its infancy. Reliable methods of communicating between servers on the internet and banking systems (which were still largely limited to phone communications between their systems) needed to be created. In short, players needed to be convinced that it was safe to send money to an online cardroom, games would play reliably and they would be able to cash out their winnings.

In August 1997, Planet Poker launched the first online poker site. The site operated as a free cardroom for the remainder of 1997 to enable the developers to mature the software to meet basic player expectations. Methods to deal with internet communication problems were built into the software and practical methods to fund player accounts were created.

On January 1, 1998 the first real money online poker hand was dealt and by February, 1998 games were running around the clock. Real money online poker had arrived, sparking a multi-billion dollar industry.


August, 1988 IRC (Internet Relay Chat) created by Jarkko Oikarinen
1996 IRC poker starts
August 1997 Planet Poker opens its doors
January 1, 1998 Planet Poker deals the first real money online poker game
February 1999 Paradise Poker starts up
1999 Delta Casino starts up (no longer operating)
2000 Highlands Poker starts up (no longer operating)
May 2000 Pokerspot starts up
October 1999 Mike Caro and Roy Cooke join Planet Poker
2001 Party Poker starts up
2001 Ultimate Bet starts up
September 2001 PokerStars starts up